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BPD Expo Offers Sourcing and Sustainable Alternatives for Denim

Chain-stitching, denim repair and tie-dye were among the curiosities this week at BPD Expo.

The two-day boutique denim trade event—housed at the former Scoop store on Broadway in SoHo—presented S/S 2020 collections from Asia-based mills alongside a vintage flea market, denim workshops and artwork from Ronen Azulay.

Azulay, a former designer for Tommy Hilfiger, uses recycled denim as a canvas for work that represents “going against the grain.” Some pieces are made from denim scraps collected from the BPD Washhouse in New Jersey. Others are worn from his own closet.

The bright space was divided by a denim wall—a riff on President Trump’s vision for the U.S-Mexico border—splattered with paint and messages. BPD Expo owner Bill Curtin noted that the wall was a hit with attendees’ children. “We want the show to be an inviting, kid-friendly event, so we’re encouraging designers to bring their family,” he said.

Trump and his ongoing trade war China is proving an opportunity for Vietnam-based Tuong Long Co. The denim and piece-dyed garment facility highlighted its spinning, weaving, dyeing and printing capabilities to show U.S. brands that viable alternatives exist outside of China.

Touting efficient transportation, waste water management and branded fibers like Tencel and Lycra T400, Carol Chan, Tuong Long Co. director of business development, said the facility is competitive to China in both quality and price. “We’re a one-stop shop,” Chan said, adding that the company’s strength is in super stretch, soft denim with superior recovery.

Skinny jeans remain an area of focus for Soorty’s U.S. clientele. Ebru Debbag, the mill’s executive director of global sales and marketing, said she sees brands playing with the rise and hems to make the wardrobe staple feel fresh. Modern workwear like cargo pants are also gaining momentum.

Separate from styles, it’s more interest in sustainability that Debbag hopes will bubble up. The mill presented its Cradle-2-Cradle (C2C) Certified Gold fabric collection at BPD Expo. However, the reality is most U.S. consumers are unfamiliar with what it means to be C2C certified.

“Sustainability slowed in this hemisphere,” Debbag said, adding that designers lack knowledge about sustainable alternatives, too. Meanwhile, brands are too scared to base their consumer communication on the concept.

Sustainable trims may be an easier story for brands to share. “The main request we keep hearing is sustainability. That’s the buzzword,” said Diego Gneri country manager for Apholos.

The Buenos Aires, Argentina-based trim supplier, which turns 100-years-old this year, showcased a range of 100 percent recycled metal hardware made from leftover zinc alloy. The company also presented 50 percent recycled brass and copper trims, and trims made from recycled tin plates.

Gneri said brands are also returning to classic pieces with a vintage look achieved by real oxidation. “There’s no patinas,” he added. “And no two pieces look exactly the same, which is a good story for brands to tell.”

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