Responsible design doesn’t have to look responsible.
That was the message Denim Premiere Vision delivered in London Tuesday, where the trade show presented Spring/Summer 2021 fabric trends that allude to an experimental and fun approach to fashion without losing focus on sustainable initiatives.
“Spring/Summer 2021 is fired up by energy and new visual and tactile sensations,” Manon Mangin, Premiere Vision fashion team member, said. “It’s a season for taking risks, exploring new paths and using innovative materials to create contemporary fashion.”
As responsible design evolves, consumers are setting higher standards. Consumers, Mangin said, want to know the environmental impact of a product from production to end of life. Beyond organic cotton, end users are paying closer attention to biodegradable components, dyeing methods that require less water and chemicals and alternative materials for trims. This experimentation, she noted, is creating variety, linking fashion to nature, art, architecture and technology.
Here, Mangin breaks down the season into themes that capture how denim mills are using sustainable materials to their creative advantage and the sense of excitement behind these new ideas.
Feelings flow in “Emotion,” Denim Premiere Vision’s trend story that reflects Gen Z’s advocacy for individuality, wellness and embracing differences. The trend, Mangin said, is about “a place that feels secure and allows you to be true to yourself.”
Natural materials provide the framework for the story, including linen, recycled cotton and hemp blends that have both clean and uniform surfaces with a “summery undertone” and irregular surfaces with strong yarn character and an artisanal spirit. The plant kingdom inspires trims decorated with leafy vegetable motifs. And materials are natural like woven labels with contrasting neps, recycled paper with earthy textures or recycled rubber with speckles of color.
Delicate stitches underscore the need to mend and cherish garments. This mindset comes through as frays, neat repairs and accessories like jacron labels with spontaneous stitching or embroidery.
Water is also a key influence for the season, not just as a topic in sustainability, but also as a fashion statement. “Surfaces come to life with prints that mirror the motion of water,” Mangin said.
These visual cues—which include reflective pool water, unpredictable waves, neat bubbles and blurred foam effects—can be achieved through laser and overdye. Graduated shades of tonal blue create softness for summer. These fluid transitions work well on organic cotton bases. However, Mangin noted that there’s also room for more pronounced contrasting and distinct colorways like red, white and blue.
In Denim Premiere Vision’s “Hybridization” theme for Spring/Summer 2021, fabrics combine an “artisanal aspect” with a “modern spirit.” The trend, Mangin said, “refers to our new lifestyle and the fact that we want to move as we want, as we wish, and as fast as possible.”
Here, fabrics may appear raw, but they provide the mobility that urbanites demand from their fashion. This is also conveyed in weaves, which are evolving from 3×1 to more orderly and square structures, Mangin described. Fabric surfaces take on a canvas look, while trims pull inspiration from traditional men’s wear with herringbone and braided motifs.
To contrast, other fabrics made with lyocell have a smooth suppleness and evoke the “feeling of a summer breeze,” Mangin said. The fabrics, she added, flow between fingers and play with open weaves that veer toward being semi-transparent. Wrinkled textures, crispy-looking fabrics and speckled effects also add a sense of motion to materials.
For trims, motion is interpreted through the use irregular patinas, light colors that bring out the grain of leather and paper materials and labels that have a “lived-in, time-worn” look.
In “Expansion,” fabrics become fantastical and playful, thanks to energetic color.
Random colors fuse together, purple-ish hues are used to enhance the suppleness of fabrics and bright red and pink join forces to create bold looks. Meanwhile, tonal blue colorways remain a key ingredient—especially for dreamy tie-dyes and chic jacquards.
Metallics live here, but Mangin said they are less bold that previous seasons. Metallic finishes feel brushed on and precise, even on trims as just a detail or border on labels and patches.
The trend calls for strong graphics, too. Laser prints are used to create brick-like patterns on denim. The uniform look is replicated in jacquards. Brush strokes soften the patterns, adding a blurred color effect. “We also play with different techniques on the same product, like combining laser and screen printing,” she said.