Denim Première Vision

LONDON — Denim Première Vision is looking outward and repositioning itself on an international scale: For the first time in 11 years, the denim trade show was held outside Paris as part of a new strategy that will see the show land in a variety of locations.

London was the first stop in the fair’s “roving denim” strategy, which will see the exhibition touch down in markets with mature fashion industries. The two-day event wraps up Thursday at the Old Truman Brewery in Shoreditch.

For Guglielmo Olearo, chief executive officer of Première Vision, London offers a hotbed of creativity and contemporary fashion while also being an “unexplored market for denim. Our new positioning is very contemporary, fashionable and sustainable, and from what I can see so far, London touches on all these points,” Olearo said.

This year’s exhibition hosted 89 companies, ranging from weavers to garment manufacturers to technology developers. Olearo said these exhibitors were chosen to fit the year’s four themes: Discover, Care & Share, Performance and Personalization. According to Première Vision’s fashion director, Pascaline Wilhelm, personalization is the DNA of denim.

According to Wilhelm, trends are stemming from product innovation and comfort. “People don’t want to be constrained with garments, the need for freedom is really high today so fashion finds solutions,” she said.

New innovations include lightweight and supple denim as well as denim blends. “Lightness is extremely important because, five years ago, it was impossible. But now technology has allowed the industry to make very fine and resistant yarns,” Wilhelm said.

Technology has played a huge role in the evolution of denim, according to Wilhelm, who pointed out that new vocabulary is constantly being used to keep up with developments.

Even for an established denim brand such as Marques’Almeida, who are this year’s show ambassadors, the exhibition is a place to forge new partnerships.

“Although we’ve worked with denim so much during our career, we still feel like we have so much to learn. What’s exciting is that we can also bring something different as well,” said Marta Marques, the label’s codesigner.

Both Marques and Paulo Almeida spoke about their work with denim as part of a lineup of events at the fair. Talks included a masterclass on streetwear influences, outfit inspirations and denim trends as well as a full day of sustainability-themed panels.

“Our two pillars are fashion and sustainability,” Olearo said. “The message from the end consumer is strong. They want to have something more green, more sustainable and more respectful of the environment and we want to display how the entire denim community is moving in that direction,” he said.

Première Vision has partnered with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, the mission of which is to help companies move toward a circular economy, and they were set to speak about renewable business models.

Olearo highlighted the importance of hosting companies during every step of the supply chain, and to wit exhibitors included Weavers Indigo Textile, which is creating 100 percent recycled denim. Kilim Denim, meanwhile, is manufacturing with 99 percent less water, recycled polyester and going hydrosulfide free. Hydrosulfides are used in the dyeing process and produce corrosive and environmentally unfriendly wastewater.

“The vision is crystal clear. We’re going to bring the most innovative offer in terms of product and we are helping our exhibitors share this information,” Olearo said.