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A/W 2017-18 Fabric, Innovation & Trend Snapshot

“Everyone is saying the glory days for denim are over, but we just have to focus on creating solutions for the end user and pull them back to denim,” said Ebru Ozaydin, Calik head of sales and marketing.

Invista reported that 78 percent of consumers surveyed expressed interest in purchasing a winter jean that could help keep them warm. At Kingpins Amsterdam, the company debuted two new technologies aimed to fill that demand, Thermolite Infared and Thermolite Dual Layer.

Thermolite Infared technology is solar-activated by the sun or artificial light using Near Infrared (NIR) yarns. The yarns absorb the NIR rays to raise the temperature of the garment, keeping the wearer warmed by two degrees Celsius. Thermolite Infared is also designed to reduced drying time. Theromolite Dual Layer is based on a patent fabric construction that creates open spaces within the fabric, trapping air to help keep the wearer warm. The fabrication is slightly thicker, but it is lightweight and offers insulation close to fleece level warmth.

Calik, much like the rest of the denim industry, is in the midst of a renaissance. The mill split its A/W 2017-18 collection into six umbrellas of product, or solutions: performance, true denim, aesthetic, functionality, sustainability, and touch and feel.

Four-way stretch has become a ticket for denim to enter the activewear scene, but mills are discovering that more innovation is needed to perfect the fabrication. Last season, Calik rolled out Elastech, a fabrication developed to eliminate the headaches and limitations of stretch denim, including puckering and shrinkage. The Turkish denim mill is following up that solution with Curve, an innovation for women’s skinny cuts that works like a makeup concealer hiding the wearer’s flaws.

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Curve technology blocks extreme stretch-out along the weft while creating a push-up effect for the bottom without sacrificing comfort. The innovation also eliminates unflattering creases along the back and puckering lengthwise along the inseam.

Candiani is famous for its refined and authentic denim, but the Italian mill has placed an emphasis on creating “new dimensions of stretch” with a trio of elastic constructions: Warper, Sling 360º and Shaper-X for A/W 2017-18. With Warper, Candiani changed the conventional direction of elasticity from weft to warp, focusing on the stress points of a jean, like the knee, waist and back area. The elastic warp allows the fabric to follow the body’s movement, offering the wearer greater freedom of movement and offering designers more elasticity to explore a whole new realm of designs and fits. The rigid weft, meanwhile, facilitates distress treatments to guarantee an authentic vintage denim look.

The mill applied its premium stretch technology, Sling, to both the weft and warp in its range of Sling 360º denim designed to ease mobility. The fabric’s 4-way elasticity is finished with a treatment that creates control of the elasticity and low growth. Meanwhile, the mill is offering its most flexible yet stable stretch denim fabrication with Shaper-X, which guarantees overall shrinkage below five percent.

“Stretch needs to perform. It can’t bag out,” confirmed Jack Mathews, Artistic Denim Mills (ADM) director of sales and marketing. Over 95 percent of ADM’s collection is stretch denim. The mill has stopped showing separate men’s and women’s collections because there is so much crossover.

Mathews says the demand for stretch fabric and denim with a “peach skin hand” continues to come from the premium end of the denim spectrum, however, he says there’s interest in 100 percent cotton, spurred on by the Generation Y-led trend for marble-looking denim and vintage weights.

Not enough can be said about consumers’ demand for comfort, stretch and variety. Part of Berto’s three-part collection for the season included denim for the workplace—a concept that presented refined, professional indigo attire with an emphasis on yarns like Lycra Dual FX. “People get bored,” added Berto Marketing Manager Arianna Morimando. The mill also presented denim in a Pitti-perfect collection with dandy-inspired styling and a collection that revisited denim’s roots with heavier weights.

Cone continues to see interest in nostalgic fabrications, including denim with ’70s and ’80s mid-tones, reported Kara Nicholas, Cone Denim vice president of product development and marketing. To offer the best of both the vintage and athleisure worlds, the mill is adding stretch to the throwback fabrication, but in a way that ensures the maintenance of its authentic look. The mill also expanded its Natural Indigo Collection featuring indigo produced in Tennessee by Stony Creek Colors to include wide-width fabrics, Tencel blends and higher stretch denim for A/W 2017-18. The collection maintains the original true indigo shade from the initial selvedge collection, but with added comfort.

For the athleisure-minded consumer, Calik debuted Knitrogene, a knitted fabrication with a traditional denim surface including twill lines but with a plush-like interior feeling. For the consumer in search for true denim, the mill launched D’Enovated, a line of rigid and comfort stretch denim with vertical slubs, subtle cross-hatch and salt and pepper effects. The line offers the orange peel look some Millennials and Generation Y consumers are discovering for the first time.

Denim designer Roy Slaper and Artistic Fabric and Garment Industries (AFGI) presented an exclusive collection made at AFGI’s factory in Karachi, Pakistan. The Roy x AFGI Collection was designed and created to showcase the mill’s new fabric developments and garment-making capabilities. For the line, Slaper focused on authentic American fits and washes with details like back knee whiskers.

AFGI Director Hasan Javed said the line is more American than the rest of the mill’s collection, which tends to skew European. Javed added that it was important for AFGI to have someone like Slaper help show the rest of the industry what its fully-vertical facilities can achieve.

Retro and Americana color stories were rampant at the show. Prosperity introduced Sweet Indigo, a purple retro tone derived from sugar. ADM calls its vintage shade Parliament Blue, a color that Mathews said ties back to the ’70s look comprised of wide flare legs and frayed jeans. The shade is bright with limited yarn character.

Mills reported that black is coming on strong for A/W 2017-18, as well as shades of gray. Prosperity debuted a new gunmetal, a darker option than what was trending for S/S 2017 for the winter season. Cone also introduced black back selvedge.

Green was top of mind for companies like Tonello, which in partnership with Candiani, presented a new sustainable collection called Safe Garment. The chemical-free collection just uses some pigment for effect and water brush for added brightness. “When you start with a good base like Candiani denim, you can do great things,” said Alice Tonello, the garment finishing company’s marketing and R&D manager.

At Kingpins, Archroma, Garmon, Lenzing and Royo presented a project to produce denim garments based on the most efficient possible use of resources. Archoma quoted a study that declared that 1.8 trillion liters of water are consumed monthly in the production of jeans. In order to try and save the most water and energy and reduce waste, Archroma used its Advanced Denim technology.

The process requires only one impregnation of the yarn in the dyebath, using only a small volume of coloring liquid. The process also fixes 100 percent of the applied dye on the fiber, eliminating the need to consume more water washing off the unfixed dye. Advanced Denim allows water saving of approximately 90 percent compared to standard indigo dyeing applications.

Miguel Sanchez, Archroma head global business development, segment denim and casualwear, explained that the issue with the consumption of water is not only the waste, but also the pollution from the effluents that may contain different chemical species that might even be hazardous and require special water treatments.

YKK set out to remind attendees that they are a source for more than “just zippers” with a new line of rivets customized with eco finishing. The line is the perfect punctuation to collections focused on sustainability. The chemical-free trims are made with standard materials, but their appearance is altered by applying different levels of water, heat and salt to the finishing process. Others are baked for a longer period of time for a darker appearance. “Even the smallest part of a jean can be eco-friendly,” pointed out Simone Herbig, YKK account manager. “We’re a big manufacturer, so we should pay attention to the environment.”

This article, originally titled “Hello Amsterdam”, appears in the May issue of Rivet Magazine. Click here to view complete feature and additional photos.