Right now, denim is in a “really eclectic” period, said Manon Mangin, Premiere Vision’s denim product manager.
At Denim Premiere Vision in Berlin last week, the executive shared how Fall/Winter 2023-2024 collections are simultaneously “rigid and flexible,” “static and dynamic” and “natural and synthetic.”
The denim industry’s post-lockdown comeback is driving this unwavering demand for variety in fits, fabrics and fashion. Key denim items like jeans, jackets and shirts are regaining their place in wardrobes, often serving as the foundation on which consumers build their outfits.
“We’re seeing a big comeback of classic combinations like a white T-shirt paired with jeans. We’re also seeing denim shift into luxury… becoming more of a stage outfit,” Mangin said, noting the ensembles recently worn by Coachella performers.
Geometry is one of the leading ways mills are adding a sartorial vibe to denim. Jacquards and fancy weaves with 3D surfaces, diamond patterns and overstitching that mimic the appearance of quilting are returning, she said.
Textured weaves, patchwork, frayed edges and overlapping compositions add spontaneity to F/W 23-24 fabrics. Needle punching and natural colors add a winterized look to floral laser prints, while laser printed words and phrases nod to streetwear.
Expect to see more trends from the 2000s, Mangin added, this time with the emphasis on shiny and glossy coatings.
A grunge trend is budding to counter futuristic Y2K-inspired trends. Based on eroded dyes and rusty surfaces, Mangin said the point is to show a jean’s history. Dirty pinks, purple undertones, gray and brown-tined greens live here, while washed out blacks have a deep intensity and contrast that create a ghostly aspect, she added. Mending and mud splatter effects enhance the grunge vibe.
Denim is also taking on sportswear qualities. Elegant raw fabrics, cashmere blends, lyocell shine and plays on weaves (stripes and herringbone) elevate denim for F/W 23-24. Expect to see high-waisted long skirts with statement belts become a key silhouette. Ribbons mimic the look of selvedge ID, while labels and buttons “echo denim weaves.”
Whereas mills have worked overtime to make hemp fibers feel and look more like cotton, Mangin said there’s a shift toward authentic hemp fabrics. Irregular surfaces are accentuated as mills increase their usage of hemp.
Lyocell is essential for drapey, pajama-like fabrics, and stretch is coming back. Though elastane is restricted to 2 percent for most fabrics, Mangin said mills are prioritizing elastane from recycled and bio-based materials.
Beneath the fashion, Mangin said there are some common sustainability processes and materials.
Natural dyes derived from clay, plants and food byproducts are becoming a way to “stand out,” with the “delicate gray/blue” color achieved through non-dyed recycled products. Companies are working toward zero-waste policies, using scraps to make denim ribbon and labels. Mills are ramping up their efforts for regenerative cotton and traceable cotton.
“We also see the rise of all the natural fibers such as hemp, linen and lyocell which is widely used for the season,” she said.
While certain aspects of sustainability are prerequisites in denim now, Mangin said there’s always room for more exploration. “It’s not going to go back to [how it was],” she said. “[The denim industry] is always trying to find new solutions to be more sustainable.”