Bluezone maintained its role as a catalyst for sustainable technologies and innovation in denim. Mills exhibiting at the Munich-based trade show this week presented focused collections that tapped into the German market’s demand for ecological concepts, soft hand feels and bi-stretch.
From a Los Angeles event in March, to a special retail collection, Italian denim mill Candiani has a host of special products for its 80th anniversary, but one in particular speaks to the mill’s goal of being the “greenest mill in the blue world.”
Candiani kicked off its celebration at Bluezone with the new and improved Re-Gen denim, the closest the mill has come to a biodegradable denim fabric.
Dyed with water-saving Kitotex and Indigo Juice technologies, the fabric is made of 50 percent of Lenzing’s recycled material, Refibra, and 50 percent recycled cotton in both the warp and weft, meaning there is no raw cotton. Through this combination, Candiani saves 2.565 liters of water for every pair of jeans made.
The new fabric achieves the look of authentic denim with a white weft from the recycled cotton used. The previous version of Re-Gen had blue in the weft.
Sustainability was top of mind among most brands and mills at Bluezone.
Refibra was a key ingredient in Prosperity’s collection. While a rep said the cost remains a challenge, the fabrics offer the same hand feel of traditional Tencel.
Blue Diamond by House of Gold wholeheartedly embraced Refibra. The mill introduced the fiber in 13 oz. denim. The heavier fabrics were a refreshing break from the 7.5-10 oz. sateen examples of Refibra fabrics found throughout the show.
Seazon focused on its Ecology Denim collection, a two-prong approach to creating a circular economy. Seazon vice president Ruyi Zhong said attendees at Bluezone were interested in the mill’s use of pre-consumer recycled cotton and denim made with post-consumer textiles. Combined, the sustainable efforts help Seazon reduce yearly water consumption by about 20 percent.
Kilim’s Re-Create collection is made from recycled denim. The mill purchases fibers made from second hand jeans collected from the shop, and starts the process again. Kilim dyes the ropes and weaves the denim fabrics with recycled fibers in the weft and organic cotton in the warp. Rigid and stretch constructions are available.
Shakaib Nazim, Indigo Textile marketing manager, said every brand he met with at Bluezone asked about sustainable denim. The Karachi, Pakistan-based mill is responding with denim made with post-consumer yarn from used garments. The fabrications are made up of 20 percent post-consumer recycled fibers.
For its latest sustainable innovation, Orta looked to the past for inspiration, specifically artisan techniques like batik and tie-dye. The Turkish denim mill introduced Exoart, a new eco dyeing technology which achieves an acid wash effect in a more sustainable way.
The fabric is distinguished by its modern hand crafted appearance and patterns created by high-low tinting. The process reduces water usage by eliminating indigo tanks and requiring less solvent for dyeing.
The need for green carried into colors. Artistic Milliner’s presented Matcha, a collection of green casts and gun metals. Combined with bi-stretch constructions, the fabrics are a knockout. Kassim also saw interest in its new vivid green cast.
The color complements the season’s bohemian trend for romantic denim inspired by nature.
As the season transitions from winter to spring, Arvind knows that even denim lovers want to switch their wardrobe. The mill developed a happy medium with Hybrid Chinos, a new line of chino fabrications with denim sensibilities.
The all-season collection features men’s and women’s fabrics compactly constructed with a soft hand feel. The fabrics, available in saturated indigo and sulphur shades, wash down like traditional denim. Depending on washes, Hybrid Chinos can fit into casual and dress looks.
The fabrics can be upgraded with finishes at the garment stage, including water repellent, anti-microbial, ultra-violet protection, stain repellent, anti-static and more.
Mills took a break from rigid ’90s-inspired fabrications. Instead, soft touch denim resonated with brands seeking that wow-factor at retail. Seazon saw interest in Spongy Denim, a fabric that has the same weight of regular denim but feels about 20 percent thicker. The special bulky yarn creates a naturally softer and comfortable hand without the need for softeners in the washing process.
Likewise, Kassim’s low twist denim is naturally softer than if softener was applied. The yarns have less tension, meaning the jeans are inherently soft.
There’s no slow down in stretch, either. While its been popular in the U.S. for two years, Zhong said 4-way stretch is picking up in the European market. Brands are moving full speed ahead with the fabrication after successful test orders.
Artistic Milliners showcased Hourglass, a collection of shaping and retention denim with a flattering name. Ebru Ozaydin, Artistic Milliners director of sales and marketing, said she’s seeing stretch up to 60 or 70 percent elasticity. Bi-stretch is in demand for men, too.
“Last year, everyone was talking about stretch in the warp, but it’s not as popular now. Maybe brands didn’t communicate it well enough to consumers,” she said.
For pre-Fall, Artistic Milliners is trying on a sleek and classic look with Frenchie. Inspired by French women’s effortless cool look and attitude, the coated stretch fabrics are comfortable without being loud or crunchy.
The show’s theme “Man + Machine” was evident in MYR’s booth. The company launched 3-D visualization in its software and digital platform developed to streamline communication throughout the manufacturing process. With the enhancement, designers can get a realistic 360-degree view of their designs, see how effects interact with the seams of jeans and add details to back pockets.
Naveena Denim honored the show’s theme with a design collaboration with BMW Motorrad. The mill partnered with the German motorcycle maker and DSM Dyneema, makers of the world’s strongest fiber, for a capsule collection of biker lifestyle apparel. The moto collection included co-branded jackets, pants and jumpsuits made with Naveena’s fabric range with Dyneema.