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At the Las Vegas Project Tradeshow this week, the crowds weren’t interested in the buffets or the latest show according to many accounts – the apparel buyers were in line anxious to place orders for more denim. And not just any denim – premium designer denim. This category of retail has remained strong, even in a downturned economy.

“Walking the show, denim as a category was the busiest category. And True Religion was by far the busiest,” said Needham & Co analyst Christine Chen. True Religion’s stock has risen 77 percent since January, compared to the 11 percent rise at the S&P 500 Index. At rival Citizens of Humanity, orders logged on the first day of the show were double those of a year ago, said Chief Operating Officer Gary Freedman.

The $1.32 billion market grew 5 percent in the 12 months ended June, according to research firm NPD Group. Sales in the overall apparel industry slid 5 percent in the same timeframe.

Because denim can be worn day or night, dressed up or dressed down, its withstanding even one of the worst economies in a long time. Price tags don’t faze consumers if the item is an “investment” piece, something they will wear for a long time and that fits perfectly.

Story via Reuters.