Kingpins New York

Glitz, sparkle, glamour and a twist on new shapes and silhouettes defined the offerings for fall 2019 at Kingpins New York. The two-day event was held on June 6 and 7 at Pier 36 in New York.

Rhinestone-encrusted indigo and color blocking led the trends for the upcoming fall season, lending sparkle, sheen and re-architected shapes to a most creative and thoughtful selection. Unabashed experimentation manifested in the form of shearling denim hooded sweatshirts, lace-up jeans and panel mixing with an emphasis on “glam decadence,” catering to consumers’ newfound desire to stand out.

The show debuted a slew of expanded offerings this year, with new initiatives such as its Kingpins Curiosity Shop, which featured indigo-themed accessories, namely blue-colored jewelry, bags and other specialty items, as well as pop-up shops from the likes of Blue in Green and Curious Corners. Additional show floor extras included its Vintage Showroom, Denim Repair Shop, Chain Stitch Workshop and technologies from MYR, a 3-D software that streamlines the denim design process. And Kingpins New York’s first-ever outdoor festival and Shopping Bazaar featured 16 vintage dealers, handmade goods, artists and denim artisans, with vendors such as Honeymoon Vintage, Object Americana, People’s Pride, Denimcratic and Denim Rush.

Seminars held at the event included “Denim Trends for Fall 2019: Fit, Fabric and Finish,” led by “Denim Dudes” author Amy Leverton; “High Stretch, Low Stretch, Bi-Stretch, Go Stretch!,” presented by Jean Hegedus, global denim director of Invista, and “Busting Up Denim Myths,” a panel featuring Andrew Olah of Kingpins, Stefano Aldighieri of Another Design Studio and Bart Van De Woestyne of Superblue, that together addressed queries such as the true origin of denim, assumptions about premium denim and new technologies that cater to denim’s growth in sustainability.

Lace-up denim trend at Kingpins New York. 

Leverton styled the trend section on the showroom floor, an interactive installation of garments called “Fresh Denim Forecasts.” Themes such as “Lost Youth” introduced a “magpie-like approach to dressing” that fuses “emo, grunge, rave, punk and indie” alongside Nineties skate and streetwear looks. “Offbeat Rodeo” blends “decorated surfaces, satins and metallics” with “rich color, rhinestones and studding,” while “Millennial Blues” presents a more clean, utilitarian looks, reminiscent of vintage Calvin Klein adverts and styles circa the year 2000, according to Leverton. Perhaps most interesting is Leverton’s “Altitude” theme that combines a sports casual feel with retro utility gear and colorful Nineties streetwear, led by shapeless silhouettes made of technical fabrics.

And while comfort and bi-stretch or mono-stretch styles are infinitely popular among consumers, the ongoing trend toward nostalgia and early Nineties denim looks — as well as “hard” denim with a bit of stretch — is an overarching and prevailing trend. Pakistani denim manufacturer Artistic Milliners answers this demand through its “90210″ line that hearkens decades past. Ebru Ozaydin, senior vice president of sales and marketing at Artistic Milliners, told WWD, “The majority of the requests are more [for ‘hard denim],’” she said. And Kara Nicholas, vice president of design and marketing at Cone Denim, also spoke of brands that seek sturdier denim and its “Cone Strong” collection. Nicholas told WWD, “For us, we’ve really been working with a lot of brands that are looking for added strength” and said that the company has recently supplied “workwear types of brands, that need to have that strength built into the garment.” She added that the company offers varying degrees and levels of strength for its client base.

“Altitude” trend at Kingpins New York. 

Key themes of sustainability and transparency have gained meaningful traction, as legacy brands and denim start-ups are collectively pivoting toward long-standing commitments to create and manufacture denim ecologically and responsibly. Olah, Kingpins founder and show organizer, told WWD, “Kingpins is working really, really hard on sustainability and moving the dial in the industry, and making companies do more. It’s basically Kingpins mission,” he said. “Sustainability is really vital.” And also in regard to sustainability, Tricia Carey, director of global business development for denim at Lenzing, described the current state of the denim market as “tentative,” and added that “There is confusion about how to address sustainability and how to integrate technology into new fabrics and/or garments.”

“Fresh Denim Forecasts” at Kingpins New York. 

Ozaydin told WWD, “Nowadays, people are asking a lot of the sustainability solutions and technologies,” with many American brands in the market seeking solutions for clean indigo dyeing or post-consumer waste or recycle fibers, as well as a strong desire to achieve certifications that define a brand as sustainable. To meet this demand, Artistic Milliners offers lines such as Cradle-to-Cradle and Crystal Clear, as well as its post-consumer waste products.

Carey continued, “After Kingpins and [the] denim market gathering, there is a flurry of stories. The market is talking about sustainability in all facets — some are true and some are a real stretch to verify. There was more attention this show to reduced impact in sustainable dyes.” She added, “From a style we continue to see the creativity and performance of multifiber blends in fabrics. Several mills were showing denim fabrications using no cotton by using other cellulosic and synthetic fibers. There was also the increased use of color throughout collections. There were more styles with text or words as people use denim for their personal expression. Social movements are now part of denim styles.”

For More Textiles News From WWD, See:

Food for Thought: Archroma Offers Plant-Based Dye Options

Cone Denim Will Soon Debut New Sustainable Denim

Applied DNA Sciences to Create Anticounterfeiting Sewing Thread

Sustainable Polymers Popularize Across Textile Markets

Merchandise Returns Accrue Waste, Strain Brands and Retailers

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