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Recycled and Regenerated Fibers Take Center Stage at Denim PV

Denim Première Vision in Milan was home to new circular concepts, efficiency-driving technologies and fashion to entice consumers back to the traditional fabric. 

Mills are increasingly using their waste in the production of new fabrics for Spring/Summer 2024.

Isko introduced Ctrl+Z, a range of fabrics made entirely from recycled and regenerated fibers. Named after the computer shortcut to undo, the fabrics are constructed with regenerated cellulose fibers and a mix of GRS-certified recycled cotton and recycled polyester. The recycled cotton comes from post-industrial waste or textiles that are discarded in the yarn, fabric, and apparel production process. 

The Turkish mill reports that the fabric constructions look and feel identical to traditionally made denim, despite having no virgin and conventional first-generation components.

“Ctrl+Z fabrics are in fact not just better for the environment, they are also fashionable, stronger, and more durable than conventional fabrics, giving the products a longer lifespan,” Isko stated. “Ctrl+Z fabrics outperform the market’s traditional and recycled denim products in combined abrasion, tear and tensile strength meaning consumers can love their favorite denim longer while supporting a low-impact lifestyle.”

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The project reaffirms the mill’s commitment to reducing its use of first-generation conventional materials and its end goal of eliminating virgin fibers. Isko’s goal is to have all fabrics follow Ctrl+Z’s regenerative and recycled requirements in one year. The mill is currently in the process of procuring waste.

Isko

With Revive, Azgard-9 is recycling its waste and using it to produce new fabrics. Whereas the Pakistani mill’s previous collections had up to 20 percent recycled content in fabric constructions, it now offers up to 40 percent, said Mian Farrukh Mehmood, Azgard-9’s head of product development, denim division. By adding no new dye, the fabrics have zero liquid discharge.

Reducing waste is one of the benefits of Itema Group’s iSaver technology. The Italian loom manufacturer’s iSaver R9500-2denim rapier machine eliminates the waste selvedge on the fabric’s left-hand side by inserting the weft without the need for additional yarns. This money-saving technology significantly reduces raw materials and water wastage, the company stated. 

The loom is already used by major denim manufacturers including Isko, Prosperity Textiles in China and Sharabati Denim in Egypt. To date, Itema estimates that iSaver devices are responsible for an average annual savings of 600 tons of cotton and 12 billion liters of water. From an economic perspective, the company reports an average of 2,000 euros (approximately $2,090) per loom per year can be saved.

“We are proud to collaborate with the industry’s most important leaders, meaning that the scope of our innovations grows in concert with their high manufacturing capabilities,” said Ugo Ghilardi, Itema Group CEO. “Through these partnerships we can truly influence the market by bringing sustainability to the heart of the supply chain, a goal shared by all those who choose to invest in our technologies to make a difference, optimizing the production and preserving the resources and the planet.” 

Calik’s ongoing project with finishing technology firm Jeanologia is an example of how brands are designing to reduce waste. 

Phygital 2.0 is a range of garments made with seven laser-friendly fabrics by Calik digitally designed with Jeanologia’s eDesigner software. The purpose of the collection is to show brands how they can eliminate sample waste by choosing fabrics that are compatible with the finishing technologies they wish to use, using eco-friendly washes that have a green EIM score and designing garments digitally.

Phygital 2.0

Officina39 has played the long game for Recycrom, the patent recycled dyestuff it launched in 2016. The dye is obtained through an upcycling process that involves textile fibers from used clothing and manufacturing waste for dyeing and printing applications. The company has spent years educating designers about the technology, urging them out of the “old ways,” said Andrea Venier, Officina39 managing director. 

Collaborations and concept collections, like Officina39’s latest with Orta, help bring the science of Recycrom to life. The Italian company teamed with the Turkish denim mill to create 100 percent recycled garments that have a washed-down authentic denim appearance. Instead of indigo, which would require multiple bleachings to achieve the vintage effect, the recycled PFD fabrics are treated with Recycrom and Officina39 waterless finishing technologies.

“We’re trying to show the luxury market a new approach,” Venier said.

Those efforts are paying off. In 2022, materials science brand Pangaia launched Re-Color, a range of loungewear that used Recycrom to achieve its pastel hues, and Stella McCartney used the dyestuff for lilac flare jeans. 

Multifaceted collections were a main driver at the show. 

Indigo Textile Ltd. presented a seven-part collection that offered solutions for super soft denim with velvety handles, comfortable shaping fabrics, nostalgic constructions geared toward Gen Z consumers and no-fade reactive yarn dyes that maintain black stonewash effects. Geometric designs, textures and decorative weaves and a range of colors spanning fierce reds to peaceful pastels met the demand for eye-catching trend-driven concepts. 

