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Archival Designs and Sustainability Mix at Project New York’s Denim Room

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Denim—old and new—took center stage this week at Project New York.

The Fall/Winter 20-21 men’s wear event marked the debut of Denim Room, a new concept that shines a spotlight on creativity, innovation and sustainability in the dual-gender denim market.

Artifacts, a selection of limited-edition and vintage denim garments and samples that never went into production, anchored the show floor. Denim Room creative director and Atelier & Repairs co-founder Maurizio Donadi curated the exhibition using pieces from his own denim collection that might help spark a new approach to denim.

Items included rare Levi’s Red patchwork culottes, a painter’s Ralph Lauren denim smock and a pair of Evisu pants made with a denim waistband and legs crafted from a silk kimono.

“Denim is a risk-adverse category, but it is a fun material and represents optimism,” he said, noting that he chose to show garments with color and mixed-media constructions to help the industry get out of its indigo habit.

Denim brands at Project New York also offered a first look at their F/W 20-21 collections, which touched on several common themes like color, comfort and conscious products.

Here’s a look at some of the brand news from the show.

Sustainability

Liverpool made its first major leap into sustainability. The brand debuted the Eco collection, a line of 100 percent organic cotton denim that uses just one glass of water to produce a pair of jeans. Laser finishing, vegetable dye, and recycled hardware and paper tags are among the ingredients that form what the brand calls a “5.0 sustainable product.”

Jeans in Liverpool’s F/W 20-21 collection will also feature a QR code that shoppers can scan to trace the product’s entire supply chain.

Sustainability is part of DL1961’s DNA, but the brand is going a step further for fall with the Better by DL, a three-piece denim collection that has minimal wash details, recycled hardware and no rivets, allowing for easier recycling at the end of the garment’s life. The men’s line includes a button-down denim shirt, a jean jacket and jeans.

Fidelity Denim previewed its new sister brand, Modern America. The men’s and women’s line has an eco-friendly focus, using all U.S.-grown cotton, recycled trims and just one liter of water in its washing processes.

Mavi continued to tout its All Blue collection, which launches at retail this spring. The F/W 20-21 collection features additional jeans styles made with organic and recycled materials and sustainable wash techniques. Mavi also introduced its Feather Blue line of jeans made with Tencel and recycled cotton.

Colors

There’s more to denim than indigo. With colors like cozy grays, retro tans and military-inspired greens on the upswing across men’s fashion, the F/W 20-21 season is proving to be an opportunity for denim brands to expand their color range.

Paige’s Eco Evolution line debuted in December with three colors—brushed nickel, blue and khaki—and the brand will introduce olive and brown for F/W 20-21. Premium denim brand Mavi featured a similar palette with camouflage-inspired tones such as army green and khaki, gray and navy.

Though Edwin has a customer that remains loyal to its Japanese selvedge heritage, the brand is ramping up its line of stretch twill bottoms with a total of seven colorways for F/W 20-21.

Color and knit denim have been points of differentiation for DL1961’s men’s business. For F/W 20-21, the brand is combining the two, offering 10 colors of its knit denim jeans in a slim straight fit, and for the first time, the Nick slim, DL1961’s second best-selling fit for men.

Meanwhile, gray washes, black and white remain some of Liverpool’s most consistent bestsellers.

Performance

The commuter is men’s wear’s new muse. With performance fabrics that have weatherproof and wrinkle-resistant properties being among WGSN’s top trends at Project, denim brands showcased versatile and comfortable garments that offer a fabric-first approach to design.

Liverpool showcased a knit suit intended to allow travelers to effortlessly move from plane to boardroom. Along those same lines, the brand also highlighted its “dressed-up” jogger, a knit pant that that mimics the look of trousers with belt loops, welt back pockets and a zip fly with a button closure.

More to love

Denim-first brands are rounding out their collections with sportswear.

Paige is expanding its men’s lifestyle collection and will focus on shirting. The F/W 20-21 collection will see button-downs and jackets brimming with Western influences, including plaid and cactus prints and jackets with contrast stitching.

Designing with lifestyle in mind, Liverpool, a brand predominantly known for its premium denim at an affordable price, will also launch a line of knit sweaters for the new season.

And this year, 7 For All Mankind’s global creative director Simon James Spurr is refreshing the brand for its 20th anniversary with a new collection of elevated ready-to-wear, including leather and suede jackets.

Nostalgic washes

As 7 For All Mankind celebrates 20 years, the brand looks back on its classic washes. Its original New York light, medium and dark washes set the foundation for new collections.

Nostalgia is also a common theme for Paige, which boasted its vintage authentic wash fabrics. Designed with performance stretch denim that mimics the look of vintage denim, the styles infuse more comfort into favorite looks of the past.

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