Denim is in a playful mood.
Brands presented spring immediates, summer lines and sneak peaks of their fall denim collections at Project Womens and Fame in New York this week. The side-by-side shows were a colorful reminder of the upcoming seasons’ zest for lively color, print and new constructions.
New sustainable denim brand Ética had a strong first showing. The Los Angeles-based brand, owned by premium denim maker Hera Apparel, showed its first collection of “trendy yet wearable” denim made with processes that reduce the brand’s water, chemical and energy consumption.
The brand is built on the know-how gleaned from manufacturing for major brands, offering vintage-looking denim made with 50 percent cotton and 50 percent Tencel blends, jean jackets with a reversed look and brown cargo jeans with a shoelace belt.
And as a vertically-integrated company, Ética’s director of sales Michelle Marsh said the brand is able to hover around an accessible $150 price point at retail.
Shorts and jeans with a belted paper bag waist remain on trend. Free People cinched its waffle texture ecru shorts with a matching snap belt. Hidden’s belted paper bag-style shorts in dusty rose and white broke up an otherwise dense indigo collection. McGuire touted jeans with matching self-belts as some of its bestsellers.
In a nod to the ’90s, McGuire Denim turned down the waist bands of jeans and lightweight non-denim wovens like a pair of button-fly cargo pants in blush. The brand also turned up the hem of jean jackets, revealing a pop of soft vintage-looking lining.
That nostalgic look was carried into McGuire Denim’s range of wide leg jeans with a soft hand and a touch of stretch. Softness is a major selling point for the brand. McGuire Denim vice president Ashley Baron said its sportswear range is going strong with tops that have a soft handle and cotton-y feeling.
Tonal blue stripes updated Bella Dahl’s signature drapey denim made with Tencel. The collection offered matching leisure separates like a pajama-style button-down shirt and drawstring shorts. Metallic silver polka dots, beachy florals and pastel denim added a summery feel to 7 For All Mankind’s collection.
Forgoing the shock value of traditional tie-dye—which was rampant across the shows’ selection of missy tops and beach accessories—McGuire Denim opted for a “wash of color” with light blue splashed across the hems of white denim skirts and jeans.
The trend for colorful side taping continues. L.T.J. embellished white skinny jeans and short-shorts with a sliver of neon green on side seams. McGuire Denim added ’70s-style rainbow taping to authentic-looking denim. C’est Toi added rainbow straps to overalls. 7 For All Mankind trimmed the seams of a classic jean jacket with mini ruffles made from pink Lurex.
Brands like Signature 8 baited retailers catering to a millennial and Gen Z audience with colorful denim sets. The brand, which is sold by retailers like Asos and Dolls Kill, offered a deep range of cropped jean jackets and button front minis in snake and leopard print denim. The brand tapped into the psychedelic aesthetic of ’80s and ’90s staple Lisa Frank with a multi-color zebra print set.
Expect to see animal prints move forward into fall.
Blank NYC’s pre-Fall ’19 collection was rich with snake and leopard print jeans and denim jackets in natural and unnatural colors ways like red. The brand also embossed its signature vegan leather jackets with reptilian textures. The brand added suede patchwork to the shoulders of jean jackets and introduced a line of soft quilted jackets with ’80s washes.
To contrast the statement layering pieces, Blank NYC focused on cleaned-up jeans with minimal distressing and details. Cropped wide-leg jeans offer a lighter way to add volume, while the high-waisted straight remains the brand’s best trending jean.