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Kingpins Amsterdam Preview: Color and Circular Stories

While denim heads have long lusted for rich shade of indigo and authentic wash downs, color is arguably a key emotional driver in all consumer purchases nowadays. 

Color is also a way to standout at Kingpins Amsterdam on Oct. 19-20 at SugarCity, where mills will present their Spring/Summer 2024 collections. 

“Dopamine denim dressing…yes, please,” said Zennure Danisman, Orta marketing and washing manager. “From re-wilding ourselves back into society to escaping climate anxiety, [consumers want to] feel the pleasures of joy, self-expression and control. And denim is the magic blue uplifter.”

Orta’s solution for color this season is Bio Awake, a “next-gen” collection of coatings and dyes made for a “net-zero future.” The new palette of colors and coatings ranges from bright indigo to Lego-inspired colors made of mineral-based dyes. The Turkish mill also introduces BioBrewed Black, a natural coating made from fermented wood waste.

Sunlit shades and new colors applied with G2 Flash Finish technology are highlighted in Cone’s collection. The method uses 72 percent less water compared to traditional over-dye processes.

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“Our color palette is inspired by the tropical waters of Rio, the Lazuli stone reflecting light, a sundial as a dose of happiness, and a hike with rays filtering the Sequoias trees,” said Pierette Scavuzzo, Cone Design director, about the picture Cone paints with color. “This capsule brings so many uplifting options to your S/S ’24 color story.” 

Cone Denim

AGI’s collection asks the question: How do we make classic denim more fun with an additional layer of contrast? The mill’s solution is Weft Games, a range of core denim fabrics with color weft yarns. 

“We are continuing with our popular Kaleido Denim,” said Henry Wong, AGI Denim VP, product development and marketing. “This is our color yarn-dyed denim collection made entirely with recycled water in dyeing and finishing. This process is SGS certified to use no fresh water in fabric dyeing and finishing.” 

This season Advance Denim is highlighting the work it has done on water circularity. “Advance Denim has already focused on using less water in the dye system but now the water we do use will be filtered and reused in our closed loop finishing system,” said Mark Ix, Advance Denim director of North American marketing. 

Bigbox dyeing, which slashes the amount of water needed to dye indigo by 95 percent, and BioBlue, a technology that reduces indigo into liquid form without using toxic sodium hydrosulfite, are the backbone to the Chinese mill’s water-saving strategy. 

“This creates a cleaner indigo with cleaner effluent thus giving Advance Denim the ability to recycle that water with ease in its state-of-the-art water treatment plant,” Ix said about the technologies. “It also… offers our customers cleaner, more sustainable denim.”

In addition to adding more upcycled cellulosic fibers such as Södra’s OnceMore and degradable spandex from Roica and Naia, Prosperity Textile is launching a new part of its 3D dyeing collection called Hero Blue. The rich, inky shade is achieved by running a limited number of boxes, resulting in 67 percent water savings, and allowing for quick chip off and more sustainable and chemical-free washdowns, said Bart Van de Woestyne, Prosperity Textile’s creative director.

The Chinese mill reinvents its darkest pure indigo with Avatar Blue. Thanks to “proprietary yarn preparation,” the new technology requires less than half of the dips traditionally used during the dye process, resulting in substantial water savings.

“Using pre-reduced indigo, this deep and brilliant pure indigo shade allows for more sustainable garment finishes such as laser, easily exposing the natural white core,” Van de Woestyne said.

The Chinese mill is also betting on slate gray, a color it developed with Archroma, to be a hit this season. The blue-casted gray offers a wide variety of washdowns through non-toxic chemistry, Van de Woestyne added. 

Prosperity Textile

Calik Denim’s Dyepro technology, a zero-water process that doesn’t create chemical waste, is used throughout its S/S ’24 collection. As for colors, Serhat Karaduman, Calik Denim CEO, said three new and commercial hues are: Mermaid Blue, a mid-shade, bright pure indigo blue without a red cast; Pebble Gray, a light bluish gray shade; and Whale Blue, a dark hue with a gray cast. 

With Pitch Black, Naveena Denim Mills offers color fastness. Fabrics made with its Pitch Black technology show no color change even after more than 20 home launderings.

