WESTWARD BOUND: Candiani Denim is heeding the call from the West Coast. To strengthen ties to the premium denim industry in Los Angeles, one of the biggest markets for the 77-year-old Italian textile mill, Candiani plans to open a development center, equipped with a studio and environmentally sustainable laundry, in July. Located blocks from the Staples Center downtown, Candiani’s new post will be similar to what it already runs in Milan for European designers, according to Alberto Candiani, global manager for his family’s business. Considering the challenges impacting the U.S. denim industry, the company hopes to cultivate more partnerships with jeans makers. The opening follows a collaboration that Candiani did recently with nine students from the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising’s international manufacturing and product development program to define what Candiani describes as “a new premium.” At a party celebrating the students’ thesis collection at L.A. Center Studios on Wednesday, he said he valued the perspective of the next generation of designers, who probably were just learning how to read and write when the first premium denim brands started 15 years ago. “What is premium now was not premium in 2000,” he said.

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