The 72-year-old Italian designer, who launched Diesel, Replay, AG, A Gold E and a slew of other lines in the global denim industry over a span of four decades, is entering new territory with a knits-based ath-leisure line produced by Mavi Jeans. Not only is the fall launch of Indigo Move another example of Goldschmied’s serial entrepreneurship, but it also indicates the irreversible trajectory of the premium denim industry.
“We all know that sports have a very strong influence on our customers today,” Goldschmied said. “I feel that the jean industry has a hard time to give a response to this type of life. That’s why I decided to work in a different segment. That is a knit, to make it very simple. In the knit, it is possible to make a product that is still indigo but is very different from the traditional denim. It gives a level of comfort that is honestly no comparison to the jean product.”
Developed in China, where Goldschmied has been spending the bulk of his time on developing textiles, the knit fabric is integrated with T400 polyester to enable 360-degree stretchability. While the yarn is dyed like regular denim fabric, it’s looped around cones for knitting machines rather than woven on a loom. The disadvantage of the knitted fabric is that it can’t endure excessive distressing. On the other hand, it takes well to laser treatments.
“The difference is a perfect fabric to make a kind of clean and elegant look but in some ways different from the traditional denim that is kind of vintage,” Goldschmied said.
Working with knits allows Goldschmied to abide by the non-compete agreement he signed with Citizens of Humanity after departing the Huntington Park, Calif.-based company. He was a partner and executive vice president at Citizens following its acquisition of his high-end women’s label called Goldsign in 2007.
Launching this fall with retail prices running from $98 to $148, the collection is part of Mavi’s strategy to extend its reach in the U.S. market. The Turkish company aims to increase its total sales by more than 9 percent to $465 million this year from $425 million last year.
“We believe the evolution in denim is really coming from the fabric,” said Mavi president Ersin Akarlilar. When listening to consumers talk about what they’re after, he learned that “they, of course, want the same look [and] the style, but can they have more performance?”
With extreme recovery and stretchability, the knits also broaden denim designers’ scope. In addition to pull-up leggings and drapy trousers, designers also can venture into swimwear. “It’s the perfect fabric for a bikini,” Goldschmied said. “It’s very stretchy, light and very comfortable.”
The technological developments bode a shift for the overall industry. Goldschmied said the position of 5-pocket jeans is “less important.” After all, he said, “nobody needs a new pair of jeans unless you have a desire to have it.”
As for Goldschmied’s desire to keep innovating in denim when many peers his age are enjoying retirement, he’s hatching other projects as well. “I still have a lot of energy and a lot of ideas,” he said. “I’m not ready to give up.”