The mill is also introducing Aqualter+, an updated dye technology that uses 81 percent less water compared to conventional dyeing. It also uses 40 percent less energy and 50 percent less steam. “You get the same indigo effect with less effluent load,” said Berke Aydemir, Naveena Denim Mills head of R&D and technical sales. 

Sustainable steps

AGI Denim returns to Kingpins Amsterdam as a B Corp, which Wong said is a proud moment for the company. The certification designates that a business is meeting high standards of verified performance, accountability, and transparency on factors from employee benefits and charitable giving to supply chain practices and input materials.

Recycled fibers, GOTS-certified hemp, and denim produced with recycled water and water-saving technologies are among AGI’s inputs.

In Free Stretch, the Pakistani mill takes an untraditional approach to stretch performance fabrics. Wong said this “new generation” of high-stretch denim does not require polyester to provide growth control, which helps avoid baggy knees and stretched-out waists on jeans. 

Everlast Denim, a product of AGI’s state-of-the-art LEED-certified spinning mill, is also designed to last longer without relying on synthetic fibers. The fabric enables jeans with destroyed and vintage effects to endure many wash cycles, extending the life of garments.  

Calik’s new fabric technology, B210, makes fabrics over 99 percent biodegradable within 210 days. The ground-breaking process can even be applied to garments containing synthetic fiber and to products with any kind of elasticity, from rigid to super stretch.

The mill views the innovation as an example of how it is a “solution partner” in the supply chain.

Cone’s main story for the season is a continuation of “Nothing Goes to Waste,” which Scavuzzo said “serves as a space” where the company can “continue to evolve and challenge ourselves as denim producers.” Launched at the April Kingpins show, she said Cone saw an opportunity to expand the concept and use it as a lens and a mainstay in how the company moves into the future.

Fabric families with high contents of PIW cotton (30-50 percent) in authentic constructions in rigid and stretch options are the primary focus. For the stretch fabrics, Cone utilized the Creora Regen fiber as the elastane alternative, which is made up of 100 percent RCS-certified recycled elastane.

“Our team has done a great deal of research and work around creating these blends while not sacrificing the desired authentic aesthetic of this fabric collection,” Scavuzzo said. 

UN Sustainable Development Goal 6, clean water and sanitation, serves as a bigger-picture initiative and as a main pillar in Cone’s sustainability story. “Our Zero Liquid Discharge system at Cone Denim Parras [in Mexico] recycles 90 percent of its water and puts it back into manufacturing. It’s the first of its kind as a denim mill,” she said. 

“Orta’s S/S ’24 offering showcases premium denim collections that are closing the loop with pre- and post-consumer cotton fibers, and breaking paradigms with biodiverse regenerative fabrics, earth-derived mineral based eco-positive dyes,” Danisman said.

The Turkish mill’s Golden Ratio formula continues to be a source of circular innovation. Danisman described the concept as “an evolution that will spark a new denim renaissance.”  By using 50 percent recycled content, wood-waste derived Nanollose fibers and regenerative cotton, she said Golden Ratio is an example of how Orta champions biodiversity by reducing its use of virgin cotton.

Naveena Denim Mills’ collaboration with Circular Systems’ Agraloop technology will debut at Kingpins. The Biotech fabrics are made with natural fibers derived from CBD hemp crop residue and refined into textile-grade fiber called Agraloop BioFibre. 

The CBD Hemp BioFibre is dry refined, meaning it uses nearly zero water to manufacture the fiber, Aydemir said. A life cycle assessment conducted by SCS Global shows that Agraloop CBD Hemp BioFibre processing uses 99 percent less water, and releases 54 percent less CO2 to the atmosphere compared to conventional hemp processing.

“With a specialized processing technique, cellulose fiber from stems and leaves are purified into soft fiber bundles ready to spin into yarns. The result is durable, low impact fabrics with unique natural fiber aesthetics,” Aydemir said. 

This season Advance Denim is expanding its use of Naia cellulosic fiber by introducing denim made with Naia Renew fiber. The circular fiber comprises 60 percent renewable wood pulp and 40 percent recycled waste plastics to make a sustainable fiber that has a cool soft hand and quick-dyeing capabilities. 

“It is important to have circularity and sustainability in mind at every step of the production process,” Ix said. “Each sustainable innovation in the process builds on itself to create an overall sustainable mill.”