The Spring/Summer 2022 denim season is not afraid to reveal its different personalities.
Last week during Denim Première Vision’s first digital event, Manon Mangin, a representative from the trade show’s fashion team, revealed the fabric and trim trends that are bringing a sense of randomness to the denim market.
It’s a season that is seeking to break free of constraints, Mangin said, in order to establish a new place for creativity and “new roads far off the beaten track.” All of the forces, from digitization to science and innovation, are uniting to advance the industry’s collective intelligence.
And with denim found across the latest runway collections, she said its future is more connected than ever and related to other fashion sectors. “More bridges are being created,” she said, noting that this democratization of denim will open the door to new combinations and spark exciting new changes in silhouettes.
“Spring/Summer ’22 starts off with a ferocious appetite, which, not surprisingly, we find in the denim universe,” she said. Thanks to child-like energy from new committed brands and a motivated younger generation, Mangin said the category is a “constantly evolving universe, able to overcome challenges and obstacles.”
Simultaneously, interest in eco-responsible designs is inciting demand for beauty, simplicity and sensuality from denim. “It’s the season that appeals to our desires and senses, elaborately working on…the tactile sensation,” she said.
Here, Mangin breaks the season down into three themes—each with its own set of defining characteristics and audience.
Mirroring the societal shifts taking place across the world, Unsteady focuses on casual denim products that are soft, caring and non-aggressive. Many of the theme’s signatures stem from its emphasis on sustainable technologies, chemical-free processes that cut energy consumption, and natural fibers that require less water to grow than virgin cotton.
Hemp and linen add a natural slubby texture to the surface. Natural colorways, undyed fabrics and natural indigo create alternatives to blue and whites, which Mangin said brings a summery freshness to the season. “Visually, this gives rise to irregularities, thanks to more liberated, not overly treated fibers,” she said, adding that the fibers are free to “express their own personalities.”
Wrinkled effects, paper-like surfaces, sun bleached effects and soft gradations of indigo deliver a delicate and sensitive look and touch to fabrics. Mangin compared the style to a “controlled approach to fantasy,” noting that fading irregularities situated along the seams of collars and sleeves lead to “light and loose” paleness.
“Pigments look almost brushed [or] worn away in places and create sensitive color aspects, which highlight their past experiences and environments,” she described.
The look is carried into trims such as labels that have random spray effects that make a “negative/positive visual” or colorways that are “delicately damaged and eroded.”
In Flirty, products have a more sensual and seductive handle and bring “tactile delight conveyed by softness.” The trend answers an urge to come into physical contact with product—a need that Mangin said is gaining momentum in this time of almost entirely virtual communications.
The theme operates on two fronts: suppleness and lightness. Fabrics made with lyocell slip through fingers; others have a fullness and malleable qualities. “The sensuality of denim is also reflected in ultra-lightness and uncompromising flexibility,” she said, such as refined denim with a matte look, breezy fabrics and fabrics with a delicate lightness.
Though stretch is often associated with ease and comfort, Mangin noted there are fewer stretch products from the show’s exhibitors this season as many choose to focus on more supple and plump constructions with visible weaves and density. These fabrics, she added, capture the “stay at home denim spirit.”
The Thrifty theme offers a more urban reading of denim that is functional, essential, contemporary and sustainable. Clean workwear inspiration with perfect rigid fabrics live here, particularly those that are updated with sustainable production methods.
“Denim takes on a distinguished air with a continuation of weave plays, which are neat and fine,” Mangin said. Sharply defined mini herringbones “lend a rhythm to surfaces” while others reveal a silky shine or hints of “bewitching” color that adds depth to fabrics, she added.
Structured denims like square weaves create a rip-stop appearance on fabric surfaces as well. Dense mini squares achieve a pixelated effect on surfaces.
This elevated take on denim is carried into accessories, including labels with more pronounced shine, and smooth labels with no-nonsense typography. Elements from workwear add a technical twist to durable accessories like sturdy buckles.