Denim brands at Selvedge Run in Berlin this week embraced the past and future with Spring/Summer 2020 and seasonless collections focused on wearable heritage designs, fine fabrics and distinctive details that complemented rich brand stories.
“Over the first two days [of the show] we received extremely positive feedback, not only from our exhibitors but also our international visitors,” said Shane Brandenburg, Selvedge Run project manager. “That is showing us that we’re on the right path and Selvedge Run will continue to expand in this direction in the future.”
From Los Angeles, Krammer & Stoudt made its Selvedge Run debut by introducing its first range of “Made in USA” denim. The brand launched five years ago on the premise of creating U.S. manufactured men’s wear that combines founder Mike Rubin’s West Coast roots with the coolness and precision of New York City. However, reality set in, Rubin said, and the cost of maintaining a full seasonal collection was exhaustive. Denim, he added, seemed like the best way to offer a seasonless collection. And it also allows him to tap into his interest in traditional workwear.
The men’s denim collection is made with 100 percent cotton fabrics from Mount Vernon Mill in Georgia and is manufactured by LC King Mfg. in Tennessee in black and indigo. The styles, Rubin noted, are designed to “elevate” workwear into fashion. Garments include a denim jacket with a knit shawl collar, a denim bus driver jacket based on a 1950’s silhouette, a zip-front denim vest and three bottoms—a cut based on a 501 fit, a jean with a jogger waistband and a patch pocket pant that’s a nod to Carhartt.
Rubin also presented a range of hand-painted black denim that pays homage to California’s Day-Glo from the ’70s. Neon pink and green nylon bags and bucket hats—some adorned with marijuana leaf patches—rounded out the line and complemented a set of surf boards he has designed with New Jersey-based surf board brand Rozbern. The painting, Rubin added, can be customized for retailers.
Captain Santors channeled surf culture with Hawaiian print button-down shirts. The brand uses fabrics like selvedge denim, cotton in natural idaco made in Japan, Irish and Scottish wools, and Italian and English cottons and hemp to tell its story based on the fisherman heritage of its Southern Italy home base. New additions for Spring/Summer 2020 include jackets with sailor collars and chambray shirt dresses.
Hen’s Teeth, a “Made in Italy” brand brought its unique concept to Selvedge Run. The line launched two years ago with kits that included one pair of jeans, a sweater, bandana and a pair of socks. The brand’s goal was to slowly build a wardrobe of timeless essentials. The brand has since launched a women’s kit and added more pieces to the collection. New items for 2020 include a striped chambray dress and denim circle skirts for women, and vests and new T-shirt designs–including more surf motifs—for men.
Spanish label Companion Denim introduced subtle novelties to its collection of raw and selvedge men’s denim. The brand, which has grown from a being a one-man show founded by Iu Franquesa to a team of eight in just five years, is handcrafted in Barcelona and sources fabrics only from Italy, Japan and the U.S. New items included a natural jean jacket with leather Western details and jeans with Hawaiian floral and pin-up fabric lining. The brand is also introducing a line of silk and cotton blend T-shirts for a luxury take on the casual item.
Japanese denim brand Fullcount & Co. added basic sweats to its core range of selvedge jeans and jackets. The washed-down tops features low-key distressing like hoodies with frayed seams.
Japanese stalwart Pure Blue Japan updated its assortment with novelty summer jacquards, including camouflage shorts and bandana print button-down shirts. Hunting shorts and pants in olive and camel were also introduced, as well as hemp shorts made with 60 percent cotton and 40 percent and indigo pinstriped shorts and pants. For traditionalists, the brand offered a double black sashiko tapered jeans, 14-ounce blue grey and bright blue slim tapered jeans and an 18-ounce super rough denim jean.
Wearable heritage is the foundation for Mr. Erwin, a new men’s wear brand from Germany. The brand offers a tight range of timeless men’s pieces like denim over shirts, indigo-dyed T-shirts and Harrington jackets with the heritage details that typically get eliminated to make pieces more commercial and cheaper. Chinos are outfitted with coin pockets and suspender buttons. Meanwhile, military-inspired trousers have adjustable hems that can be worn traditional or cinched as joggers.
It’s this mash-up of old and new that Mark McGuire, Mr. Edwin’s brand and sales agent, said appeals to the 30-and-over crowd of men who appreciate the special details, but want to be able to wear it to work. And for retailers, McGuire says they get the benefit of the brand founder’s long-standing relationships with denim manufacturers and mills. A portion of the collection is always in stock and offered at a lower cost. For example, McGuire said a garment like its 169-euro ($189) denim shirt would cost another brand using the same manufacturer 190 euros ($213).
The Workers Club, a four-year-old brand from Oxfordshire, U.K. by husband and wife team Adam and Charlotte Cameron, combines their different perspectives of fashion. The collection blends Adam’s experience working for British heritage brands like Burberry and Dunhill with the sensibility and style of Charlotte’s High Street background. The result is a men’s collection that prioritizes wearable garments made with premium fabrics from Italy, England and Japan.
While the majority of the line is manufactured in England, Adam, a Japanese denim aficionado, chose Japan to produce the brand’s denim line. “Jeans are a passion of mine. I was adamant that they be made in Japan, which I consider the mecca of denim,” he said. Consisting of just two fits—slim and straight—the jeans go through the same laundry that brands like Denham the Jeanmaker uses. “He’s a wizard,” Cameron said about the launderer.
And as any denim head knows, selvedge denim requires special care. The Workers Club teamed with fellow-U.K. brand Norfolk Natural Living, a line of natural, non-toxic, eco-friendly garment and homecare products, for a co-branded denim wash. Formulated with The Workers Club raw and selvedge denim in mind, the wash preserves color, refreshes fiber and helps the jeans retain a comfortable fit. At Selvedge Run, Norfolk Natural Living also presented denim refresher mist and a brand-new denim repair kit, complete with replacement buttons, thread and needles.