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Calik Denim and Art Comes First Partner for a New Kind of Collaboration

It may be time to blur the lines between designer and supplier, at least that’s what Art Comes First (ACF) and Calik Denim say.

The two organizations have collaborated on a collection of denim they call “Rebel in the Blue Jeans” as a part of a new partnership concept based on a closer relationship between designer and supplier.

The collaboration was previously teased during Complexcon and Milan Fashion Week but will officially be shown during the Paris, Copenhagen and Japan Fashion Weeks in a variety of showrooms, trade shows and pop-ups.

“Rebel in Blue Jeans” is gender-neutral “human’s wear” and will feature punk-inspired fits and tailored denim that doesn’t promise to be “on trend.” Rather, the partnership says the collection exists to serve a “community of like-minded artists” who want to improve their style without taking away from anyone else.

Calik worked closely with ACF, taking the lead in deciding on texture variation and particular washes and finishes that would be featured in the collection. The Turkish mill also engineered a few special fabrics for the collaboration, including a lightweight shine viscose blend, “black fur denim,” flock velvety finish denim and denim coated in soft leather. Additionally, Calik experimented with 3-D finishes on a handful of pieces.

As far as what makes this partnership different, Calik and ACF explain that they are seeking more than just a simple collaboration. Instead, they are seeking a partnership that goes beyond the temporary and is “founded on mutual respect and beneficial objectives.”

Those objectives begin with limiting the environmental impact of the collection. Calik is no stranger to leading the discussion on the sustainability of producing denim, an aspect of the collaboration that piqued ACF’s interest. The result is a collection of denim that pushes the boundaries between sustainability and art.

“By engineering new fabrics and treatments to the old ones we love, such as denim—the classically trained tailors [at ACF] prove that it is unnecessary to compromise an existing habitat’s conditions for the quality of a product,” a joint statement on the collection explained.

The second objective of the collaboration is to “maintain the creative viability of artists and manufacturers’ capacity to create their methods for the greater good of the people and the environment’s their works occupy,” the team noted, which is in keeping with ACF’s commitment to the artistic side of fashion.

As such, “Rebel in the Blue Jeans,” aims to push the limits of sustainability without limiting the collection’s artistic value. By working closely with the mill that will eventually create the product, the artists at ACF have been able to marry aesthetic with activism.

“Including the architects of the sourced fabrics into the conversation of the ecology of fashion has led to the construction of materials which require less water and that can be made in smaller batches to cut down on overall waste,” the brands explained.

This will be the first premium denim collection produced by ACF, a brand started by artists and designers Sam Lamberts and Shaka Maidoh. The duo has roots in the British fashion scene, working with names like Ozwald Boateng and Spencer Hart. Their e-commerce website is invite-only, although the brand is currently working to open it up to the general public. Instagram is ACF’s most accessible platform and it’s there that the brand often posts about its upcoming collections and events.

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