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Mills Work to Elevate Denim’s Authentic Look for Spring/Summer 2022

COVID-19 recovery is on the horizon but the pandemic's impact on sustainability, retail, product development and consumer buying patterns means the denim industry must evolve. Join Rivet on April 20th at 11 am ET for the COVID, One Year Later roundtable.

Denim Première Vision’s first digital event offered mills the opportunity to highlight their key concepts and trends for Spring/Summer 2022 fabrics to a global audience. Though the industry is apart physically, mills share a common goal to reintroduce consumers to the original qualities that make denim beloved, but in more responsible and enhanced ways.

For Naveena Denim Mills, S/S ’22 is a time to design a better future, which it set out to do with Hollistic Denim, a collection that combines the latest sustainable technologies from partners like Proser Chemicals, Jeanologia, Tencel, Roica and CiClo.

“At Naveena, we constantly ask ourselves how we can create lasting social and environmental impact while designing new products and services for the market,” said Aydan Tuzun, Naveena executive director of global sales and marketing. Hollistic Denim is based on amplifying the mill’s positive impact, mainly by producing sustainable products that are relevant to current marketing realities—not just as showpieces, she added.

At the core of the collection is a suite of sustainable materials such as organic cotton and post-consumer waste and post-industrial waste cotton that is shredded and recycled in Naveena’s in-house unit. Hemp and Tencel each bring their own set of unique sustainable and aesthetic qualities. Meanwhile, the mill replaces polyester with CiClo, which allows plastic-based fibers like polyester to degrade similarly to a natural fiber and substitutes elastane with Roica’s Cradle-to-Cradle certified degradable fiber.

The fibers are combined with Naveena’s sustainable dye process Horizon that uses up to 80 percent less water and up to 50 percent less energy than traditional dye processes. Additionally, Holistic Denim provides laser-sensitive products with no back-staining and enhanced crocking, with 40 percent improved EMI score in garment washing.

Spanish denim mill Evlox says its sustainable processes begin with sourcing locally grown cotton. The company noted that 80 percent of its cotton comes from Spain. It also uses sustainable fibers including hemp, linen, recycled polyester and biodegradable elastane, and features up to 35 percent pre- and post-consumer waste materials. For dyeing and finishing, it focuses on eco-friendly laser technologies that save water and use 50 percent fewer resources. Currently, 62 percent of Evlox’s collection is sustainable.

Turkish denim manufacturer Orta presented its initiatives for better transparency, pledging that it “is always open.” Its new Denim Route, inspired by the historical Silk Road that was used to facilitate trade between the East and West, provides a supplier map detailing the regions from which it sources cotton, dyestuff, chemicals and various fibers. The route complements its other transparency initiatives such as the Orta Blu App and its Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) tool.

Sedef Uncu Aki, director at Orta, presented these offerings in the hopes that it will inspire others in the denim supply chain to adopt transparency initiatives. She states that sharing insight into energy usage and carbon emissions is “not enough,” and that companies should be setting and sharing science-based targets as well so that they can continuously improve the industry as a whole.

“Information dumping is an ongoing problem and the climate crisis is becoming an important issue, but companies should really be transparent about how they’re going to reduce their impact,” she said.

The oldest denim mill in China, Advance Denim presented another first for the region: 3D Archive, Asia’s first cloud-based denim library. The library showcases its range of denim to customers across the globe.

The company also presented its innovations in sustainability, including its big box dyeing process. By shrinking the 17 wash boxes and dye boxes down to just one “big box,” the company is able to reduce water consumption by 85 percent, water waste by 99 percent, energy usage by 25 percent and chemical consumption by 35 percent.

Advance also showcased its use of cottonized hemp in a collection that spanned jeans, jackets and shirting  and contains between 18 and 22 percent hemp. Complementing its cottonized hemp line is its Wafer Recycled collection, a “perfect combination of function and sustainability” that uses recycled polyester from pre- and post-consumer waste without sacrificing performance. It also cuts energy usage by 59 percent and lowers CO2 emissions by 32 percent compared to regular polyester. The collection features jeans and denim jackets between 8 oz. and 11 oz. and contains anywhere from 8-23 percent Wafer material.

The mill also showcased Bulky-Fix, its latest patented technology that provides a bulky effect reminiscent of denim from the 1960s. Fabrics range from 10 oz. and 13 oz., and are available in comfort stretch or rigid constructions.

