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Project Las Vegas: Spring/Summer ’23 Denim Report

From Joe’s to Naked & Famous, denim had a strong presence at Project Las Vegas last week with brands working overtime to maintain the category’s post-pandemic rebound.

Streetwear’s pandemic nudge toward preppy looks and elevated basics wasn’t a factor for new brand Redhouse. The men’s brand combines Italian fabrics from Candiani Denim with one-of-a-kind details like silver chains, dye effects, studs and paint splatter all hand finished in Portugal. The edgy look was also applied to a range of sweats.

Men’s label ESNTL also served creased and moto-inspired jeans—many covered in paint splatter.

Hudson’s journey into streetwear continues with a men’s range of jeans and jackets with paint splatter, bleaching, and tie-dye effects. Moto details and resin washes added texture to the denim pieces, which spanned indigo to lime and orange overdyes. The brand also introduced a new flare silhouette for men.

Celebrating its 20th anniversary, PRPS showcased the Noir collection, a line of jeans made with Japanese fabrics and French terry sweats with utility details like cargo pockets. Sun-dried shirting with hand-finished grinding, staining and bleaching are also part of the limited-edition collection.

With the future of Liberty Fairs unknown, niche brands like Naked & Famous and Artmeetschaos found a new home at Project. Both brands viewed the change of locale as an opportunity to reach new customers and took home Rivet x Project Awards for best men’s collection and editor’s choice, respectively.

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Expansion is in the cards for Donwan Harrell’s Artmeetschaos, which recently signed with Amsterdam-based showroom Solotwentyfive. The brand presented new slim carpenter jeans, PFD garment dyed straight fit jeans, and jeans tie-dyed by hand to replicate the look of vintage painter pants. Laser prints, paint splatter and overdying keep each style new and fresh.

Riding the ecru trend, Naked & Famous showcased undyed, no bleach organic cotton denim jeans with cotton seeds still visible.

Known for novelty fabrics and nods to heritage design, Naked & Famous bowed a new men’s jean made with 10 percent recycled silk sourced from kimonos found in Japanese thrift stores. The result is a dark indigo jean flecked with shimmery silk. The brand also introduced a jean made with 20 percent recycled denim. The fabric contains offcuts in the warp, blended with new cotton. No dyes or chemicals are added to the jean, resulting in a unique light blue color derived from the indigo previously applied to the offcuts.

For women, Naked & Famous focused on overalls based on a 1920s design. The one-piece, made with 8.25 oz. unsanforized denim, has a mid-blue cast.

Workwear brand Caterpillar supported its range of denim staples—a carpenter jean, 5-pocket jean and zip best—through a collaboration with Jordan Page, the Brooklyn-based DJ, stylist, curator behind the fashion Instagram account @veryadvanced and founder of Colour Plus Companie. Based on a “muted palette that draws from rich natural tones,” the co-branded collection offers plaid shirting, utility vests, double-front pants and carpenter pants and shorts in corduroy and denim. Zip and pull-over hoodies and terry shorts round out the collection, which is slated to launch in November.

Bestseller Brands’ Jack & Jones continued its play for the U.S. market with a S/S ’23 collection of trendy denim shorts with rolled and cuffed hems and ripped jeans patched up with bandanas. A blue-and-white striped set had both workwear and preppy appeal.

Workwear influences were found in Sandrine Rose’s collection of zip-up jackets, slouchy jumpsuits and cropped wide-leg jeans made from existing fabrics. A washed Barbie pink zip-up boiler suit added a dash of trend. Likewise, workwear stalwart Dickies added a pop of color to its range with railroad striped jackets and bottoms offered in blue and lavender for women and brown and lavender for men. The women’s range also included a line of colorful twill short shorts for women with carpenter details.

Unpublished returned with new versions of its popular Gemma Sailor pant, a high rise cropped wide leg pant with a double button closure. A bestseller at Anthropologie, the bottom was updated with enzyme washed PFDs in seasonal colors like moss green and buttercup yellow as well as a vintage-inspired denim. The core bottom was also available in 100 percent linen. While vintage-looking denim is in high demand, a rep said consumers are “not ready” for rigid fabrications.

But are they ready for low rises? Australian brand Thrills said “yes” based on the positive response it received from retailers for its 8-inch low-rise pant in ’90s washed denim and chino fabrications The bottom was part of a collection that also offered ’50s-inspired mid-rises and a cropped wide-leg jean also offered in denim drill.

Spanning jacquards to workwear-inspired black denim, Denigma, a new brand by Turkey’s Çalık Holding, offered a broad range of men’s and women’s jeans to suit U.S. consumers’ diverse preferences. The mill’s knowledge in fabrics, however, makes it a strong supplier of sustainable options including organic cotton and recycled cotton jeans, a rep said.

The planet was top of mind for Mavi, which nabbed the “best sustainability” Rivet x Project Award for its new Natural Dye collection. The line of men’s and women’s shackets and jeans uses natural clay-based colorants and ratios to achieve its earthy colors. Garments are also outfitted with biodegradable nutshell buttons, back patches made from biodegradable olive seeds and woven labels and threads made from recycled materials.

