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Denim Suppliers ‘Create Art’ With Lasers at Sourcing at Magic

In denim, lasers are good for so much more than making those trademark whiskers.

That’s the message Aztex executive director Patricia Medina is spreading through the industry.

The Mexico-based garment manufacturer works with a number of suppliers wielding laser technology in creative and sometimes unexpected ways. At Sourcing at Magic Tuesday in Las Vegas, Medina highlighted what Aztex has to offer, including innovative creations like the “Hemotion” from Spanish technology supplier Jeanologia.

Jeanologia collaborated with designer and illustrator François Girbaud to develop its latest finishing technique, resulting in the Hemotion garment whose intricacy resembles lace when observed from afar.

“They’re really creating art using lasers,” Medina said of the prints stamped onto denim to birth a distinctive 3D design.

PG Denim has also discovered how laser technology can yield a variety of different textures—and it even collected an innovation award at Premiere Vision in London recognizing one of its creations. Using solid denim with flocked fabric layered on top, the Italy-based denim weavers created what looks like an entirely new fabric distressed with lasers. The end result is a soft, velvety material bearing a unique combination of textures.

Ready Garment Technology displayed its designs which feature creative washes enhanced with lasers. Developed by director Giovanni Bruno, the dye effects are a product of his experience as a chemical engineer. His work consists of a series of unique washes, including a lavender-colored jean with a magenta tie-dye effect and a rust-colored jean with black undertones.

But it wasn’t just lasers creating unique dye effects at Sourcing at Magic. Spanish firm Tintes Egara, a family-run company that has pioneered creative coloring and finishing techniques for three generations, demonstrated natural dyes that provide a purpose beyond fashion.

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Each color emerges from a different natural dye that’s thought to produce a physical effect on the consumer.

“The body absorbs the substances placed on top of it,” Medina said. “These dyes contain natural ingredients with certain pharmaceutical effects.”

For example, the chamomile plant is often used to create yellow coloring, and when the naturally dyed clothing is thought to imbue calming effects in wearers, similar to those felt when ingesting chamomile tea or moisturizing with lotions infused with the herbal flowers.

Sustainability also fueled innovation throughout the show, often through suppliers that breathed new life into old denim. PG Denim called on companies to reimagine jeans styles that aren’t seeing success at retail. Brands including Officina +39 and RGT rose to the challenge and transformed their denim with shimmery coatings and unique distressing that spawned wholly new products, diverting perfectly useful jeans from a dead-end, landfill fate.

Similarly, Mezclarte Art calls on fashion students throughout Latin America to upcycle jeans into new creations crafted from at least 90 percent denim. The competition began in 2005 and has since been sponsored by national associations and trade shows to promote new designers and inspire creative, sustainable designs.