With the Fall ’19 show season coming to a close at Bluezone in Munich, Germany this week, exhibitors shared a complete picture of the washes, finishes and details brands are seeking for their collections.
Exhibitors also showed a new level of willingness to educate attendees about the business of denim.
Transparency takes shape
For the first time, the tradeshow hosted the Bluezone Festival, an outdoor area featuring food trucks and pop-up shops by independent brands and retailers like Indigo People, Clobber Calm Supply Co. as well as Orta Anadolu’s latest collaboration with The Vintage Showroom from London.
The show’s denim curator, Panos Sofianos, said the space was an opportunity for the denim community and Munich locals to discover brands and learn more about the techniques and traditions that make up their beloved denim, including customization, dyeing and mending.
Turkish denim mill Orta Anadolu’s latest contribution to the denim sector shared that desire to create a more transparent industry. The mill launched a free digital glossary of denim terminology told in simple, straightforward language.
Rather than searching the internet for definitions that often contradict one another, Gulfem Santo, Orta Anadolu marketing team leader, said the goal is to make a one-stop shop for facts. From “certification” to “abiotic resource depletion,” the glossary breaks down the meaning of frequently used words as well as those that give even industry insiders pause.
The glossary—available online and as an app for Androids (and soon iPhones)—will eventually include tips on how to care for denim sustainably and will share Orta’s sustainable practices.
Back to classics
It’s a good time for denim purists.
“Right now, denim is all about nice fabrics, basic washes, no exaggerations and subtle embellishments,” Shabeeb Muzaffar, R&D head of Desert Studio said.
The denim manufacturing and finishing company based in Dubai presented a deep range of design concepts influenced by old school denim from the ’80s and ’90s. Muzaffar added that there’s “a lot for brands to play with in a vintage story.”
For men, that means handiwork details like mending, random embroidery and distressing. The details take on a Japanese look with organic shapes and patterns. For women, the return to classics translate to 100 percent cotton open end fabrics with slightly modern elements like colorful zips or metallic prints.
Looking ahead, Muzaffar sees interest in traditional denim continuing, but with slight amendments. For example, the studio is experimenting with more natural khaki colors, as well as mixing denim with non-denim fabrics like flannel.
Denim is also revisiting its cowboy roots.
Jeans with matching denim belts and belts with traditional Western buckle details were among the top-selling looks for Turkish denim supplier, Denim Studio. The company also offered jean styles with cinched waists for an old-timey effect.
Sport and streetwear-inspired items remain relevant, as seen in the latest extension of Lenzing’s seamless indigo knit collaboration with Italian spinner Santoni. The companies introduced a knit sneaker and backpack in their sporty-driven den/IM collection.
The collaboration, which has already birthed seamless indigo knit activewear garments like leggings and tanks, combines Lenzing’s sustainable fibers Tencel and Refibra with Santoni’s speedy seamless technology to create breathable comfortable garments with superior moisture management.
Santoni created a knitting machine specifically for this project, called the X MACHINE. Shoes made with the X MACHINE have a production time of only “5-7 minutes per piece” and an unlimited number of patterns and combinations are possible using the fully electronic mechanism.
For the backpack, Santoni used a MECMOR, the only existing knitting machine capable of needle-shifting movement, also known as racking. This production process also boasts a quick turnaround speed and is capable of large production quantities. The simplified manufacturing process also minimizes the amount of fabric scraps and waste.
“In the past, we focused mainly on apparel. Today, we look forward to the future with its unlimited potential to introduce 3-D performance in completely new markets such as footwear and accessories,” Patrick Silva, Santoni marketing manager, said.
Yesim Aydin Ceri, creative director of Denim Studio, said buzz about jogger style bottoms has created new business opportunities for the denim supplier.
Joggers with drawstring waists, zipper pockets and “poppers” or pant legs with side snaps have turned into a unisex item, she said, adding that they’re becoming increasingly popular for both men and women.
While buyers showed interest in Artistic Fabric & Garment Industries’ warp stretch and bi-stretch fabrications, a rep said the mill’s soft tech fabrics garnered the most interest from the German market.
The lightweight cotton poly stretch fabrications have a comforting soft hand feel with a true denim look.
Blue Diamond had another successful run with its Refibra collection. Shirley Zheng, a product designer for Blue Diamond, said the fabrics were an easy go-to for the buyers who came to the show seeking fabrics soft hands, specifically.
The mill also introduced a range of soft corduroy fabrics based on many of its top indigo sellers. The colorful collection is made at a PFD mill located next to Blue Diamond’s indigo facilities in China. The collection spanned thin to wide wales, rigid to stretch. A cord with a seersucker effect almost resembled a jacquard.