Though Denim Première Vision’s trend team named dirty pastels a key trend for S/S ’24, it is not the desired effect for indigo-dyed garments, according to Tugba Taskaya of Island Denim. Known for its customizable plaid and check shirting, Island Denim uses a special process to ensure that indigo portions of the pattern do not bleed or dirty other colors.  

Recycled materials are just part of Isko’s seasonal story. Mineral colors, comfort fits, rigid structures and stretch are all important components of this new collection that follows the demand for second-hand looks, voluminous 3D designs and textured fabrics. 

The mill continued its partnership with Paolo Gnutti, founder of PG Denim. Like the first version of Isko Luxury by PG Denim collection launched in May, the creative concept serves as a tool kit for the luxury denim market. 

By proposing velvet-like flocking, athleisure-inspired constructions, real silver threads in the weft and fancy weaves, Gnutti is speaking the same language as labels like Diesel, MSGM and Dsquared2 which have been sending impactful pieces down their runways. The garments were even the focal point of a flash mob that broke into a choreographed dance routine during the show’s cocktail party.

However, the Isko Luxury by PG Denim collection also included items geared to true denim heads like vintage-inspired garments based on jeans that are unearthed in mines. The level of research, detailed laser work and hand finishing that goes into the pieces make it a premium product, Gnutti said.

Italian mill Pure Denim is taking a new approach to durability. It presented the first fabric made with Xlance, an “eco elastomer” that promises long-lasting sustainable stretch. Previously used in workwear, swimwear and shirting, Xlance enhances fabrics with “excellent resistance” to aggressive chemical agents, bleaching, ozone fading, stonewashing and distressing.

The additive is part of Pure Denim’s Infinity collection which includes fabrics made with Good Earth Cotton, an Australian regenerative farming program and Smart Indigo that uses no hazardous chemicals. The entire collection utilizes FibreTrace’s digital transparency technology.

Durability was part of Evlox’s sustainable messaging. “Made to last” was the tagline for its Icon collection of vintage-inspired fabrics. The fabrics are distinguished by irregularities, thick wefts and slubs. Evlox also showcased Vintage 175, a line of dark indigo 100 percent cotton fabrics that will wear down naturally. For brands that wish for a more washed look, Evolx showcased DryStone, ready-to-use fabrics that require no washing.

With a menu of ingredients that span organic cotton to biodegradable elastane, the Spanish mill described its S/S ’24 collection as being 100 percent sustainable. GRS-certified recycled cotton is a key component as well, making up a minimum of 30 percent of each fabric in its Renim Plus collection and a minimum of 20 percent of fabrics in its Reorg collection which blends it with organic cotton. 

Appealing to the premium labels that Denim Première Vision attracts, Evlox presented fabric ranges made with hemp, bamboo and linen—touting each fiber’s environmental and performance benefits. 

The hypoallergenic, antibacterial, odor protection, UV protection and moisture-wicking properties of fabrics made with up to 34 percent of “high quality” bamboo were highlighted. The Linum collection, a range of fabrics that contain up to 42 percent linen, offered moisture management and durable insulating properties. The cottonized hemp collection provided abrasion-resistant and durability benefits.

Evlox’s Bamboo collection

Linen was also part of Foison Textile’s S/S ’24 collection. Fiona de Maat, the company’s EU business director, said blends with the flax fiber, along with hemp and Tencel are in high demand for the season. One of the standout fabrics, she said, is a heavy 11.8 oz. fabric with a marble look that is made with 70 percent cotton and 30 percent Tencel.

Whereas women’s and men’s fabrics were once categorized by fabric weights and levels of stretch, de Maat said they are evening out. “Men’s are using more stretch, while women’s is getting into chunkier more masculine fabrics,” she said. 

Both markets are showing interest in knit denim and Foison’s piece dyed version that has garment dyed look after washing. In general, de Maat said denim brands are searching for something new to offer their customers outside the standard five-pocket blue jean. 

For S/S ’24, Foison is pitching fabrics with woven Lurex, which brands can wash down to customize the level of shine as well as pearly coatings and Y2K-inspired colors. The mill adds texture to jacquard denim by mechanically punching the surface of fabrics before washing, which help unfurl threads. 

The goal, she added, is to make something that visually stand outs on a consumers’ computer or phone screen.  

E-commerce’s growing share of denim sales is weighing on companies.   

Turkish mill Tüsa Denim presented Re-Shape, a range of fabrics that can each fit up to three sizes. The mill specifically called it out as a solution for online sales and return on its label. Ever-Fit, Azgard-9’s “one size fits all” fabric, is available in denim and a PFD version.

The rise of online shopping is driving Cadica to invest more in packaging like mailers. The Italian trim maker, which has been on an acquisition spree as of late, said denim brands like 7 For All Mankind account for 10 percent of its total business. Woven labels made with natural materials, FSC-certified paper tags and tags made with seed paper are some of the leading materials this season for the category.