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Will Weed Culture Be the Next Big Fashion Trend in Denim?

The wacky denim trend is not about to implode anytime soon, according to Denim Dudes founder Amy Leverton and contributor Sam Trotman.

The duo shared their Spring/Summer 2020 vision at Kingpins Amsterdam Wednesday, revealing another season of color-drenched, oversized denim that this time is one part rebellious teen and one part sensible dad.

And while streetwear and logo mania continue to drive these bold and youthful looks, new factors like the emerging weed industry in the United States and nostalgia for Y2K are adding their own unique flavor to the table.

Here’s a look at Kingpins’ denim trends for Spring/Summer 2020:

Grateful Dad

A continuation of Fall/Winter 19-20’s Dadcore-inspired “Altitude” story, “Grateful Dad” ushers in a psychedelic trip for fashion. The festival-friendly theme serves up style that embraces hippy culture and eclecticism by creating a “bohemian lifestyle through a streetwear lens,” Trotman described.

Here, denim is oversized and layered with technical fabrics and silhouettes from the athleisure world. Practical zips and pockets, coatings and super-light-weight fabrics like nylon are among the key ingredients. Think track suits with peace sign pendants, Leverton noted.

Tie-dye takes on a whole new life as spliced, Frankenstein garments, “vegetable meets chemical color” combinations and rainbow shibori, she added.

Camouflage and ikat prints offer the same outdoorsy feel. Trotman said brands can recreate these dye effects through laser printing for a more sustainable solution, adding the story’s color palette—soft indigos, natural indigos and natural vegetable shades—are well-suited for brands’ eco stories as well.

The overall earthy feel is enhanced with upcycled fabric remnants, Baja surfaces, textured weaves, patchwork leather, homespun quilting and deadstock fabrics. Frayed and undone finishes give a lived-in feel to new pieces.

Pops of acidic yellow, along with retro smiley face motifs, cheesy camp patches and Grateful Dead artwork reinforce the theme’s underlining psychedelic vibe.

High End

California’s growing weed culture is the starting point for “High End,” a grown-up take on slacker style. With novelties like marijuana-themed dinner parties on the up and up on the West Coast, Leverton said she sees what would otherwise be described as teenage tendencies mature and become more sophisticated—and that’s including streetwear.

The story’s holistic side is expressed through the use of natural fibers and yarns, slow-made fashion and boutique dressing, while upsized silhouettes, refined fabrics, high-end finishing, soft layers and unstructured looks encapsulate the theme’s utility-meets-lounge styling.

Draping, off-the-shoulder and conceptual cutouts elevate denim. Workwear details and A-line silhouettes add structure. Oversized twills, linen, summer blanket materials with a handloom look, feminine quilting and patchwork jacquard add texture and visual interest. The goal, Trotman said, is to reinvent traditional weaves in modern ways.

The trend is rooted in natural indigos, ecru, soft neutrals, vintage-inspired colors and vegetable dyes. Tie-dye lives here as well, but Trotman said they are redone in subtle, earthy colorways. Woven stripes, unraveled fringe and loose threads enhances the story’s artisan feel. Meanwhile, prints and patterns span enlarged paisley and flora and fauna prints, to block prints and hemp leaf embroidery.

Spaghetti Western

Streetwear hype and logo mania combine in this ’80s-inspired culture clash.

In “Spaghetti Western,” Leverton said trends revisit the playful, cheesy Italian interpretation of Americana denim prevalent in the ’80s by brands like Jordache, which coincidently recently relaunched with a nostalgic capsule at Barneys.

The trend calls for snow wash jeans, open-end denim, jeans with cinched-in waists and big belts, Leverton said. Proezna Schouler’s Spring ’19 collection—with denim dresses topped off with denim kerchiefs—and the latest slouchy Western looks by Isabel Marant sum up the European rodeo look, she added.

Other ’80s accents include offbeat brights, archival seam details, diagonal designs, color blocking, structured shoulders and creased front jeans. Trotman described the look as a “tailored feel through a denim lens.”

Logos and bold branding come into play with the trend’s relaxed athleisure side, which Trotman said lives on as hybrid styles. Tear-away pants, denim and jersey jackets, elasticized accents, jean shorts with sporty piping and varsity letters are key. The trend also hints to a revival of American prep like rubgy and polo shirts.

The trend works, Trotman said, because millennials are turning to brands they’re familiar with from their childhood but didn’t get to enjoy to the fullest.

Ironic Oughties

Building off last season’s “Millennium Blues” story, Leverton described “Ironic Oughties” as the more ironic and cheesy offshoot that’s being led by youth-driven brands. Here, bad taste is so bad that it’s good, she added.

Raver-style jeans with wide legs and high waists, layered denim jackets and jeans with double waist bands are among the more eccentric denim concepts in this trend. However, the theme really comes to life through coatings, embellishments and prints.

Steel gray, white, black and icy indigos capture the futuristic idea people had about fashion for the new millennium, Leverton said. The Y2K base colors are popped with fuchsia, bright green, resin coatings and metallic finishes, which Trotman urged brands to consider using as unique branding opportunities.

Lurex weaves, rhinestones, mirror-like metallics, organza overlays and iridescent sparkle add a youthful touch. Meanwhile, corset seaming, destroyed surfaces and skin-baring, lace-up constructions deliver what Leverton described as a “trashed” look.

Snake and tiger prints add an edgy look, which Leverton noted can be redone as jacquards or burn outs for a fresher effect. Photo-real laser prints of faces, particularly of Hollywood stars, are also important.

Brands from late ’90s and early 2000s, such as True Religion, Diesel, Ed Hardy and Von Dutch, have an opportunity to make a play here, thanks in part to celebrities like super model Bella Hadid, who recently teamed up with True Religion for a Fall ’18 collection and has been sporting the label.

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