Bluezone denim and innovation curator Panos Sofianos fosters collaboration between legacy denim mills and tech start-ups.
For many, trade shows are a product of the old league—a dog and pony show that has just one objective: sales.
However, during his three years as the denim and innovation curator for Bluezone and Keyhouse for Munich Fabric Start, Panos Sofianos has created an industry event that honors denim’s heritage, while embracing its future. And in doing so, he’s helping break down the barrier between tradition and technology.
His curation fosters collaborations, allowing legacy denim mills to mingle with fashion tech-startups, and for attendees to be schooled on the hot topics of tomorrow.
“Our dedication to serve innovation and sustainability clusters gives our show a new identity,” he said. Moreover, Sofianos is a believer. “I am totally obsessed by working on sustainable projects and consulting mills to choose the right path to responsible production.”
Why are you drawn to denim?
My passion for denim was born as a teenager when I bought a pair of flare jeans made with Cone Denim’s Pinto denim. I fell in love with the unusual look of the fabric. And I supposed denim is in my genes. My mother’s hobby to customize used clothing made me sensitive about circular fashion. Years after working in product development, I realized the mistake we made by ignoring environmental issues, so I decided to dedicate myself to help the industry become less polluting and less reliant on overconsuming resources. Nowadays, I am obsessed by working on sustainable projects.
How can the supply chain improve the way it communicates sustainable technology to brands?
With strong ethics and education. We must communicate the ‘why’ and the ‘how.’
How do you think the denim supply chain will change in the next 10 years?
It’s a period of dramatic changes. Artificial intelligence, automation and blockchain will affect fabric and apparel manufacturing. And I foresee a world of local production with less global transportation that is greener.
What makes the denim supply chain different from other apparel sectors?
The multiplicity of the fabric, which continues to grow with the help of dry treatment methods, like laser and ozone. Denim designers are forced to try more things, but we still missed the design revolution that happened in the sneaker industry, though I am optimistic to see the next generation do more iconoclastic things. If we have the iPhone, why not have the iDenim or iJeans?
What’s exciting you about denim in 2019?
The big chain stores that embrace sustainability as the one and only choice for the years to come, the addition of new cotton alternative fibers, the end of the wear-and-tear trend and the rise of small custom-made denim brands.