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This Mill May Have Hit on the Next Big Trend in Denim

Denim has been tiptoeing away from stretch and skinny in favor of more rigid, vintage styles, but some consumers can’t let go of the comfort that came with the more pliable pants.

Seazon, it seems, has a answer.

Debuting their warp stretch denim for the first time at Intertextile Shanghai last week, the high-end denim fabric developer (more formally known as Foshan Seazon Textile and Garment Co.) based in the Guangdong Zengcheng area of China called the concept its “secret weapon.”

Instead of the four-way stretch that’s also a big trend in denim and part of Seazon’s repertoire, too, these jeans stretch in the warp, meaning they stretch vertically instead of horizontally, avoiding the puckering around rips and holes that are evidence of a spandex presence.

“Warp stretch looks like rigid, but it’s actually comfortable,” the company’s marketing director, RuYi Zhong, said. “We always want to be one step ahead than the others.”

Seazon, which counts H&M, Lucky Brand Jeans, Levi’s, Zara and Scotch & Soda among its customers, and lets its full-fledged technology and R&D department lead the way to the market, has seen the changing trends in denim. Consumers are increasingly seeking four-way stretch, vintage looks and much wider legs than have been popular in recent years.

In considering those trends, the company acknowledged men’s greater preference for more stretch in their denim, while noting that women have opted for the more rigid looks—though they still don’t want to sacrifice on comfort.

“Because we have so many stretch garments, it’s difficult to go back to rigid,” Zhong said, signaling the athleisure trend as playing a big role in the company’s latest development.

So far, the warp stretch denim, which Zhong said couldn’t be found at any other exhibitors in the show’s Beyond Denim zone, has been a hit with buyers and brands. Some have already started sampling the fabric.

“We see customers giving very good feedback and they think it’s a brilliant idea,” Zhong said. “Denim is no longer the workers’ wear, simple wear. We consider it’s very fashionable as well. Whatever other pants can do, denim can do.”