Odak Tekstil managing director Sener Bucuk said the company’s S/S ’22 collection is the most sustainable collection to date, featuring responsible fibers and more advanced technologies in its dyeing and finishing facilities to reduce its overall impact on climate change.

The collection is divided into four concepts: Purist, Naturalist, Urbanist and Alchemist. In Purist, the focus is on simple rigid fabrics made with 100 percent BCI cotton, organic cotton or recycled cotton as well as pure indigo shades. Naturalist showcases natural fibers like Tencel, linen and hemp, which Bucuk said will become more important in future seasons. “Innovation is key and it’s exciting to see what the future brings,” he said.

In Urbanist, Odak examined the needs of city dwellers and how denim is becoming a large part of their workwear wardrobes. The result is everyday jeans with comfort stretch and new “urban” colors that can be thrown on with a pair of stylish sneakers. The focus shifts to fabrics with high elasticity in Alchmeist. The twist, however, is achieving these power stretch attributes through sustainable chemistry and fibers.

Stretch is a key part in Artistic Fabric Mills’ (AFM) collection for S/S ’22. The vertical denim manufacturer presented Flexy, a line of lightweight fabrics with 55-85 percent stretch with low compression. Smooth textures and subtle slub characters are offered throughout the range of dark indigo fabrics.

Meanwhile, AFM’s Bold collection delivers new options for men’s denim to achieve a masculine look for a skinny fit. The Elton, a 11.5 oz. fabric, has a rigid appearance, but offers super stretch qualities with a visible slub, prevalent twill and a unique green cast.

The mill shows its sustainable and creative sides in Undone, a collection that includes a 10 oz. fabrics made with zero virgin cotton and zero dyeing. The fabric’s blueish-gray shade comes from the color of its recycled contents.

Mills highlighted their key concepts and trends for Spring/Summer 2022 fabrics at Denim Première Vision's first digital event.

Artistic Fabric Mills

For Bossa’s S/S ’22 collection, designer Piero Turk sourced inspiration from culture, social movements and fashion trends and applied them to four concepts for denim: Heritage, Dark Side, Sweet Home and Nature Breath.

In Heritage, Turk said Bossa revisited the history of denim and tried to develop qualities that have a strong authentic look with a “modern soul,” including flexibility, comfort and recovery. Technologies like Bossa’s Everfit and Forever Fresh allow for extra wear between washes, meaning jeans stay cleaner for longer and do not lose their shape after being worn.

In Dark Side, Bossa explored how black denim can be an alternative to blue denim. New technologies and fiber blends create colors that can fade easily or stay black forever, Turk said.

Sweet Home, meanwhile, speaks to the demand for at-home fashion with relaxed, soft and comfortable hand feel. “Home is where you go to relax and feel safe,” Turk said, adding that the collection aims to recreate those qualities in denim. Bossa achieves this with stretch fabrics that have an authentic denim look. Tencel-blended denim provides a soft touch, while power stretch fabrics are updated with degradable elastane.

Bossa takes inspiration from nature for Nature Breath, particularly the colors used throughout the concept. The collection offers PFD stretch fabrics—some with a leather-like coating—and natural color hemp denim.

Textile manufacturer Sharabati Denim showcased its sustainable fabric offering consisting of Tencel, modal, hemp and linen. The company presented a collection of trend-driven styles that are easily interchangeable between genders as well as home and office—a current requirement for homebound consumers.

The collection features genderless styles that offer “twinning” capabilities in the form of colored denim jackets with boxy silhouettes, two-toned denim and acid-wash skinny jeans. Technical elements include thermo-regulating Coolmax technology to improve comfort and long-lasting wear.

The company also celebrated its circular production methods, including the use of pre-consumer recycled cotton, post-consumer recycled polyester, and organic cotton and natural fiber. It uses water-saving indigo dye and denim finishing processes, as well as laser-friendly indigo colors.

Italian denim developer PG Denim experimented with glitter and metallic finishing techniques that nod to founder Paolo Gnutti’s affinity for motorcycles. Jeans in the Garage Denim line feature tie-dye and animal print effects in a palette of black and rust hues.

In line with the return of disco styling, PG’s Studio 54 collection is equally flashy, featuring bright green and coral denims with a shiny coating. The company continued to play with textures in its Velvet Denim range, which merges plush fabrics with silver hardware and striped pattern overlays.

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