2018 was a big year for Rivet.
The year marked the beginning of a new era for the publication, including the launch of Rivet 50, a list of the most influential names in the denim industry. This year also saw a complete redesign of Rivet magazine, updating the print side of Rivet with a fresh and contemporary format that reflects with the evolving denim and fashion industries.
It was a big year for denim, too, and many of our top stories dealt with high-profile collaborations, advancements in denim production and, of course, the latest denim trends.
Here are the most-read stories on Rivet during 2018:
The fall edition of Bluezone was all about the latest technological advancements and innovations being made throughout the industry. Hoping to spur a more optimistic attitude toward the future of denim, Bluezone’s creative consultant, Tilmann Wröbel, led attendees through a tour of exhibits celebrating denim activism, including recycled fabrics, laser finishing and even indigo foam dyeing.
In September, Ralph Lauren held a fashion show for its 50th-anniversary collection. With a guest list that included Oprah and Hillary Clinton, Ralph Lauren put the collection forward as “an homage to the designer’s signature timeworn fabrics, collegiate details and Western styling.” The best pieces were a hand-made buffalo leather vest, a patchwork gown and the Barrick jacket—a garment that took over 170 hours to complete—and most of that was just for the embroidery.
Kith’s third fashion show, held in New York during Fashion Week, was a convincing display of just how far streetwear has come. It was also an example of streetwear’s complete comfort with collaboration. The show featured an entire section devoted to Kith collaborations with brands like Levi’s, New Balance and Ugg. However, Kith’s collaborations with Versace, Tommy Hilfiger and Greg Lauren were each given the main stage. Overall, the collections were logo-driven and worked to infuse a streetwear ethos into the classic brands.
Christine Rucci is working to bring apparel manufacturing back to the garment district in New York City and she thinks denim is the perfect fabric to get things back on track. The granddaughter of a seamstress that worked during the heyday of the garment district, a period lasting until the 60’s when the area clothed most American families, Rucci is working with industry groups to give apparel makers a fighting chance in the Big Apple.
Denim was a popular sight during Fashion Week in London, Paris and Milan. Alexa Chung, Toga and House of Holland brought their best denim to London, including a fetching denim jumpsuit with contrast stitching brought out by the House of Holland. Milan was all about oversized fits and excess, mirroring trends from the ’70s and ’80s and fashion shows in Paris combined denim with an eclectic blend of other fabrics like tweed, tulle, lace and silk.
Ever since athleisure took over the apparel world, denim designers have looked for new ways to compete in the world of comfort—and the first step was to update denim with materials that increase its performance. Cordura, Lenzing and the Artistic Milliners did just that with “SuperCharged Noir,” a collection of black denim made with Cordura and Tencel fibers.
The past couple of years have been vastly important toward the advancement of women’s rights, in the workplace and otherwise. But a study done by researchers at The Pudding found that women are still getting the short end of the stick when it comes to pockets. Researchers proved what every woman already knew by measuring and recording the length, width and depth of women’s and men’s pockets from some of the top denim producers.
Fall trends were heavily affected by “logo mania” in 2018. Designers put logos front-and-center this year due to the heavy influence of streetwear and athleisure. Top examples of this year’s trends were Levi’s logo-laden denim collection, Balenciaga’s ironic denim and polyester windbreaker and Madewell’s retro, chain-stitched denim.
Fashion week in Milan featured an eclectic mix of denim that rebelled against conformity and urged experimentation. Designers seemingly competed with each other to find the most unique denim looks possible. Jeans were adorned with fringe, studs and taping. Denim overalls were paired with cutoff shorts, denim button downs and denim trench coats. Still, athleisure maintained a constant presence, especially in a collaboration between Fendi and Fila.
Behnoosh Ghaani Farashahi, a product development graduate researcher at North Carolina State University tested three different denim brands for various quality factors. He found that, outside of the priciest denim, the quality of the fabric tends to be the same between moderately expensive and cheap denim.
Neutral colors were picked by Edited as being one of the top trends to watch in 2019. This fall, brands got on that train early, featuring colors like ecru, beige and off-white in new collections. Acne Studio put the trend to work for workwear, introducing a boxy denim jacket with oversized front pockets and contrast stitching. Zadig and Voltaire released a cropped fray hem pair of skinny jeans in a bright white color known as “Judo” and Lucky Brand’s got into the mix with a white tomboy jumpsuit embroidered with flower imagery.
Warp stretch denim took center-stage in Isko’s collaboration with designer François Girbaud. The collection, “Eyether,” demonstrates the capabilities Isko’s Straight Stretch fabrication, which can be pulled lengthways, enhancing the capabilities of denim and allowing it to be used in new and inventive ways.
Outerknown, a men’s wear label founded by 11-time world champion surfer, Kelly Slater, decided to “do denim” in 2018 after swearing it would never enter into the sector. The brand, known for its sustainability, condemned the wasteful manufacturing processes behind denim’s creation but entered into the field once new techniques were developed. The collection uses organic denim sourced from Italy and Turkey and manufactured in the Saitex factory in Vietnam.
Women’s denim at Project Women’s and Stitch in Las Vegas was flush with color and variety. Spurred by the millennial generations’ known love for color, the tradeshow was awash in colorful denim fabric. Calvin Klein got in on the action with a colorful display of Americana, including cow prints and color-blocked western-style snap front shirts.
Retail analytics firm, Edited, released data showing that denim was indeed on the rise in 2018. After dipping in 2015 and 2016 due to competition from athleisure, denim assortments grew by nearly 50 percent over the last year. Other highlights include 101 percent growth for denim outerwear, year-over-year, and the introduction of flared silhouettes becoming a reliable trend going forward.
Sustainability, comfort and performance were the most important trends to follow at Munich Fabric Start in Germany this September. Designers looked to the countryside for natural inspirations while sportswear-focused trims were concocted out of recycled plastic. Another trend story, inspired by mountains and lakes, was defined by soft non-colors and feathered and frayed edges.
Levi’s reported 45 percent growth in net income during the third quarter, thanks to increased wholesale, retail and direct-to-consumer sales. It was the fourth straight quarter of growth for the denim and apparel brand and it added 65 stores company-wide over the last year. Net revenue was also up by 10 percent during the quarter.
The U.S. began to import more denim in 2018—but it didn’t come from where you might expect. China and Mexico, which traditionally export the most denim to the U.S., began losing ground to suppliers in Southeast and Central Asia and Africa. The U.S. imported 6.8 percent more blue denim apparel in the first eight months of 2018 compared to the prior year.
Denim fanatics are denim fanatics all year round and the holidays are the perfect time to buy a gift for the fanatic in your life. Some of the best picks from this list include a denim baseball cap from Polo Ralph Lauren, a denim-skinned wireless speaker and a denim watch made by Fossil.
Denim made its name by being a great workwear fabric that brought new qualities to the table that set it apart from its competitors. In 2018, mills began to look at ways to increase denim’s technical capabilities to compete against performance fabrics. Mills at Kingpins Amsterdam focused on colors, new textures and new materials. Highlights include a velvety red blazer suit from Lenzing that was made with Tencel Modal fibers.