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Kingpins Amsterdam Preview: Hemp, Color and Renewable Sources

Kingpins Amsterdam kicks off April 20-21 with more than 80 international exhibitors from all links in the denim supply chain. It is the show’s first in-person event since 2019 and its first at SugarCity, a space just outside of Amsterdam with 40 percent more square footage than its previous venue in Westergasfabriek.

Representatives from mills can’t wait to get their fabrics back into the hands of customers and reunite with friends and colleagues.

“I believe that the moment this community is reunited, it will be extra special,” said Pierette Scavuzzo, Cone Denim design director. “You really feel the love at this show, and I think many will be ready to embrace it and take in all of the energy, passion, and knowledge unique to Kingpins.”

As much as Zoom meetings helped to keep the supply chain connected, Prosperity Textiles creative director Bart Van De Woestyne said it remains difficult for the customers to really get an idea of what a fabric or concept is all about—or to really judge an indigo shade. “Our customers are really looking forward to physically meeting again, touching, and feeling the fabrics rather than attending e-meetings,” he said. “We, on the other hand, need their feedback, face to face.”

The show itself is a chance for companies to flaunt their talents. Naveena Denim Ltd (NDL) will create the entrance curtains, signage, and flags. It will also host live painting sessions on panels of fabric. Trims manufacturer Turteks Etiket is designing the entry bracelets and food cards. The bracelets are specially made and designed to wear all year long. Artistic Milliners, Star Fades International and the newly opened Artmill are joining forces to outfit the show’s staff in custom-made uniforms. Responsibly designed with recycled cotton fabric, sustainable dyestuff and non-petroleum pigment, the uniforms were produced in Pakistan and Los Angeles.

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Prosperity Textiles will highlight Galatic, a fabric line that is the product of the mill’s commitment to reducing the use of the use of virgin (petroleum based) polyesters. The fabrics uses “plant-based bio-tech” fibers that are 100 percent renewably sourced and 100 percent degradable.

Van De Woestyne noted how Galatic fibers outperform conventional polyesters. “They generate 30 percent more stretch with a superior 92 percent recovery rate,” he said. “The fiber is soft to the touch, lightweight and has better moisture regain, leaving the skin conditioned and feeling like a second skin.”

Prosperity's Matte Lux Denim
Prosperity’s Matte Lux Denim Courtesy

Soft touch is also the focus of Prosperity’s Matte Lux Denim collection, which applies the drapey hand of lyocell with the look of a classic cotton denim shirting. “Thanks to a proprietary spinning technique, Prosperity’s innovation team created a range of lightweight denims greatly reducing sheen and offering a wide variety of authentic looking wash downs,” Van De Woestyne said.

Qualities that rose in popularity during the pandemic influenced mills’ collection.

Kilim Denim is tapping into the demand for jeans that require fewer at-home washes. The mill’s Kilimanjaro collection uses Everfresh acrylic fiber, a fiber from Aksa Akrilik that has antibacterial and “thermal comfort” properties.

For Kipas Denim, durability equates to jeans with a long shelf life. The mill’s new Slow Aged fabric concept provides up to three-times more tear strength than other fabrics and four-to-five-times better abrasion performance.

“This high performance on durability enables brands to produce long lasting garments that [consumers] can wear for years,” said Hürriyet Öztürk, Kipas product development director.

Naveena Denim Mills aims to draw attention to a problem negatively effecting the entire industry: returns. Citing Statista, Aydan Tuzun, the company’s executive director of sales and marketing, said 48 percent of online shoppers said they returned an order in the last 12 months. Jeans made with the mill’s Self-Fit technology, however, can fit two sizes up and two sizes down, providing brands and consumers with adaptability. Naveena is adding more fabrics with the technology, and introducing items that have 100-110 percent elasticity.

AGI Denim’s Kaleido color yarn dye collection provides a sustainable solution for brands tapping into the dopamine fashion trend. The fabrics are dyed and finished with recycled water certified by SGS, a Swiss third-party certification company. When combined with AGI’s ReFresh laundering process, Henry Wong, AGI Denim VP of product development and marketing, said “these colorful jeans can be said to be made with recycled water from fabric to garment.”

“[The fabrics] are just like our beloved denims that take on wear patterns and wash beautifully but in the world of color,” he added.

AGI Denim's Kaleido Collection
AGI Denim’s Kaleido Collection. Courtesy

Cone’s is building on its Nothing Goes to Waste (NGTW) fabric collection, which debuted during the last KP24 digital show with a capsule collection designed with Endrime and Jeanologia. The NGTW fabric collection is designed with a “modern, forward-thinking mindset and made with 100 percent recycled fibers,” Scavuzzo said.

Fibers are a source of newness for Cone. It will introduce Creora Regen, a synthetic alternative for spandex, to its menu of sustainable stretch fibers, including EcoMade Lycra, Ciclo, Roica and Repreve. Creora Regen is a 100 percent recycled spandex fiber that is GRS certified and made from spandex/elastane waste. The mill will also debut its U.S. grown hemp collection of fabrics that supports U.S agriculture and farms.

“We’re keeping all of the components in close proximity to create the smallest footprint—from Alabama hemp to Tennessee plant-based indigo to U.S. grown cotton with the fabric woven at our mill in Mexico,” Scavuzzo said.

Cone's Nothing Goes to Waste Collection
Cone’s Nothing Goes to Waste Collection Courtesy

With a closed loop approach to raw materials, Arvind Limited is incorporating post-industrial and post-consumer recycled cotton into its collection.  Aamir Akhtar, Arvind’s CEO-lifestyle fabrics, denim, said in-house production of the fibers allows for a high level of quality control and traceability through Textile Genesis. Supply chain traceability is becoming a backbone for sustainable materials, he added.

Arvind will also highlight the latest from Quantum Indigo, a “waterless dyeing method” that on average uses 95 percent less water compared to traditional methods. The process was originally developed for indigo, but more recently the mill is experimenting with blends of indigo and sulphur.

With Blue Infinity, Crescent Bahuman Ltd. (CBL) aims to provide the industry with a “game-changing” warp dyeing technology that can create an endless variety of blue shades without using indigo. All chemicals used in the process are GOTS 6.0 approved. Blue Infinity also meets RSL requirements from major brands and retailers.

“The ability of this technology is tremendous, especially because it creates an infinite amount of shades of blue while reducing environmental stress,” said Zaki Saleemi, CBL’s vice president of strategy. “CBL has had to think, work and execute this technology in a totally unconventional manner compared with traditional manufacturing processes.”

Tonello will showcase the benefits and capabilities of its all-in-one-system equipped with No Stone, Core, UP and ECOfree 2. The integrated garment finishing system connects with other new technologies such as The Laser and Metro, Tonello’s program to analyze, control and evaluate data.

Rudolf Group’s Offuel, a collection of chemical auxiliaries for denim finishing that uses contains crude oil alternatives and recycled components, arrives at a time when geo-political situations and supply chain bottlenecks make resources even more scarce. The 100-year-old company, which will fete its milestone at the Kingpins Amsterdam party following the first day of the show, describes Offuel as meeting two pressing needs: sustainable industrial practices rooted in renewable sources and economic alternatives.

The “crown jewel” of the product range is Rucogen Upcycle RNB, a dispersing agent specific for denim washing based on chemically recycled post-consumer PET plastic waste.

The new technology comes to life in an inspirational collection of reused and reworked denim pieces designed by Labor Made Inc. Each garment is finished with Offuel products. The intent behind the collection, said Gordon Muir, Labor Made founder, is to refine how consumers “embrace waste and discarded materials” and turn them into items that reflect contemporary culture and sustainable values.