NEW YORK — A bruising battle of “hues” versus “blues” is developing in the denim market as a resurgence in classic indigo squares off with the persistent strength of colored jeans.
Exhibitors and retail and vendor guests at last week’s Kingpins show at Center548 here were seeking a balance for spring 2014 between different interpretations of truly blue jeans and the growing number of colors that have proven to have more staying power than many expected. Colored denim, as well as lighter-weight twills in various jeans constructions, have maintained a strong share of the women’s jeans market in recent seasons and appear to be gaining, rather than losing, momentum in men’s, where their effect has been less powerful and the color palette narrower.
Riccardo Mencarelli, U.S. agent for Bossa Denim & Sportswear, based in Turkey, said, “Color has held up and we’re going into spring 2014 expecting about a 50-50 split between color and blue. Coatings, for color and for blue, are holding up well and providing a sense of value added to the customer.”
Among the fabrics generating strong interest for Bossa was an indigo with contrast coating on the reverse side of the fabric, selling for about $6.50 a yard. “It’s a more dressed-up look and it will take a few seasons to work its way into the market,” Mencarelli said.
“‘Vintage’ and ‘authentic’ are all you’re hearing right now from the people in the premium market,” said Richard Tobin, director of merchandising and product development for Tavex, a denim producer with facilities in Mexico, “but we’ve got to begin to present some things for the 21st century, instead of just repeating the ideas of the 20th, if we’re going to hold the consumer’s interest whether you’re talking about the premium level or the price tier beneath it.”
Tavex’s answer is its WaxFit family of products, which utilize resin coatings to give indigo — and some nonindigo colors as well — more pop, texture and wear patterns that reflect the owner’s use.
“Newness matters,” Tobin added. “You need differentiation if you’re going to create a ‘gotta have’ item and get a good price for it.”
Michael Kininmonth, Lenzing’s project manager for textile fibers in Europe, noted that the shift towards indigo is stronger in Europe, where “newness” is coming out in silhouette experimentation and fabric innovations that frequently hinge on sustainability.
“The environmental aspect is a stronger story in Europe than it is in the U.S., both because of the thinking of the companies in Europe and regulations they need to follow,” he told WWD. Lenzing recently has experienced more rapid adaptation of its Tencel fibers, derived from eucalyptus, among European brands such as G-Star Raw and mills such as Candiani in Italy and Isko and Orta in Turkey, he noted.
Vertically integrated Kaltex, with facilities in Mexico and Colombia, showed a number of fabrics and finished garments incorporating performance attributes, and utilizing Invista’s ToughMax, and color retention, using Lenzing’s Tencel. But much of the interest at the show was directed at its Blue Jean Vintage offering.
“There’s been a major reemergence of the ‘true blue jean,’ but it has to be updated with finer yarns, innovative treatments and new construction,” said Alvyda Silinyte, design director for Kaltex America Inc. “Still, color is not going away. In the women’s market, it’s becoming more muted, but it’s been very stable and it’s even been picking up in men’s.”
She also noted growing involvement in her firm in sustainable substances and practices, pointing out that the Blue Jean group uses manual hand sanding and whiskering prior to an environmentally safer ozone wash process. In other parts of the line, waterless laser and ozone processes are used to achieve whiskering and fading.
While last week’s edition of Kingpins New York discontinued the Continuum section devoted exclusively to sustainability, signs of its growing impact were visible throughout the market. Turkey’s LST — for Laser Technology Systems — was at the show promoting its laser and ozone machinery and the training it provides to companies signing on to acquire it.
In yet another fashion show shuffle, @elleryland is moving its show in sync with the Paris couture calendar — though the brand is still keeping one foot on the city’s ready-to-wear schedule. Their runway show in January will coincide with the launch of a new strategy: designing two main collections each year instead of four, which will then be released in four drops. “As we all know, the system needs to change. We need to show sooner to give time back to artisans and designers to do what they do best — create,” said founder Kym Ellery. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @kukukuba)
@maxmara’s classic 101801 coat was the cornerstone of its pre-fall 2018 collection. The design team expanded the traditional double-breasted, kimono-sleeved style into a trapeze coat, lean belted styles and a peacoat and presented them in monochromatic looks – like the camel one pictured here. #wwdfashion #prefall18 (📷: George Chinsee)
The @cfda has shifted the dates of #NYFW, with Men’s showing on February 5 through February 7, and Women’s will directly follow, running from February 8 through 14. The preliminary schedule will be released on the CFDA’s web site in the next few days, but Mark Beckham, VP of marketing for the CFDA, revealed that @rafsimons will be back to close the men’s-specific part of the week with a show on February 7 #wwdfashion (📷: Kelly Taub)
@ferragamo is introducing a new space dedicated to the development of women’s and men’s leather good samples. The laboratory, which is created eco-friendly materials and designed to reduce the environmental impact of the manufacturing processes, will allow the company to expand its accessories offering through traditional artisanal approaches. #wwdfashion (📷: @aitorrosasphoto)
How does a “regular, degular, schmegular” girl from the Bronx, N.Y., become a Grammy-nominated artist with a certified platinum record in less than a year? Call it the @iamcardib come up. The 25-year-old has become a musical sensation, and the fashion world is taking note. “If I could describe her style I would say drama. She’s really into the dramatics,” says Cardi B’s stylist @kollincarter. See how Carter styles her bold and out there looks with the link in bio. #wwdfashion
“There is no formula. There is no guideline. I can watch Ted Talks all day, but there is no one who can advise me on exactly what it is I should be doing,” said @ronniefieg, CEO of @kith, in an interview with WWD’s @ariahughes at the brand’s new SoHo office in Manhattan. Head to WWD.com to see how Fieg went from hanging out in shoe stockrooms at 13 to building his own business. #wwdfashion (📷: @weston.wells)
@fearofgod and @maxfieldla have teamed up on a pop-up installation. The store, located in the gallery space across from Maxfield’s Melrose Ave location, is the site of the brand’s House of God pop-up in which Fear of God founder @jerrylorenzo has created a church-inspired installation. A dozen vintage church pews sit in front of an LED screen playing 90s gospel singers in an effort to re-create an environment akin to a Southern Baptist Church, Lorenzo explained. Read more about the pop-up on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: Jennifer Johnson)
Known for his sleek, sophisticated American glamour, Norman Norell is the subject of an upcoming exhibition at @fitnyc. “Norell: Dean of American Fashion,” which runs from February 9 through April 14, will feature approximately 100 ensembles and accessories. His best work is exemplified by the designer’s glittering “mermaid” gowns frosted with thousands of hand-sewn sequins – like the one pictured. (📷: William Helburn) #wwdfashion
For pre-fall 2018, @balmain didn’t let go of the glitz. A crystal embroidered baseball jacket priced at around $40,000 hangs in the “couture” section of the brand’s first men’s pre-collection. Sporting the words “Balmain Army” across the back, the item took around two months to make. “When it was completed, it was like Christmas, it was like, ‘It’s done, it’s exactly what I wanted,’” said Balmain’s creative director @olivier_rousteing during a tour of the collection in a Paris showroom on Monday. #wwdfashion