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Lifestyle Trends Inspire Denim Collections at Kingpins New York

Denim mills brought their Fall/Winter 20-21 collections to Kingpins New York this week, showcasing products designed to fit into consumers’ ever-changing lifestyles and interests.

From recycling and wellness, to the desire for something new to break up the monotony of blue, here’s a look at what’s fresh on the denim circuit.

Color up

Mills presented unseasonably bright collections for fall/winter.

Panther Denim brought its sustainable dye concept for color denim, C-Zero, to the show. C-Zero uses 66 percent less water, 51 percent less power and 30 percent less dyestuff than traditional dyeing processes. And combined with a sustainable fabric of choice,

Shadow Chan, managing director of Panther Denim, said it can create a fresh sustainability story for brands to share with consumers. “Color denim is becoming a big trend,” she said. “The market is saturated with blue so we need new bright things.”

Color denim was part of Global Denim’s collection, which took two directions: dusty desert hues and vibrant shades of red and jade inspired by Asian cultures. Color is growing in importance, reported Anatt Finkler, Global Denim creative director, particularly as high-end and fast fashion brands simultaneously see success this year with tie-dye and bold prints. To meet the demand, she said the mill is adding PFD versions of its most popular denim constructions.

House of Gold experimented with novelty fabrications in both woven and knit. Through Blue Diamond, the company presented a range of utility and military-inspired woven fabrications, including 100 percent cotton canvas constructions. The fabrics were offered in 9 oz. and 14 oz. weights for both the spring/summer and fall/winter seasons. Blue Diamond also presented a line of striped denim fabrics, including a Lurex version for holiday.

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The fancy look was carried into the firm’s knit division, In the Loop, which used Lurex to create luxe athleisure options in stretch indigo twill and terry fabrications. The addition of a new stretch cord offered a soft, buttery hand feel primed for the children’s market, while its program of vinyl-coated knits continued to trend, particularly in matte black, white and sparkle versions for holiday.

coated denim
In the Loop Angela Velasquez

And consumers are also seeking color with staying power. Building off its Ever Dark innovation—a black jean that stays black for up 30 home laundries—Artistic Fabric Mills has added Ever Dark 2.0, a new construction with more defined twill lines and Ever Raw, a non-indigo, no-fade jean that maintains the crisp look of a raw indigo jean with the added benefit of shrinkage control.

Reduce and reuse

Unifi’s Repreve, the branded recycled polyester fiber derived from plastic bottles, continues to be a popular ingredient for both sustainable properties and storytelling opportunities.

Along with using 100 percent BCI cotton without any upcharge, Artistic Denim Mills (ADM) has replaced all of its polyester with Repreve. ADM marketing manager Mubashir Shakoor said the mill keeps the fiber in house so it can move quickly to meet demand.

Global Denim reported that it is testing Repreve this season. The mill is also building its Ecoloop collection of recycled cotton fabric made with pre-consumer waste and denim scraps. Finkler said the mill is increasing the percentage of recycled cotton in its fabrications from 30 percent to 50 percent.

Rich Tobin, Kaltex American vice president of sales and marketing, urged brands to stack recycled fiber stories like combining Repreve with post-consumer recycled cotton. Add water-saving dyeing solutions like Dry Dye to the mix, and brands, he said, “can create strong branding opportunities” geared toward eco-conscious millennial consumers.

“[The industry] has a good understand of sustainable fibers and traceable fibers, so we are trying to expand the conversation around sustainability into our washes,” added Cori Olson, Kaltex America senior designer.

Feel good

Interest in vintage-inspired fabrics with a worn-in 501 look and feel show no signs of slowing. In TruBlu, Global Denim aims to recreate the look of “beloved” styles with the addition of stretch. The mill is also experimenting with broken twill fabrics.

Artistic Fabric Mills presented a range of ’90s denim with stretch levels ranging from comfort to super stretch, including a fabrication based on a classic Type II fabric that even the most diehard of denim heads would mistake as the original.

Artistic Fabric Mills
Artistic Fabric Mills Angela Velasquez

Fabrics with brushed backs were a popular novelty at the show. ADM, Global Denim, Artistic Fabric Mills were among the mills showing the cozy concept.

And when it comes to “feel good” denim, Naveena is taking the concept a step further with a range of denim that taps into consumers’ growing intrigue in wellness products and lifestyles. The mill’s range of Fibra Therapy fabrics combine functionality with fibers that promote wellness, beauty and health benefits. Emana fibers absorb heat from the body, returning it in the form of distant infrared rays, which provides faster muscle recovery. Umorfil beauty fibers combine viscose fiber and ocean collagen peptides to sooth sensitive skin, while copper-based yarns are used to help restore skin cells.