In the denim industry, few things are as certain in the current COVID-19 climate as the need to maintain a laser-sharp focus on products that offer quality, versatility and comfort.
During Kingpins24, representatives from trims suppliers and fabric mills shared how their businesses are adapting to this level of uncertainty by tapping into their areas of expertise and releasing concepts that touch on the human side denim.
Prior to the pandemic, Gloria Crivello, Ribbontex export sales manager, said the Italian trims company was in growth mode. With Italy beginning to slowly re-open this month, the company aims to return to that pace by highlighting the qualities that she said have distinguished Ribbontex, including its attention to detail and top-quality production.
Additionally, she foresees an industry that insists on eco-friendly and sustainable items. “Our industry, in general, is likely to be change by the impact of this very difficult time,” Crivello said.
Ribbontex’s new collection for F/W 21-22, she added, “will be about our attempt to offer the best quality and new ideas.” The company, she noted, is looking to adding freshness to a market that she described as “compromised by this sudden and unexpected crisis.”
Down to Earth
Sinem Senbark, Iskur Denim sales and marketing manager, said she believes the denim industry can come out of this crisis more united.
“We are all having hard days,” she said. “I think this is the first experience where all the world has the same problem at the same time. But we believe we will get out of the situations stronger and more connected.”
The Turkish denim mill is preparing for that return with a focus on natural fiber fabrics. Iskur’s F/W 21-22 sustainable Earthsquad collection introduces fabrics made with 10 percent hemp and 90 percent cotton, dyed with Pure Indigo, a technique that saves 95 percent water compared to traditional dyeing.
The collection also includes fabrics made with linen and soy protein fiber, which Senark said adds softness and antibacterial qualities to denim.
Overall, Senbark said she expects the denim industry to take a season-less approach to collections. Items like Iskur’s Black Reload, a line of black fabrics that wash down like indigo, and Denim Soul Marble, a nod to the crinkled effects of the ’80s and ’90s denim, she added, will fill in this demand for classics.
Prior to COVID-19, Naveena director of U.S. sales Scott Gress said the Pakistan-based mill decided that its overarching theme for seasons to come would be Jeanerosity—a concept that views sustainability through a lens of kindness, generosity for the planet and human virtues.
It’s a positive outlook that resonates even more deeply as the industry grapples with the pandemic.
Naveena, he said, is executing Jeanerosity through F/W 21-22 fabrics that build on its technology like the proprietary spinning concept Wraptech, and Horizon sustainability line. The five-part collection prioritizes 4-way stretch, brushed-back fabrics, hemp blends, zero-cotton fabrications and fabrics that offer antimicrobial properties.
Though the industry has hit a critical time when it needs to reconfigure how it conducts business with clients through digital platforms, Gress doesn’t expect virtual meetings to become the new normal.
“There’s going to be a lot less travel, but I don’t know if that’s going to become the way of the future,” he said. “We’re such a tactile, touch-it, feel-it, explain-it industry… it’s not easy to do digitally. It’s going to create more difficulties than people see, so I think we’re going to do as much meeting as soon as the ‘coast is clear,’ so to speak, as we did in the past.”