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Trim Suppliers Introduce a New Level of Conscious Creativity

Whereas a new season is typically a time for trim manufacturers to introduce novelties that spark ideas and creativity, trim makers expect to see a greater demand for timeless and sustainable designs—qualities that will resonate with the post-pandemic consumer.

Companies, however, have been preparing for this new eco-mindset as denim brands increasingly seek components that will round-out their sustainable product lines.

The F/W 21-22 season, according to Gloria Crivellaro, Ribbontex export sales manager, will be an opportunity for companies to bring a “breath of freshness and new stimuli” to a market that has been severely compromised by the sudden and unexpected pause in business brought on by the coronavirus. “Our industry, in general, is likely to be changed by the impact of this very difficult time, but we must continue to focus on what has always distinguished us,” she said.

To do that, Ribbontex will embrace quality, new ideas and sustainable concepts that build on the company’s commitments to use 100 percent renewable energy by the end of 2020. “We constantly work on the evolution of production processes to make them more sustainable by using raw materials with less environmental impact, by banning solvent inks from prints and replacing them with water-based inks,” Crivellaro said. “Ribbontex has always had an eye on ethical and sustainability aspects.”

As some markets begin to restart, trim suppliers have received requests for new developments from customers, primarily for sustainable products.

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“Given our current crisis, it is obvious that sustainability is not just an option—it is a duty,” said Dorlet president Thibault Greuzat.

This season, Dorlet is doubling down on its efforts to green the trims supply chain by offering more sustainable solutions and making it a mission to convince clients to choose environmentally friendly alternatives for their hardware. The German company is nurturing this eco-mindset with a four-prong strategy that includes a coloring process that reduces water, electricity and chemical consumption, and a line of raw material trims, which relies on an accelerated oxidation process to achieve desired colors.

Dorlet is also finding new circular opportunities such as introducing buttons made from recycled plastic bottles and fishing wire. Along with developing the Diabolo, a 100 percent reusable, removable and recyclable jean button with no chemicals, Dorlet’s Wild Journey collection features items made with more than 25 percent post-consumer waste collected close to its factory.

And following one client’s challenge to create a 100 percent biodegradable button, Greuzat said Dorlet will roll out a new version this season made of 100 percent wood sourced from the forest in the Jura Mountains. The new “Made in France” button gives an authentic and natural look to the jeans, he added.

Over the past five years, sustainability has become a larger part of Cadica’s collections, said company sales and marketing executive Serena Cavallerini. The Italian company’s Ethical Choice collection is based on materials that are no-waste, recycled, recyclable, biodegradable and organic. These design innovations, or “modern solutions” as Cavallerini described, resonate with Cadica’s clients across the board.

“Cadica works with different target customers and the development requests are always so various in terms of materials, creativity and research, but we highlight the strong demand of sustainable projects from our market,” she said.

Sustainability will be one of the keywords Ribbontex’s collection, Crivellaro said. The Italian company places a spotlight this season on recyclable products, 100 percent recycled tapes and chains and products that re-use parts such as polyester tapes. Continuous R&D investment, she added, allows the company to experiment with new solutions materials like a new tape made of eco-friendly cotton.

Trim makers expect to see a greater demand for classic and sustainable designs—qualities that will resonate with the post-pandemic consumer.
Cadica George Chinsee for Rivet

Turteks Etiket A.S. has built sustainable items into its seasonal collections over the last four years. Its sustainable line provides customers with upwards of 40 sustainable material options for labeling—from water-based heat transfers to recycled materials. For F/W 21-22, highlights include: corn-based leather, hemp, recycled rubber from car tires, recycled polyester felts, organically-dyed soft Tyvex and labels produced from leftover leather.

Though every brand has its own story to tell, and its own budget to work with, Liana Çiprut, Turteks Etiket managing partner, said the most preferred material continues to be leather, which the company offers chrome-free and organic.

“We don’t use water in our washings anymore,” Çiprut said, noting that Turteks generally produces clean labels or only uses dry-out effects to give more worn visuals. “We like to show real leathers in a raw format without the dyes—it’s a more organic and original way.

For Avery Dennison, client requests skew sustainable with companies requesting plastic-free packaging solutions, recycled yarn labels and recycled papers.

This year, Avery Dennison distilled its 2025 sustainability goals into three main objectives: to advance the circular economy, reduce environmental impact, and be a force for good. “Our approach to these goals is embedded in the business, so can be seen in many ways, from innovating with our customers to how we manage our supply chain to giving back to communities,” said Amy Lee, Avery Dennison senior manager of global trends and insight for apparel.

