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Barcelona: Athletic and Activewear Dominate Denim by Premiere Vision

The international denim community converged in Barcelona May 21-22 for Denim by Premiere Vision. The event showcased the Fall/Winter 2015 collections from more than 90 leading mills and exhibitors to more than 4,400 attendees–a 45 percent increase from the previous May edition held in Paris. Attendees included representatives from Gap, Hugo Boss, Levi’s, Miss Sixty, Target, Ralph Lauren and more.

Buoyed by a new city, a vibrant Latin culture and a bright, open show floor, Lenzing USA Senior Merchandising Manager, Tricia Carey, described the show’s atmosphere as upbeat and inspiring. “Denim is a creative field and this is where you saw denim as an art,” she said.

Don’t underestimate the impact of a new location, Henry Wong, director of product development and marketing for Artistic Fabric Mills, U.S. (AFM) said. “Barcelona is a passionate and colorful city, just want the denim industry needs. Plus Paris, from its hotels, taxi fare to food is a lot more expensive,” he explained.

Strong sales and interest in the athletic and activewear categories influenced denim design and innovation, Carey reported. Sweatshirt-inspired styles and garments with sporty ribbed bands were trending. As a result, an insurgence of woven constructions that resembled French terry on the back featured predominately in collections. With its flexible, comfortable, stretch and recovery properties, Carey said faux knit denim could replace jeggings. Other styles were brushed on the back with a cozy fleece-like hand.

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A mid-weave by AFM, reintroduced in three shades, generated interest from product developers in the sport category, Wong reported. “It looks like a knit, but has the appearance of a sweatshirt fabric. It’s funky, but wearable. Woven and not a knit,” he described, noting that a distinct twill line kept the denim look intact.

Comfort and softness continued to drive collections, from fiber down to yarn, weave construction and wash, Carey noted. Sateen weaves remain strong. Supersoft with stretch and recovery using Dualfx expanded to more mill collections.

While coated denim was trending for men (thanks to recent fashion editorials), Wong noticed it appeared to be fading out of the women’s category. “Soft hands, soft fabrics continue to be the big trend and Lenzing is really helping us out with those products,” he said. Printed and color denim is losing steam too. Instead, Carey said, attention is being redirected to true clean black for a refined look, and Lenzing Modal colors that provide lasting color.

Similarly, AFM debuted its EverDark denim collection, a new line of fade-resistant denim in indigo, black and gray. After 30 home laundry tests, the denim experienced no color change. Wong expects it could even withstand 40 washes. “We just ran out of time,” he quipped. “Every single designer to come into our booth looked at this and said they wanted this, from U.S. to Europe,” he added.

AFM also launched a new indigo dyeing technique inspired by its Pakistan heritage. Coined Ajrak Technology, after the indigo-dyed fabric popularized during the 17th century in the Indus Valley, Wong said the company was inspired by craftsmen who dipped materials slowly and often to create rich hues. AFM applied these lessons back at their mills.

“We dye the whole garment in indigo at a much slower than normal speed,” Wong explained. “What you have is a really beautiful shade of blue you can’t get otherwise. It has a nice sheen and luster,” he described. The new technique garnered a lot of attention from customers, but the executive noted many were priced out.

For the first time, the largest audience at the show was Spanish, followed by professionals from Turkey and Italy. The show reported a significant number of attendees from Germany, the Netherlands and Portugal, as well as a spike in visitors from the United States and Brazil. “We saw very few attendees from China, but that is just the nature of the show and says a lot about the market,” Wong stated. The next edition in Barcelona will take place Nov. 19-20.

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