Comfort stretch, Japanese-inspired fabrics and nods to ’90s grunge were everywhere at Kingpins New York.
Artistic Denim Mills (ADM) continues to scale its production of certified and traceable recycled cotton through its strategic partnership with Spanish material sciences company Recover Textile Systems, S.L.
The Karachi, Pakistan-based mill presented zero virgin cotton fabrics comprised of 60 percent Tencel and 20 percent recycled Recover cotton.
Clients are warming up to the idea of cotton-free denim. The goal, said Mubashir Shakoor, ADM’s marketing manager, is to make the fabrics as commercial as possible to have the biggest positive impact on the environment. In “most cases,” Shakoor said recycled cotton fabrics are cost neutral compared to fabrics made with virgin components.
Artistic Milliners promoted its mechanically recycled Tencel lyocell. The Pakistan company is the first to produce the circular fiber, now cranking out up to 10,000 meters of it at its fiber recycling facility, Circular Park. The result is a range of fabrics with a vintage, uneven and neppy appearance, but still carrying the soft hand feel of a Tencel fabric.
Artistic Fabric Mills, which is investing in a long-term organic cotton farming project in Pakistan in collaboration with the WWF, remains focused on recycling. The mill presented fabrics made with 100 percent post-industrial cotton waste (PIW).
Mexico’s Kaltex touted the Recycled Claim Standard (RCS) certification it received six months ago to assure clients of its sustainability claims. Approximately 90 percent of its styles are RCS certified.
PIW is the mill’s recycled fiber of choice for its ability to control the sorting process. Jack Mathews, Kaltex America senior vice president of denim, described how the fibers are collected from the cutting room, put through a grinding process and blended with virgin cotton to make warp yarns. Since the yarns contain indigo-dyed recycled content, they require less dye and chemicals in their new state, he added.
The Lycra Company launched Lycra lastingFIT 2.0 technology to “deliver elevated functionality in sustainable fiber made from recycled fibers.” Benefits include a range of stretch levels, long-lasting recovery, a soft hand and an authentic denim look. The technology is also designed to extend the life of a garment by providing durability.
“Consumers are concerned about reducing their environmental footprint and are increasingly investing in higher quality, more durable garments,” said Ebru Ozaydin, The Lycra Company’s strategic marketing director, denim and ready-to-wear.
Lycra teamed with Naveena Denim and Sapphire Finishing to showcase Lycra lastingFIT 2.0 technology in garments based on utility-meets-outdoor fashion trends.
The connection between comfort, weave constructions and fiber blends deepen in Spring/Summer 2024 collections.
Though there’s still a business in rigid, Mathews said comfort stretch fabrications are Kaltex’s bread and butter. Clients with a strong men’s business are especially loyal to fabrics that combine the authentic and marbled appearance of tried-and-true blue jeans with ease of movement.
Global Denim bowed its first fabrics made with 30 percent to 70 percent hemp. The mill plans to add more variations of hemp fibers in future collection based on positive feedback from clients. ADM is using up to 20 percent hemp in fabrics as well as linen. The fabrics are examples of the various ways brands can offer comfort to the end user, Shakoor said.
NDL’s Swift N Sway range uses Tencel, Refibra and hemp—no petroleum-based fibers—to enhance year-round wearability. The mill also offered an ultra-lightweight range of 3 oz. fabrics in indigo and sulfur black.
Cone Denim’s Summer Light collection offers lightweight fabrics under 10 oz. without losing their texture. The fabrics have a natural soft hand due to the way they’re constructed. Its Abstract collection include denim fabrics that mimic the appearance of linen—a quality that is especially popular for new looser fits.
Pierette Scavuzzo, Cone Denim’s design director, said clients tend to be “all over the place when it comes to weights.” Though lightweight stretch fabrics that look rigid and authentic have become a standard request in recent seasons, she said Cone is also fielding requests for heavyweight fabrics that feel like a 10 oz. offering.
