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What Do Bernie Sanders and Marilyn Manson Have In Common? They’re Inspirations for S/S 19 Denim

From cartoon-like workwear and fuddy-duddy dad style, to the return of Marilyn Manson gloom, the fashion stories for Spring/Summer 2019 are anything but traditional.

During Kingpins Amsterdam this week, Amy Leverton, Denim Dudes founder and trend forecaster, outlined four themes aimed to inspire denim collections for the new season. Leverton agreed that some of the trends were obscure, but urged brands have to provide “the kids” what they want.

“The industry is oversaturated with lot of ideas, and kids are being attracted to the extreme stuff,” Leverton said. “That’s why the ugliness is happening… Kids are looking for something more interesting to cut through the noise.”

Here’s a look at Leverton’s four trend stories for Spring/Summer 2019.

Boutique Bazaar

The most vintage, authentic and mainstream story for Spring/Summer ’19, Boutique Bazaar, is blending of design elements from the Middle East and North Africa regions. Leverton said the trend picks up where last season’s fondness for Arabic fonts in streetwear left off and amplifies cultural references with artisan techniques and fabric choices that speak to a more sophisticated market.

Leverton said vintage references and indigo lives in this story with a focus on time-worn textiles and heirloom fabrics. Handloom, slubby textures and yarn character are important to create vintage textures with new fabrics, including vertical slubs and yarns with uneven shades like the yarn of old antique African fabrics. Colors are craft inspired, ranging from indigos and faded pales to earthy rich tones from desert countries derived from natural dyes.

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Although it’s a spring story, Leverton sees opportunities for tufted textures, carpet fabrications and summer blankets. The key, she said, is to develop new ways to create textures that have a thick indigenous feel but are summer ready. Brushed surfaces on lightweight fabrics, blanket stripes and shirting inspired by blanket stripes recreate the look. Lightweight quilting, or upcycled patchwork made from blanket material achieves the feeling, too.

Featherweight fabrics as low as 2 or 4 oz. provide opportunities to create layered looks for summer, Leverton added. Layering pieces will become essential as more mainstream designers dabble in modest dressing, long silhouettes and unisex fashion. The overall feel of silhouettes is relaxed and loose with wrapped and tied closures.

Stripes is a common theme throughout the trend story. Leverton said warm colored stripes—both horizontal and vertical—offer a “high summer deck chair feel,” as well as rich North African inspiration. Indigo stripes make an impression as ticking, jailhouse, railroad and French linen iterations—basically anything that is not traditional blue and white stripes. That mismatched take on stripes is carried into a hodgepodge of indigo textures and prints. The best, Leverton said, finds inspiration from tiled floors.

A myriad of plaids returns for Spring/Summer ’19, pieced and spliced together to create a blended look. In general, Leverton said the story calls for a print medley. Paisley and renewed bandana prints are key for denim, as well as block prints from Africa, India and Pakistan. Expect designers to focus prints on the hems of garments. Fringe is used as a hem detail as well. However, Leverton said the update is blanket inspired, with unwoven and unraveled edges. Fringe details can also be found within a denim and jacquard garment.

Corporate Craft

Corporate Craft takes previous workwear trends to a new Pop Art level. Leverton said the playful trend “celebrates the everyday” by pulling inspiration from the golden era of American convenience. Colors are bright and synthetic (red, yellow, pink) and bodies are boxy and anti-fit, providing ample room to make tongue-in-cheek statements.

Vintage makes an appearance, but as modern interpretations. Leverton said silhouettes are a marriage between mid-century fashion and ’80s styling, with a touch of inspiration from service industry uniforms. Garage attendant overalls, bib and brace overalls, two-tone shirts (à la fast food workers) are key statement pieces.

Color brings Corporate Craft to life. Poppy red, yellow, classic green and “disgusting” pink are prevalent, Leverton described. Acid wash returns in bright colors, as well as coatings that make plastic-like surfaces. Rose motifs, purposeful paint splatter, thick stripes and color blocking create a youthful look.

Leverton pointed out that the trend is the perfect home for “bootleg branding” or the deconstruction of familiar logos. Ripped-off logos, repeated text and low-grade, basic embroidery add a quirky yet slightly disillusioned vibe to the trend story.

Denim Dads

If Corporate Craft is a celebration of the everyday, Leverton says Denim Dads is a celebration of ugly. This post-normcore trend draws inspiration from the mundane by focusing on odd proportions, ironic logos and Bernie Sanders styling. Silos are basics—think five-pocket jeans, blazers, T-shirts and clunky sneakers. “You are wearing it literally as it is. These are not updated silhouettes. They are basic basics, double denim, no fuss,” Leverton explained.

Uniform pieces like Dickies jackets and buttoned-up shirts are done up in drab colors like khaki and brown. Instead of stonewash, Dad jeans are getting into more orange-peel, open-end looks. To complete the look, Leverton said she expects to see this denim look paired with more tailored jackets and blazers in Prince of Wales check.

Practical pockets pulled from the outdoor and fishing worlds are added to outerwear. Technical denim fabrics with water repellant and reflective properties can be used to make these looks. Leverton said function over fashion reigns here and garments should provide practical solutions to everyday problems.

Leverton pointed out that Denim Dads may be a difficult story for designers to grasp because they would essentially be designing basics. However, she suggested that some be more directional and play with proportions, folding or pattern-cutting to make something “normal a little more normal.”

Summer Gothic

Marilyn Manson is the poster child for Summer Gothic, an unexpected dark and edgy theme for Spring/Summer ’19. The trend story taps into musical genres of Y2K, offering a new take on ’90s nostalgia. Leverton said the story relies on lots of darks, faded blacks and dark indigo with pops of silver, neon “slime” green, “Paris Hilton” pink and gothic red.

The rave pant and combat jacket make the boldest statements. Black with white or lime green topstitching update the pieces. White lacing and other subversive styling tricks like ring closures and belting drive home the edgy S&M look.

Last season’s trend for rock-inspired patches and trims has evolved into more emo and goth kid motifs. Branding takes design inspiration from band logos like Korn and Nine Inch Nails. Denim surfaces are trashed, bleached and hand distressed with slashing.

Despite being a hard-edge story, Summer Gothic features some of the most feminine options. Body conscious, low-rise jeans make a comeback. Crystal and rhinestone embellishment, romantic ruffles, corseting and nipped-in waists are featured here, too.