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Copen United’s Pocketing Enhances Denim Inside and Out

Rivet’s 2021 winter issue has dropped! This in-depth issue examines the steps the global denim industry is taking to minimize its impact on the environment, from implementing zero waste production and design processes to establishing greenhouse gas emissions goals aligned with the Paris Agreement.

Pockets, linings and waistbands might not be the first things a company considers when creating a fashion denim or apparel brand, but those elements hold more power than one might think.

First, they offer the brand a point of fashion, added value and brand identity in a sea of sameness, both in logos, materials and prints. Second, if there’s one thing the industry learned during the global pandemic and all the massive disruptions that ensued, is that a brand is only as strong as the weakest link in the supply chain. With fashion elements sourced and manufactured around the world, even the smallest inside element is equally important to keep the wheels turning toward a finished product. And third, even when fashion dictates a distressed or torn style on the outside, those pockets and linings must still be of highest quality to maintain integrity and functionality. Nothing says cheap quality like pockets with holes, pills or rips.

It is for that reason that brands can’t scrimp on the inner details of their garments, and why 75-year-old company Copen United Limited is poised to weather the perfect storm that has hit the fashion industry. Whether supply chain issues, fluctuating cotton prices or sustainability pivots, Copen has the global experience, flexibility and technical agility to help clients keep moving forward.

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Barry Emanuel Copen United Limited
Barry Emanuel, president and a principal of Copen United Limited. Courtesy

At the helm is Barry Emanuel, president and a principal of Copen United, who has been with the company almost 45 years and continues to move it forward. Today, Copen works with some of the biggest denim players in the industry—GAP, Levi’s, American Eagle, Abercrombie, VF Group, PVH, Ralph Lauren, Armani, Replay, Benetton, Lucky Brand Tommy Hilfiger, G-Star, CK, Denham, Kings Of Indigo, Pepe, True Religion, RLP and Rag & Bone, to name a few—as well casual, dressy and performance clothing for men, women and kids.

To meet brand client needs just in time, Copen has facilities and points of distribution around the globe with inventory in United States, Central America, Mexico, China, Bulgaria, Tunisia, Morocco, Spain, Pakistan and Hong Kong with feet on the ground in Vietnam, Bangladesh and India as well. Copen creates pockets in a wide breadth of styles, including basic weaves, prints, jacquards, yarn dyes, chambrays, oxfords, knitted mesh, not to mention specialized finishes including performance attributes.

“If you make a bottom, we have a pocket for you, whether its mesh for performance or knit for workwear,” said Emanuel. “We are the interior decorator of pants.”

Inside-out fashion

While pockets, waistbands and linings have traditionally been on the inside of garments, they have gained more attention lately. “I once asked a denim client during a particularly challenging time if the brand wanted to switch from its signature printed pockets to less expensive plain ones and he said no,” Emanuel said. “He wanted to maintain that point of brand identity differentiation.”

Beyond pockets, the patchwork craze has pushed brands to place colorful patches and linings behind artfully distressed and torn denim. Along those lines, Copen has made more than 100 different patterns for customers to order, not to mention those already in its extensive print library.While 80 percent of Copen pockets are more core, basic and traditional, 20 percent take a more fashionable  route.

Different denim buyers also place more value on what’s inside. Japanese denim fashionistas, for example, often turn a pair of jeans inside out to check the stitching, selvedge fabric and seaming. This is where the fabric and prints of the pockets really shine.

Beyond aesthetics, pockets must be comfortable, as they sit against the skin. G-Star, for example, has been using Copen’s pocketing globally for years. “Besides providing an amazing service with pre-stored quantities in our major colors, we are happy to use these good quality items in our denims,” said Laurent Herrgott, fabric and finishing manager at G-Star. “This will ensure our final customers to have a stable and comfortable to wear pocket bags close to their skin.”

No matter how fashionable or comfortable, Copen United makes sure its pockets and linings are also sustainable. “We’re the stalking horse in sustainable product, from organic to recycled poly, post-consumer, Ciclo and more,” said Emanuel.

To learn more about how Copen United Limited can enhance your brand’s pocketing and linings, click here.