Duer's "Weightless Denim." Photo courtesy of Duer.

Denim is getting technical. And as consumers continue to crave comfortable, functional apparel, brands are creatively reimagining aesthetic and utility to differentiate and meet market demands.

And one of these brands is Vancouver-based denim company Duer and its latest “Weightless Denim” product, which is touted as the lightest denim in the market. Weighing in at seven ounces, its Weightless Denim material is comprised of 34 percent Coolmax polyester; 32 percent cotton; 32 percent Tencel, and 2 percent Lycra. This unique blend was assembled to combat the heat of summer, combined with a powerful stretch and embedded antimicrobial properties. Styled as a Slim Fit Chino, the jean is transitional and utilitarian, fashioning itself as a “high-performing summer pant.” And though Weightless Denim might feel light as a feather, its durability is comparable to traditional denim, the company said.

Duer’s “Weightless Denim.” Photograph courtesy of Duer. 

Duer founder and chief executive officer Gary Lenett launched the company in 2013 after a longtime career in denim, having spent 25 years in the industry — mainly working for Levi Strauss & Co. — and launching several brands, most notably, Dish Denim. During a self-imposed hiatus spurred by the ethical dilemma of fast fashion, the “seasoned jeaner” began to crave a more minimalist lifestyle. Lenett eventually scaled down his possessions, including his car, to further simplify life for him and his family. As a result, Lenett became an avid urban cycler, and identified a need in the market for a jean that acted as a true performance material but maintained the look and feel of a professional, office-appropriate pant.

Photograph courtesy of Duer. 

Lenett partnered with technical fabric expert Abid Hafeez to help build authentic performance denim styled with a street wear feel. Lenett told WWD, “From a technical perspective, there’s no magic in terms of developing fabrics. It takes a long time,” he said. Key elements found in Duer’s denim products is very powerful stretch coupled with antibacterial, moisture wicking and quick-dry properties. Additional self-described denim collections by Duer include No Sweat, Live Lite, Limitless Stretch, Live Free and Stay Dry.

Since its launch, the company has grown 250 percent annually every year for the past four years and its products are sold by over 200 retailers in 150 cities across Canada, the U.S. and Europe. Duer manufactures its products in Lahore, Pakistan and Shanghai, China.

The company said that Duer jeans are thought of as a replacement for everyday yoga pants for women, and sweatpants for men — the brand is a favorite among professional athletes, commuters and urban adventurers seeking the blend of style and function for daily endeavors. Lenett told WWD, “I’ve never worked as hard as I am right now in my whole life, and that’s saying something because I’m a hard worker. And I’ve never had as much fun.”

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