Branding, Robin’s Blog

Journey of the Chosen Ones – JNCO Jeans Are Coming Back

JNCOOr if you don’t like that original acronym, JNCO (Jean Company), it also now stands for “Judge None, Choose One.” I’m not sure I get either one of those lines, but, then again, I’m way beyond the age of which the owners of JNCO care whether I understand them or not. Furthermore, as I’ve said before, I’m not even an amateur fashionista, so all I can do is ask questions.

What I do know is that JNCO brand ultra-baggy jeans, reaching up to 50-inch leg openings at the height of its popularity in the 1990s, is making a comeback this fall. Along with new styles and designs for cargo pants, T-shirts, plaids and “joggers,” which are a cross between jeans and jogging pants, JNCO (still headquartered in LA) will re-launch its “heritage” brand of baggy jeans. So the first question I must ask is what does that mean for skinny jeans? While they are not creating 50 inch leg openings, its re-launched signature jeans will feature openings of 20-23 inches.

Also, I’m told they are targeting 18-35 year olds, the same age group they became a hit with in the ‘90s. That age group at the time was described as being immersed in Southern California’s counterculture, cult-like Goths, skate-boarders, “slackers,” rave and club attendees, and generally, a group of young people that abided by the brand’s self-proclaimed guiding principles: “Challenge conventionalism. Explore the unfamiliar. Honor individuality.”

In the early 2000s, the brand dropped its baggy jeans and receded into the background. Now, with the financial backing of a division of Jiangsu Guotai International, one of the largest import/export enterprise groups in China’s Jiangsu province, the new JNCO line, including its new baggy jeans, was launched at the Liberty Show in Las Vegas for Fall 2015 a couple of weeks ago.

According to Steven Sternberg, managing director for JNCO, the response was so strong that he’s going to try to get them to market earlier. He was quoted, “People are like, ‘We’re so happy you’re back!’” Although he did admit the 20-23 inch flared legs are a far cry from the 50-60 inch clownish looking jeans in the 90s, he didn’t rule out the possibility of a return of the giant pants. “I don’t think we’ll go crazy right away,” he said. “But I think at some point we might go crazy, for the attention we might get from the press.”

And, so far, the press has been very generous to JNCO. I suppose this can be attributed to our collective memories of the brand’s original innovative jean styling in the 90s, playing into the LA zeitgeist of the moment. Likewise today, with a plethora of jean brands all looking more or less alike, and with emphasis on skinny jeans, perhaps this is time for another breakthrough moment.

Or, if JNCO’s reading the wrong tea leaves, deep Chinese pockets aside, it might just be stuffing another pair of pants into a market that doesn’t need or want another pair.

I suggest they break open a fortune cookie and hope it grants them good luck!

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