While many denim brands choose to sit back and bemoan about activewear encroaching on its territory—and will continue to do so until, or if, the buzz surrounding activewear dies down—the godfather of denim, Adriano Goldschmied, is actively pursuing a solution. The Diesel co-founder is putting steps in place to promote a new stretch fabric he said will bring “a new level of comfort” to the denim world.
The concept is simple: to have a fabric that is made in indigo, taking on all the looks and washes that denim brands do on jeans, but with the performance attributes and fits that are generally synonymous with activewear. Goldschmied said the new material, made from the cotton yarns that are rope dyed in indigo and mixed with polyester and “a lot of Spandex” is developed with a “very denim” process. Except, instead of using the regular looms, he uses circular machines. “Technically it is a real knit,” Goldschmied explained.
The end product is an extremely comfortable material that retains denim-like qualities, however, offers stretch in all directions and lets jeans designers expand their repertoire of designs to include leggings, tops and more. Depending on the season, the material can be made dark and rich, or vintage and bleached. Laser or discharge prints can also be applied. Goldschmied added, “Construction is typical of sport items, but washes like jeans.” And like denim, the material can be premium, but also much more volume-oriented, depending on the brand and the design approach.
So far, industry response has been positive from both high-end and more commercial brands, but Goldschmied quipped, “Unfortunately, many [brands] are still sleeping on the skinny jean.” For an industry that when it sees change, it is often driven by innovation, Goldschmied doesn’t expect denim to go backward or lose its cool factor entirely anytime soon, but he also sees no end in sight for consumers’ demand for comfort.
“It is imperative to create a new identity that fits the DNA of a jean brand, but also creates a new segment that is more close to the actual trends and the new women’s lifestyle,” he said. And don’t count men out of this movement—Goldschmied said they want to be comfortable too.
“I think that if you don’t bring innovation, sooner or later you are a loser,” Goldschmied said. He added, “[Brands] have to find the way to make a unique interpretation of the new trends, and also do it according to the speed that the market requires. If you forfeit, it’s bad for you. There are so many [other brands] ready to take your position.”