Denim’s resurgence as the “It” fabric that holds universal appeal and spans across generations is contingent upon one key concept: comfort. At the winter edition of Kingpins in New York, billowing blue fabrics, gauzy denim looks and cotton rich materials outfitted with stretch waist-bands and pull strings led this year’s selection. The show took place last week at Basketball City.
The enduring trend of “lounge leisure,” a post-ath-leisure concept that lends itself to sporty apparel appointed in cozy, soft knits, finds its place in denim with fabrics such as Tencel and lightweight, delicate textures. And another prevailing trend, sustainable fabrics, has also found its place in most upcoming collections. For example, Calik Denim’s upcoming collection offers “Nike style” denim yoga pants, its uber flexible Fly Jean and its Smart Stretch line that epitomizes comfort. “People nowadays are looking for comfy stuff,” said Rabia Çevik, a sales executive for Calik Denim. “And plus sizes are getting a lot of attention from the market right now.”
Notable pre-fall 2018 collaborations include a denim capsule collection designed by Adriano Goldschmied for Lenzing, which incorporates the firm’s Refibra branded lyocell fibers. Its Refibra fiber is Lenzing’s first commercial-scale cellulose fiber that features recycled material made from a blend of pulps based on post-industrial cotton scraps and wood. The launch of Refibra was inspired by a push toward a circular economy and the industry’s ongoing and mounting waste: Approximately 80 percent of fashion garments end up in landfills every year, according to Lenzing.
Tricia Carey, the director of global business development for denim at Lenzing, told WWD, “Because of [Adriano Goldschmied’s] heritage in developing Tencel, we thought it was nice for him to do this as a part of the next generation. It was a pleasure to work on this project with his team.” Goldschmied said “Tencel fibers, in general, have been part of my work and the innovation that I bring into design. Now Tencel fibers is evolving to take a new level of sustainability with Refibra fibers. We need to open the minds of designers with sustainable innovations like this.”
Lenzing also partnered with DL1961, a New-York based premium denim brand, to launch a pre-fall 2018 collection with Refibra fibers. The company has used Lenzing’s Tencel lyocell fibers in their denim since 2012, the company said. Maliha Ahmed, the chief executive officer of DL1961, said, “It is our responsibility as a company and as leaders in the denim industry to make sure we are always in pursuit of better processes and materials that reduce our environmental footprint all while providing our customer with newer more technologically advanced denim season after season.”
And stretchy sustainable materials that incorporate the recycled Repreve fiber from textile manufacturer Unifi was seen throughout a number of collections. Its new S Gene denim product, a dual-core stretch material that stemmed from its partnership with Cone Denim, develops denim using 100 percent recycled polyester content from plastic bottles. Jay Hertwig, the vice president of global brand sales for Unifi, told WWD, “Repreve has become the sustainable ingredient for products from well-known brands, world-wide. Unifi’s growing relationships with these brands allows us to showcase the importance of recycling and taking care of our planet, all for the good of tomorrow.”
Kara Nicholas, the vice president of product design and marketing for Cone Denim, told WWD, “Performance, comfort and sustainability are increasingly important to customers. S Gene with Repreve furthers Cone Denim’s commitment to developing S Gene denims using 100 percent recycled polyester content, offering a new level of eco-conscious denim to the marketplace.” Nicholas continued, “We have about three bottles in each pair of jeans. There are customers looking for sustainable options in their collections and [this was] a really great opportunity for [Unifi and Cone Denim] to come together and offer S Gene with this recycled component.”
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