The company is also seeing an increasing demand for certifications and lifecycle analysis of products that can subsequently be communicated to the consumer. “This is perhaps in response to industry-wide greenwashing, and consumers are holding brands accountable for the claims that they make,” Lee said.

Style points

In a sea of blue, jeans brands rely on trims to help visually express their creative vision for the season.

The ’70s is a starting point for Cadica’s vintage-inspired trims, which Cavallerini said will open the category up to a new soulful and creative spirit. The company also anticipates seeing another side of streetwear with technical trims and color blocked designs that add modernity to the category. Black, white, coral and blue will dominate.

Pulling inspiration from athleisure, Riri Group’s new items are painted bright red and light blue. Trims are intended to be seen, while contrasting materials and finishes are used throughout to add dimension, said Nantas Montonati, the company’s group sales and marketing director.

Avery Dennison is swayed by sport too, but not the traditional kind. “In light of global communities being forced into isolation, digital will continue to be a prevailing theme for some time, and we expect that virtual-only fashion, e-sports and interactive experiences such as augmented reality will move into the mainstream,” Lee said.

Trim makers expect to see a greater demand for classic and sustainable designs—qualities that will resonate with the post-pandemic consumer.
Cadica George Chinsee for Rivet

Therefore, expect to see colors and patterns that look vibrant on screen to become increasingly important for branding and e-commerce. In terms of surface effects, she said a focus on safety may bring reflective and functional properties into the spotlight, while tactile embellishments such as chenille, jacron and undyed, recycled materials will add a human element and satisfy the touch crisis that months of social distancing is creating.

Eco-friendly finishes are definitely one of the most sought after themes now and in future trends, said Terri Limbach, Scovill Fasteners marketing and communications manager. “We also have seen customer designs moving towards a more traditional and classic look,” she said.

As consumers seek high-quality, timeless garments, Dorlet anticipates brands will revisit tried-and-true hardware. “For this season, an authentic silver made on stainless steel base and raw copper will be our top finishing,” Greuzat said.

Hand-finished labels—be it waxed, sanded or painted—complement the growing buzz around craft and upcycled denim. Rather than leave materials in their original state, Turtek’s Çiprut said the trend calls for design details that manipulate and change the structure of materials. The company dyes Tyvek, jacron and leathers with organic dyes. It also uses customers’ leftover denim fabrics to make new labels.

“When it is handmade, it is more unique and precious,” she said.

New opportunities

Looking outside of men’s and women’s categories, Scovill is introducing Plasma Plastic Snaps, a range of closures ideal for children’s wear and other sensitive applications that require a plastic snap.

“There are no metal components which won’t set off a needle detection alert during production as well as preventing any metal allergy issues,” said Limbach. The snap has two snap actions, providing customers with the perfect grip, she added.

As the outdoor sector becomes more and more strategic for Riri Group, the company has started strengthening its position by presenting products mainly characterized by performance, resistance and durability. “This comes along with a progressive positioning within the technical field,” Montonati added.

Riri’s flagship product for this category is the Storm Evo, a zip characterized by high waterproofing and airtightness performance levels, that also offers brands the opportunity to customize the tape and chain. It’s a product that “successfully combines aesthetics and functionality,” Montonati said.

“This collection is mainly [designed to meet those requests from our clients asking for performance-driven] yet stylish products,” he continued. “We’ve noticed a high and rising demand of smart and refined zippers and buttons able to greatly survive extreme conditions. Our intention is to create more technical products that do not give up on beauty and aesthetic.”

Technology and sustainability are also merging to create new opportunities in the trims category. Avery Dennison’s partnership with Hong Kong-based upcycling brand The R Collective is one example of how the company plans to emphasize circularity and technology this season.

In May, The R Collective introduced a line of upcycled Levi’s jeans with labels by Avery Dennison featuring QR codes that connect the consumer to information about conscious wash care. Items in the collection also showcased trim materials such as dissolvable paper, vegan leather alternatives like jacron and recycled yarns for woven labels and printed fabric labels, Lee said.

Digital transformation is also a huge driver, she added, especially now with the pandemic impacting how the company engages with brands and businesses. “We believe that this shift will come into play even faster,” Lee said. “RFID, transparency, brand protection and content engagement are some of the key ways in which digital triggers can minimize waste and drive positive change in the supply chain.”

Read more about F/W 21-22 season innovations in Rivet’s “In Season: F/W 21-22 Denim and Trims Look Book.”