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In the Eighties it was stonewashing, the Nineties were a fixation on Lycra followed by laser innovation to help with washing. Citizens of Humanity of late has been focused on fiber technology, the latest example of that being its Perform collection for men.

Perform, launched for fall, focuses on smart fabrics that can stretch, offer moisture-wicking attributes or temperature control.

“There’s a lot of innovation at the fiber level and what we’re doing is trying to create a new benchmark for what basic denim fabric does. We are trying to find fabrics that can do more for you,” said creative director Catherine Ryu.

What results is a Citizens of Humanity take on smart technology for denim.

“It’s like wearables,” Ryu said. “When we think about wearables, it’s this ring or this watch, but we believe in the future of innovation at the fabric level.”

The fall collection introduced a power stretch Tencel blend fabric. Spring 2018 will see the introduction of Coolmax technology that offers moisture wicking, and there are other R&D projects also in the works, Ryu said.

The Perform collection complements the Sculpt offering on the women’s side launched three years ago, which is when the focus on fabric technology first began, she said.

“Denimwear is always going to be denimwear,” Ryu said. “It’s just that we’re offering our customers something smarter. It’s not to say we’re going to gain ath-leisure customers that are going to wear our jeans to the gym, but as we evolve as human beings, our technology becomes more helpful.”

The seven-piece collection retails from $188 to $228 and is being sold at most stores currently selling Citizens of Humanity.

Greater education on the part of consumers who are now more informed about fabric blends has allowed brands such as Citizens of Humanity to maintain higher price points even in the face of fast fashion.

“We believe people are excited about innovation and evolution of product so we’re a brand that wants to offer our consumer something special and great and there seems to be a reaction to it,” Ryu said. “So it’s not just about marketing. We’re finding that if the product is worthy of the cost, there isn’t a resistance to it….Product is king.”

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