It’s easy to see the innovations happening in the world around us. From blockchain and virtual reality to the rise of electric cars, life looks very different today than it did in earlier decades.
In contrast, in the denim world, innovation often slips under the radar for the general public. Jeans are such a longstanding staple that consumers might think the denim fabrics they buy now are almost identical to something they bought 10 years ago. In reality, does true innovation of denim fabrics exist, or are factories duplicating the same fabrics year after year with limited updates?
The answer to this question varies from manufacturer to manufacturer. Denim mills’ investments in innovation are not always equal, in part because of the costs associated with research and development. However, for forward-thinking mills like Panther Denim, innovation is a worthwhile expense that enables it to bring newness to industry buyers and their end consumers.
Panther Denim’s developments are focused on two key areas. For one, the mill wants to reduce its impact and become more sustainable in every single process of its work. The second prong of innovation centers on creating meaningful fabrics that provide benefits to consumers. This includes building the long-lasting denim textiles that shoppers expect, as well as integrating performance properties through solutions such as thermoregulating fibers. Most recently, Panther has created well-being denim that uses vitamin-infused fabrics. So far, these wellness fabrics have only been shown to a select group of customers before they are presented more widely.
In service of its sustainable goals, Panther has tried different methods to reduce water usage during indigo dyeing. This led the mill to the perfect solution: its latest indigo dyeing technique, Indigo Dehydro, which saves water usage by up to 90 percent and does not sacrifice the vibrant indigo hues in different washes. The Indigo Dehydro dyeing technique is also the perfect fit for laser washing due to the ring dye technique that is applied at the same time.
What makes this dye different? This dye technique reduces fresh water usage and there is no additional chemical wastage. Rooted in circularity, the system accomplishes these results by recycling the blue wastewater.
“We should not limit ourselves, because our ultimate goal is to make synthetic indigo dye eco-friendly like natural dye,” said Tim Huesemann, sales director at Panther Denim. “This might sound impossible for now, but we are believers in innovation.”
Indigo Dehydro and wellness solutions are internal or invisible innovations in denim, but what about the more noticeable developments on the outside? Appearance is quite a different story than technology innovation, since sales figures determine what is hot and what isn’t.
Panther is still seeing the trend of vintage-inspired marble and orange peel looks in rigid and comfort fabrics hitting the floor. The company’s Marbelous concept delivers on this retro aesthetic.
From its vantage point, Panther foresees the next trend will be all about crosshatch with an uneven, slub, authentic appearance. The mill is already working on trials and developments to deliver on this concept.
Click here to learn more about Panther Denim.