Color it Green
What’s Good for the Earth is also Good for Denim Development.
For Spring/Summer 2023 the forecast calls for “dopamine dressing” according to Denim Dudes owner/denim consultant and trendspotter, Amy Leverton, who describes the upcoming season as expressive and upbeat, full of color, print, pattern and texture. Leverton shared her denim trend presentation virtually during Kingpins24 in October.
Whether it’s a product concept, a marketing campaign, or a design development, shades of sustainability dominate the denim landscape. At the recent Kingpins24 virtual trade event panel discussions were rife with eco commentary and talk of circularity. Denim execs consistently expressed the importance of environmentally-responsible practices in an effort to meet corporate sustainability goals and curb the climate crisis.
This season’s focus on things such as digitalization, sizing inclusivity, and material innovation were also identified as denim market drivers during the three-day live stream Kingpins24 conference.
Christina Raab, VP strategy & development for Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute shared an update on the new Version 4 framework. “Infrastructure is in place to close the loop and circularity is the next approach for denim,” said Rabb, who highlighted the latest styles from Lee Jeans and Napapijri’s Circular Series as directional in today’s denim. She also described “Design for Survival” as the next approach for denim, and an indicator of how important design is to enable circularity.
“Infrastructure is in place to close the loop and circularity is the next approach for denim.” – Christina Rabb, Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute.
Raab is optimistic about the future, noting the progressive outlook in the design stage, and that denim has become the biggest category at Cradle to Cradle. However she believes cooperation between the brands and the supply chain is not happening fast enough. “This is crucial to scale,” cautioned Raab, referring to the need to advance new sustainable models for larger distribution and offer cost competitive products.
Kingpins founder Andrew Olah, added, “There is a lot of innovation showing the way forward. This is just the beginning of a huge movement.”
So, too, is Kingpins Exchange, a virtual sourcing and design platform introduced during the October event, following an announcement that Material Exchange had acquired the agency portion of denim consultancy and events business of Olah,Inc. This builds on a partnership established in 2020 between the organizations as a way to allow exhibitors to showcase textile collections year-round with a digital format. The Kingpins Exchange is constructed as an online denim marketplace and digital denim showroom, providing businesses freedom to source fabric on demand.
Ingredient brands have eyes on how consumers are transitioning from sweats to jeans. Both Lycra and Lenzing introduced new products during Kingpins24 that are fit for post-pandemic lifestyles in terms of style, comfort and versatility.
The new LYCRA ADAPTIV features unique hybrid properties that focus on fit, making sizing less relevant. The key is adaptability without compromising functionality. According to the company, at rest the ADAPTIV fiber delivers the right recovery force to maintain its fit and provide shaping and compression as needed. But when the wearer is in motion, the fibers deliver a comfortable, second skin type effect, to stay in place. “Lycra ADAPTIV offers the same comfort in size range of 34 to 42, with far fewer SKUs,” explains Ebru Ozaydin, strategic marketing director, denim, wovens, & ready-to- wear, and textile industry veteran who joined The Lycra Company in April 2021.
Lenzing’s new Tencel/Lyocell Matte product targets shoppers updating their denim with more casual, natural looking and eco-friendly styles. By adding minerals to the spin mass, Lenzing achieves a reduced shine lightweight indigo chambray. The new Tencel/Lyocell Matte innovation offers soft drape and botanical origin with a vintage look.
Hemp is having a denim moment. The fiber has captured the attention of the industry with many brands keen on the natural fiber despite that spinning remains a challenge. An interesting newcomer to the hemp movement is PandaBiotech. The company is opening a large hemp processing facility in Wichita Falls, TX designed to convert hemp stalks into textiles and materials for other applications. Just recently PandaBiotech announced a global partnership with AGI Denim to create high-quality, durable denim product.