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Three Denim Wash and Finish Trends to Know for Fall/Winter 19-20

Denim wash and finish trends for Fall/Winter 19-20 are being directed by designers’ increasing know-how in sustainability, the power of branding and the desire to use fashion to make social and political statements.

In a new report, trend forecasting firm WGSN outlined three key denim wash and finish trends for the season. While current themes like color denim continues to hold its own, WGSN sees jeanswear shifting away from novelty embroidery to make room for lush textures and handiwork details.

Metallic coating

From celestial prints and cloudy “Milky Way” color effects, to the vibrant and chunky glitter in footwear and accessories, space is one macro trend that is influencing fashion in new bold ways.

silver jacket
Heron Preston Kelly Taub/BFA/REX/Shutterstock

In denim, the trend translates to metallic coatings. Flashes of silver—be it light brushwork over seams to all over shine like Heron Preston’s Fall ’18 ode to NASA—adds the ‘It’ factor that millennials and Gen Z are searching for in their Instagram-ready fashion. Whereas past coating trends tapped into rock ‘n’ roll stories, the new metallic coatings are lighter, dreamier and more airy.

“Achieve the look in fabric form, or consider metallic warp or weft threads for a more subtle look,” WGSN said.

Print and pattern

When it comes to logos, more is more. Denim designers are turning logos into prints and patterns through discharge, laser, jacquard and digital printing techniques, WGSN reported.

Tommy jumpsuit
Tommy Hilfiger WWD/REX/Shutterstock

The trend invites brands to express messages in very literal ways, like Gabriella Meyer of Denimcratic’s politically-charged statements lasered onto denim. The theme also speaks to consumers’ seemingly undying love of luxury logos like Gucci and Fendi, which continues to play a prominent role in collections. Expect to see more logos on tailored pieces like denim suiting.

While laser and digital printing are the most sustainable methods for mass production, other brands are taking a DIY approach by painting and handwriting repetitive messages.


Paint splattered jeans—usually with white or black spots—have cycled in and out of style for years. This time, however, color steps forward as the main draw.

painted denim
MSGM Pixelformula/SIPA/REX/Shutterstock

The new look is less engineered, WGSN described, as brands are creating painted effects through digital printing. Others take a graffiti-like approach with scribbled lettering, repetitive stamping and abstract doodling.

“As millennials and Gen Zs prize individual style, these trends will continue and are set to evolve further,” WGSN said.