Aligning with the comfort trend, Los Angeles-based laundry Star Fades International (SFI) is lending its expertise in denim to knits sourced from Pakistan or knits sourced by its clients. Alaina Miller, vice president of design at SFI, said the market is showing interest in knits that have the same wear patterns as jeans. To achieve this look, SFI is applying manual and chemical processes typically used for denim to age knit garments.
In term of design, SFI is diving into a grunge-meets-apocalyptic vibe, Miller said, with oil stained looks, irregular fades and heavy weight fabrics with inky dark washes. Crackle effects—a trend that hasn’t been in demand since the 2010s—makes a strong return alongside an assortment of Carhartt-inspired colorways, paint splatter and laser-printed camouflage layered with dye effects.
The essence of rock legend Kurt Cobain filters into SFI’s sister company Artistic Milliner’s collection. The vertical manufacturer’s Seattle-inspired fabric group signals a shift from the ’90s “Clueless and “Friends” aesthetic that has dominated fashion as of late to a darker and edgier vibe, according to Katie Tague, Artistic Milliners VP denim marketing and sales.
The Seattle group spans washed black denim, fabrics with crosshatch character, and green and yellow tinted indigo fabrics in mostly comfort stretch constructions. Novelty details like smiley face embroideries, paint splatter and stains underscore fashion’s fondness for irony and grit.
Artistic Milliners also showcased a fabric group inspired by traditional Japanese heritage looks. The collection uses Ice Breaker dyeing technology which allows for energy savings and better laser results while unlocking new richer shades including a new bright aqua hue. Artistic Milliners presented a capsule collection based on vintage garments the team sourced last year during the Denimandjeans trade show in Japan.
Global Denim’s collection called “A Trip to Japan” culls inspiration from vintage Japanese fabrics as well. The range of 100 percent cotton and comfort stretch fabrics have a neppy backside adding visual interest to cuffs. For a more rugged cabincore look, the mill presented rigid fabrics that have an overdyed brown backside. Global also showcased a line of sulfur dyes including beige and a rich shade of sand.
Green casts, earthy pigments and purple tints added depth to AGI Denim’s concept collection by the mill’s creative director, Carl Chiara. Intended to be an inspiration to clients and designers, the capsule showcased the Pakistani mill’s hemp and cotton fabrics, biodegradable elastane fabrics and garment dyed ecru fabrics in garments spanning patchwork ponchos to pintucked jeans.
With moody hues experiencing an uptick in popularity for Spring/Summer 2024, mills put forth their latest innovations in dark denim.
Cone Denim presented Blackjack, a black Modal fabric that uses recycled yarn waste. NDL debuted Stay Dark, a rope dyed reactive line of black, gray and dark blue stretch and rigid fabrics.
Meanwhile, Orta infused its collection with color. For a hit of serotonin, Orta touted “Lego colors,” a range of yellow, red and blue fabrics created with mineral dyes. The mill also showcased an assortment of indigo fabrics made with yarn with cores in colors including yellow, pink and purple. The color is activated by bleach resulting in hues that couldn’t be otherwise achieved through techniques like overdye.
To mark its 70th anniversary this year, the Turkish denim mill is offering its most successful fabric—a sturdy indigo denim with a marble surface that has been in its collection for decades—with a metallic gold coating.
US Group combines color with the heritage of selvedge. The mill offered fabrics with purple and green selvedge IDs as well as a range of rope dye colors.
Cone Denim’s selvedge stretch and rigid fabrics with a green ID support mental health awareness. As part of the Cone Community Collection, a series of fabrics designed to support various causes and organizations that align with the values of the mill, Cone will donate a portion of sales related to the fabrics to the Child Mind Institute, a nonprofit dedicated to transforming the lives of children and their families struggling with mental health and learning disorders.
Cone’s Sunlit Shades collection covers indigo, ecru and color applied to fabrics through its G2 Dynamic Finishing technology. The line spans rinse indigo high stretch fabrics with a chunky twill line to indigo piece dyed garments. Rio, a turquoise-casted indigo, evokes the feeling of tropical waters.