Unexpected, unusual and perfectly imperfect are just some of the descriptions that will identify denim for Autumn/Winter 2018-19.
The traditional fabric will see new mashups and mixes, get new treatments and techniques and be worn in entirely new ways that haven’t been seen in seasons past.
Highlighting the biggest approaching denim trends at Premiere Vision Paris ahead of the big denim bash that will be Denim Premiere Vision in Paris Nov. 14-15, Fabio Adami Dalla Val, a denim expert who consults for PV, said denim for AW 18-19 will bring new textures in the fabrics, novel visual elements and three-dimensional construction.
“There will be unexpected blends, like wool and cotton, linen and cotton, for this season and we will have a lot of polyamide mixed with cotton, sometimes for a visual approach and sometimes also for performance,” Dalla Val said. Protection and fashion form a closer bond, with coated fabrics and blends with Cordura—which, Dalla Val said will be “very, very key” for the coming season—adding new strengths. “Fabric and clothes will offer a sense of protection first, which I think from a certain point of view is a key view, but it’s also giving a new dimension of our physical space.”
Soft touch will also be a focus for incoming denim trends, as will organic tones, reimagined stripes, staid traditions turned on their head, vintage concepts, artisanal effects, selvedge and original.
“We will find denim that’s matching with the sportswear and all the attitude that’s very strong on the market at the moment,” Dalla Val said.
[Read more on the denim market: Denim May Be Dominating, but It’s Also Getting Cheaper and Manufacturers Will Pay the Price]
Denim trends for AW 18-19 will follow six main concepts.
Whether it’s scratched or brushed or otherwise abraded, those effects will round out the Harsh Rusticity trend.
“The look is coming out from the mix that is done from the cotton and the wool and heavy brushing, and you can feel the sort of vintage on the fabric,” Dalla Val said.
There will be a new focus on accessories adding character to the fabric, like felt labels, which will be key to this trend.
“It’s about the freedom to play in unexpected ways,” Dalla Val said.
More than metallic threads, the Synthetic Shine denim trend will be about shiny membranes mixed with the fabric for a visual effect.
Denim will be seen in clear plastic vests with denim pocket inserts and in jacquard windowpane weave patterns with varied indigo tones.
“The sportswear influence is merging with the denim for a casual look and a more trendy look,” Dalla Val said.
Rigid will come with new interpretations for the Hard Shells denim trend.
Coatings will create rigid looks and waterproof effects, while also adding a three-dimensional quality to the denim, creating looks like built-in bunching at the cuffs.
Velvets are going to be big for denim in AW 18-19 as consumers look for even softer hands from their garments.
Printed and lightweight fabrics will be combined with modal and pocket designs will come with 3-D flocking for a feeling that’s equal parts soft and raw.
“The idea of softness found a lot of different interpretation,” Dalla Val said. Brushed fleece will find its way into denim linings, and that fleece will come in its original color—no dyeing involved—as more makers move in the direction of organic and sustainable offerings, which has been a major topic at recent European trade shows.
Whether it’s better dyeing processes, or less impactful manufacturing, denim makers are searching for cleaner ways to do what they do with denim.
“Sustainability is very important. We found everybody is working on sustainability…everybody is trying to do something,” Dalla Val said. “We found that in all the groups and all the trends, there is nothing so relevant. This is the mainstream at the moment of all the trends and all the suppliers.”
On the Edge
As it’s name would suggest, denim’s On the Edge trend will be about atypical edges.
Jeans will come with different leg lengths, one cuff turned inside out, the other outside in, colorblocking indigo to give the jeans an modern patchwork effect.
Layering will also be big, with the appearance of one pair of jeans laying over the other, the top layer being tied to the bottom at the ankles. There will also be pairs that look like denim shorts over denim pants, taking inspiration from sportswear and things like zip-away hiking pants.
Some denim elements will be largely exaggerated, like bellbottoms that are two-feet, or more, wide.
Reversibles will be big too, with one side of a denim jacket in light indigo and the other in dark, for an interesting two-tone effect regardless of how it’s worn, and reversible jeans will follow the same look.