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.
Taking the final spot on the mens’ portion of New York Fashion Week calendar next month will be none other than @tomford. Though he’s shown his men’s wear in New York in the past, this will mark the first time the designer has shown his men’s collection alone during New York Fashion Week: Men’s. His runway show will debut on February 6 at the Park Avenue Armory. #wwdfashion
London-based couture house @ralphandrusso has certainly been in the spotlight, having its dresses worn by @beyonce, Angelina Jolie, Meghan Markle in her engagement photos and more. For couture, Tamara Ralph focused on ornamentation — think: feathers with chain mail, jet embroidery and clusters of pearls and crystals. See the rest of the collection on WWD.com #wwdfashion #couture (📷: @giovanni_giannoni_photo)
Minnie Mouse celebrated her 90th birthday by getting her own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. For her celebratory luncheon, @coach’s creative director @stuartvevers dressed her in a custom made prairie dress, complete with Vever’s take on the polka dot – black sequined versions – under a cropped motorcycle jacket. The designer also put his own mark on Minnie’s classic red shoes, infusing the color with sparkles and adding some Coach crystals. “We chose colors that were very Minnie and also represented quintessential Coach elements,” said Vevers. #wwdfashion #nationalpolkadotday (📷: George Chinsee)
@nickjonas is unveiling his first-ever apparel collection through a partnership with John Varvatos. The limited-edition capsule, which makes its debut in spring, also marks the first time the designer has collaborated with anyone on a line. “The process in working with Nick is amazing. It’s inspiring to be around someone who is not only connected with the trade that they do, but also with what’s happening in the environment around him, and how that connects to what we do with style,” said Varvatos. (RG: @johnvarvatos) #wwdfashion
@margotrobbie steps out onto the red carpet wearing @miumiu. The actress is nominated for “Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role” in “I, Tonya” at the #SagAwards. (📷: Stewart Cook) #wwdfashion
For @massimogiorgetti of @msgm, the Nineties are his favorite decade. “They had a huge impact on my personal growth. What I like of the Nineties is that they are not so precise in terms of style as other decades…there was actually a bit of everything,” he said. As seen on MSGM’s Spring 2018 show: tie-dye and a bit of grunge, two styles that are synonymous with the decade #wwdfashion #wwddecades (📷: @kukukuba)