The eco launch was supported by Mavi’s range of women’s jeans with daisy embroideries and lasered patchwork designs as well as several jacket and skirt coordinates in novelty prints. The men’s range centered on chambray twills ready for work and the weekend.

Hudson kept trend pieces in the women’s collection wearable and versatile with monochromatic color schemes. The line spanned belted dresses, cargo jeans, corset tops and cropped jackets—some with a pop of peach color blocking.

Sister brands Modern American and Fidelity offered an array of classic washes and fits for women, include wide-leg and flare jeans with slash pockets, cuffed details and step hems.

Creating a versatile wardrobe was a key focal point in Joe’s collection. Men’s Japanese denim trousers, Tencel-blended jeans and French terry basics mixed with button-down shirts with a “peachy” hand feel, “dusty sunset” colors and a cream suede bomber jacket. The brand is also toying with traditional fits. For example, a new athletic fit has a “relaxed top lock” but with a trouser leg, while the Brixton is described as a “gentlemen’s slim fit” with a 14-inch leg opening.

Joe’s collection for women tells a cohesive story rich with new fits and subtle yet elevating details. After a season that saw most brands over-invest in straight fits, Joe’s is expanding its range of flare and wide-leg jeans with cuffed details, flat cargo pockets, contrast stitching, shield-shaped back pockets and super high rises. The collection’s retro-inspired palette of indigo, ecru, medium yellows and orange spans jeans, chore jackets and denim shorts, including a new relaxed fit. The denim pieces are supported by knit tank tops, blouses with voluminous sleeves and flutter sleeve dresses.

Seasonal direction

Despite being a prominent trend in Spring/Summer 2022 collections, embroidery continued to be present in women’s collections—especially brands channeling the early 2010s boho aesthetic.

Southwestern embroideries decorated Blank NYC’s light wash jackets. The collection also featured ecru jackets with eyelet details and crochet sleeves. A rep said the brand is also seeing “one-piece dressing” as a strong theme for S/S ’23 with jumpsuits and rompers leading the way. Coordinating jackets and skirts in trend-driven colors like acid wash pink underscore the popularity of “outfitting.”

Alongside its signature Western motifs, Driftwood offered jeans with daisy embroideries and abstract desert landscapes across the back of jackets. To complement its strong denim skirt business, L.A.-based Wash Lab presented a range of flowy chambray shirts with vibrant sunset and daisy embroideries and faded floral prints.

Other denim brands used embroidery to capture the tropical look that brands like Farm Rio have popularized in recent seasons. Hatley embroidered a large and colorful parrot onto the back of its Trucker jacket. Driftwood also showcased jeans and jackets decorated with Toucan and pineapple embroideries.

Desigual’s jean jacket with a printed beach scene keyed into vacation dressing. Novelty denim and licensed products, in general, thrived in Desigual’s S/S ’23 collection. The Spanish brand’s line spanned multicolor crystal-embellished shorts to mixed media jean jackets to wide-leg jean with daisies embroideries. Other highlights included jean jackets with hologram foils and rhinestone embellishment down the legs and along the pocket lines of jeans.

Mickey Mouse embroideries on tie-dyed wide-leg jeans, Pink Panther-themed pieces and more denim with The Smiley Company’s icon, Smiley, rounded out Desigual’s deep collection.

Jeans with stamped palm trees and flowers were among Morrison Denim’s latest styles. Bootcut jeans with creased details and carpenter pockets, wide-leg jeans with laser cuts, and lightweight boyfriend jeans garnered attention from retailers as well as ripped jeans patched up with cheetah and smiley face fabrics.

The L.A.-based brand’s wide assortment is an example of how the women’s denim category is in an experimental mood. In fact, the brand has scaled down to just one skinny jean as orders for slim and straight fits outpace the millennial-leaning style.

Variety was also the name of the game for “designed in Spain” Love Gen, which featured EIM scores on hangtags. Spanning jeans, jackets and shorts, the collection was based on ’90s-inspired washes and overdyed denim, punctuated with grommet details, neon lacing, laser camo prints and quirky iron-on patches. The brand also presented a wide range of Y2K miniskirts with frayed hems, slits and stripes.

Travel is a constant source of inspiration for 7 For All Mankind. For S/S ’23 the premium denim brand focused on the jet-set lifestyle portrayed in photographer Slim Aaron’s work through monochromatic pieces that effortlessly mix and match. Ribbed knits, tops with corset seaming and vegan leather shorts mingle with slim cargo pants with zippered pockets, flare jeans and cropped denim jackets.

7 For All Mankind is also betting big on bright white denim, offering a white denim skater skirt, sleeveless dress with a flutter skirt and belted dress. White was carried into its sister brand, Jen 7, which presented an expanded ready-to-wear range with denim jumpsuits, skirts and dresses.

Liverpool also received the white-out memo. The brand’s white denim assortment spanned a cropped jacket with braided trim, a Trucker jacket, pull-on Bermuda shorts and cutoff shorts.