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3 Denim Trends to Know for 2018

Denim is universal, but it takes design talent and consumer insight to make it covetable.

Mills, trim suppliers and designers are introducing a new breed of fashion stories in 2018 that call for sustainable innovations to be at the centerpiece of collections and invites consumers to dress as quirky or professional as they like. Here’s a look at our top three denim themes to know for next year.

Natural Selection

You’ve heard of “farm to table.” Now get ready to dress in “farm to closet.” The pioneering, rustic theme predicted by trend forecasting firm Fashion Snoops ties in well with the denim industry’s steps toward wide leg jeans, re-worked denim jackets, square weaves and heirloom tailoring. Chunky lace trims, natural leather patches and vintage-inspired hardware add character.

Natural selection denim

The trend invites new fabrications like cotton flannel and corduroy to mix with raw denim and canvas. Arvind’s Neo Cord collection offers corduroy fabrications with an indigo flavor. The mill partnered with Italian garment finishing company Tonello to displayed the breadth of colors and effects Neo Cord can achieve. The result is a spectrum of indigo cords that spans navy to steel, clean to distressed.

With colors like brown, ecru and dark indigo anchoring the trend, brands have an opportunity to tell new sustainable stories like the color denim collection G-Star Raw launched this fall. The Danish brand tapped Archroma’s EarthColors, a line of patented plant-based dyes sourced from up to 100 percent renewable resources, to develop the sustainable collection. Lenzing’s Refibra also fits into the theme by enhancing the sustainable benefits of relaxed styles like vintage work shirts, drapey peasant skirts and bottoms with trendy paper bag waists.

In Living Color

When news is dark and heavy, fashion goes bright and light. Vibrant colors like Barbie pink, sunny yellow, sky blue and fire engine red ignite men’s and women’s denim. We may even see Pantone’s 2018 color of the year, Ultra Violet, appear in denim as purple casts.

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The colors add instant pops of youthful zeal and comic book-like character to a new crop of genderless silhouettes, including boxy Trucker jackets, wide leg jeans and coveralls. To contrast, bright white and off-white denim with contrasting stitching modernizes shapes inspired by workwear.

The use of color is carried into details. Paint splatter, ironic branding, rainbow threads and oil slick finishes add visual interest to denim, while hardware comes in a myriad of colors with shiny or matte appearances. Dull, rubbery coatings add a sporty element to the trend. The addition of 3-D typography, hologram materials and playful charms on trims and branding materials turn classic pairs of jeans into a trendy statement pieces.

The “ugly” jean trend geared toward Gen Z may have won social media in 2017, but denim brands may want to begin to introduce “blinged-out” jeans to this emerging consumer demographic. Denim Dude’s Amy Leverton predicts this late ’90s and early aughts style will return in the coming season. Expect to see crystals trim pockets, gem stones decorate jean jackets and more embroidery and heavy stitching to come into play. Low-rise jeans and mini denim skirts are just behind them.

Sleek and Sharp

Experimental fits, conceptual pattern-making, velvety hand feels and hints of Tencel sheen are elevating denim to work and evening status. For Fall ’18, Leverton named “exaggerated silhouettes, offbeat proportions, manipulated seam detailing and a collection of re-engineered classic jeanswear items” as styles to watch. These styles are refined by runway fabrics like silk, velvet and satin.

Clean and minimal designs speak to the fashion-forward customer Bluezone in Munich, Germany described as the “Vogue” demographic. Fluid lines, drapey effects and sheer denim bring a pajama-like feel to pleated wide leg culottes, oversized dresses and long coats.

The trend is toned down for professionals seeking sharp-looking sophisticated denim to wear into the office. Few understand premium indigo fabrics better than Berto. For Spring ’18, the Italian mill introduced Mazzini 11, a collection of fabrics that combine indigo, wool, cashmere and silk. The mill’s goal? To create indigo garments that are acceptable in areas where until recently it was not even conceivable.