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Capsule New York: Men’s Denim Lightens Up for Spring ’16

The men’s denim collections exhibiting at Capsule New York (July 21-22) presented Spring ’16 lines that followed one of two distinct design directions. Some brands focused on perfecting lightweight raw denim, while others set out to try new silhouettes and washes.

Designers are adding interest to slim cut jeans by combining it with a dropped crotch. Annex, which offers three jeans for three different types of customers, is angling its jean with a drop in the gusset and a twisted, tapered leg toward the company’s most stylish customer. The brand offer a skinny fit, which is treated with different washes and distressing, and a slim leg jean for the more conservative customer.

For the ultimate in extreme streetwear, Mostly Heard Rarely Seen has an exaggerated version of the style with shorts and jeans with a double-drop crotch for spring. The brand amped up its denim range with a number of creative combinations of fabric, hand-painted splatter effects and patchwork.

While some labels are tapping into avant-garde trends, are paying closer attention to fabrics, specifically lightweight raw denim. At Document, a brand with an eco-friendly mission, designer Jongsoo Lee said he focuses on thin denims to make the items feel more natural.

For Spring ’16, The Blue Uniform, is using 10-12 oz. raw denim for four raw pieces, along with eight washed styles. There are three fits for the jeans: slim, extra slim, and straight. In the brand’s home base in Sweden, the trend is ultra-skinny silhouettes, but the brand designs the straight jeans specifically to fit the American market.

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I Love Ugly is taking a stab at updating its 12 oz. selvedge jeans by incorporating a deeper drop in the back yoke, selvedge on the front pockets and a fly detail that says “stay faithful.” The label also introduced a straight, wide-leg jean to add some diversity to the range.

I Love Ugly

Some brands are straying from the raw tradition to try out new wash techniques. Big John Sales and Marketing Representative Kiyo Kakemizu said raw denim is sinking in popularity since most denim aficionados already have their pairs. Instead, Big John is focusing on hand-whiskering effects and ozone wash for bleaching and various finishing treatments. The ozone process offers a sustainable air wash alternative to processes that require bleach and water.

James Long

James Long is playing with washes, treatments and design details, while keeping a relatively traditional cut and fit to jeans. For example, one style blends three treatments: a graphic print, two shades of tie-dyed blue and distressing. The line also features denim jackets and jeans made from combined strips of three different washes of denim, and others are hand-painted with watercolors.