By Angela Velasquez
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Denim Première Vision’s first in-person show since December 2019 last week in Milan provided the mostly Italian crowd a first look at Spring/Summer 2023 collections from predominantly Turkish denim mills. Though industry events have yet to fully snap back to their pre-pandemic global nature due to travel restrictions and health concerns, the trade show buzzed with energy, networking, and order-taking.
Billed as a show that would place product back to the forefront, the Denim Première Vision fashion team did just that with a “trend agora” crafted from sustainable materials including multi-purpose insulation board made from wood fiber set up at the entrance. There, three S/S ’23 themes were displayed, highlighting Y2K-themed embellishments, everyday utility and athleisure hybrids, as well as the industry-wide effort to use virgin cotton alternatives such as hemp, recycled cotton and 100 percent constructions to streamline recycling.
Those themes and more were presented across the show floor at Superstudio Piú.
A suite of fabric innovations revealed how Prosperity Textiles is thinking about denim’s long-term impact on the environment. Plant-based polyester is the key ingredient in Prosperity’s Galactic collection, which provides consistent elasticity and recovery. The Chinese mill also presented Once More, a line of salt-and-pepper effect fabrics, made in collaboration with Sodra, a Swedish company that blends wood pulp with up to 20 percent recycled textiles to make rayon.
A companion collection called Leave No Trace combines Södra’s Once More technology with CiClo, an additive technology that allows synthetic fibers to behave more like natural fibers when they end up as pollutants in the environment.
Having a plant to recycle its own fibers is a boon to Sharabati Denim’s expanding assortment of fabrics with recycled yarn. The company, which has facilities in Turkey and Egypt, presented a collection inspired by hope and optimism and dense with post-industrial recycled cotton as well as post-consumer recycled cotton, organic cotton and Tencel.
Kassim, which recently established its own indigo manufacturing plant powered by solar energy to help bypass supply chain disruptions and speed up and control production, is also investing deeply into virgin cotton alternatives, particularly recycled cotton. The Pakistan-based company partnered with U.S.-based Circular System, a company the transforms textile and food waste into reusable fibers. The collaboration’s final products are fabrics made with 100 percent recycled cotton. The mill also showed fabrics made with recycled modal, Tencel x Refibra and hemp sourced from France.
Materials made with 100 percent recycled fibers like pre- and post-consumer cotton and Eco Lycra—form Calik’s new Re-J collection. The collection, according to Selen Baltaci, the mill’s senior marketing communications executive, includes the best vintage-looking fabrics made with recycled components by the mill to date and is available in but power stretch and super stretch varieties.
Calik is also working to meet the demand for hemp fabrics as well. The Turkish mill presented fabrics made with up to 20 percent hemp and available in all levels of elasticity. Softness-enhancing fibers like Tencel and modal were common companions to the notoriously rough fiber.
Hemp and other natural fibers continued to be a hot topic. Prosperity showcased organic hemp denim dyed with Dystar’s pre-reduced indigo. Maritas Denim featured up to 50 percent cottonized hemp blends in its collection, as well as fabrics with bamboo. Bossa’s Future Healing collection is home to fabrics made with hemp and soybean fibers.
Hemp was also key to create Kipas’ fabrics with a realistic vintage appearance. The mill is using up to 20 percent hemp in its fabrics, as well as BCI, organic cotton and cotton elastane that can be recycled down the road.
Kassim’s garment division, meanwhile, touted its Blue Snow—a zero-gas and less water-intensive solution to traditional washing processes now used for most of its production. By replacing water with a “smart foam,” Kassim cuts its water usage by 80 percent. Additionally, the room-temperature treatment requires less energy.
Along with the environmental benefits, Blue Snow allows production capacity to increase up to three times, and unlike machines that require water, the machine’s door can be reopened. This allows workers to check on the washing results throughout the process.
With demand for vintage-looking jeans rising, Officina+39 sought a way to give new jeans the appearance of worn-in pairs. At the show the Italian company bowed NovaScrapper Indigo, a processes that uses laser instead of manual scraping to achieve natural aging effects. The company says it delivers “unparalleled quality and accuracy, requiring less manpower and less rejection rate when compared to manual scraping.”
The show was an opportunity for Soko Chemicals to highlight Black Magic, the Italian company’s efforts to make black denim greener. The sulphur black bleaching technology achieves the same washdown results in one single bath versus the two to four that conventional processes typically require. As a result, Black Magic allows users to reduce water using less steam and saving time in production. It also helps to preserve the fabric from shrinkage and loss of tearing stress.
Elleti Group’s extensive denim archive was at the center of two projects at Denim Premiere Vision. The Italian garment manufacturer replicated two vintage jeans from the archive by using sustainable processes, including WiserWash’s patented washing method that eliminates the use of pumice stone and harmful chemicals while reducing water usage. The company inked a deal with WiserWash parent company Wiser Global to license the technology last December. Elleti also presented an AI-generated gallery of historic pieces that attendees could virtually tour through their smartphone or tablet.
The market’s heightened focus on rigid constructions and loose fits hasn’t nixed stretch from the conversation entirely.
In fact, Bossa marketing chief Özge Özsoy sees orders from clients split right down the middle, with some ordering rigid fabrics and others seeking super-stretch qualities.
Naveena Denim Mills spotlighted its Self-Fit fabric technology that make jeans that will fit two sizes up and down. Part of the mill’s Wraptech 2.0 family of stretch fabrics, Self-Fit is made possible by yarn engineering and Lycra T-400 fibers, which minimize the level of constraint against the body. Along with offering consumers adaptability and comfort, the revolutionary technology means fewer product returns, less restocking expenses, and better inventory management for brands and retailers.
Options with high elasticity made up Sharabati Denim’s Smooth Operator collection. The line included fabrics with a twisted warp that makes a smoother surface, as well as 100 percent Tencel shirting fabrics and 5-7 oz. fabrics that work for both tops and breezy wide-leg bottoms. The mill’s Sweet Escape range offered a more playful approach to denim fashion with various stripes, crosshatch effects and pops of coral and peach.
Lightweight fabrics and retro marble effects were key stories in Iskur’s collection. The strong return of classic ’90s looks and colors are evident. The Turkish weaver concept, Roots, uses dyestuff extracted from plant roots. Bossa was home to a deep range of outdoor-inspired colors like sage green, orange, terracotta and ecru. The mill’s Nomadic Tourist spoke to the desire to travel once again, with durable fabrics intended to be lived in day after day.
Neutral colors from Maritas came straight from the earth. The Terra Denim collection, which offers fabrics in various beige and gray tones, is dyed with clay sourced from Turkey. The mill also showcased Smart Raw, a range of raw fabrics with double the color fastness compared to most other raw fabrics. The result is denim that is brighter and has long-lasting color, as well as enhanced breathability.
DNM Denim took a cooler approach to color with ash blue, a new gray-blue hue from the Turkey-based mill. The color, as well fabrics with a soft hand feel and open-end looks, were among its most popular styles at the show, a rep stated.
The show was not without statement pieces. Jacquard with tropical foliage motifs and power stretch satin gabardine mixed with floral prints were among the fancy fabrics presented by Italian fabric producer Delago.
Some of the boldest belonged to Italy-based Fashion Art, the go-to production source developing denim concepts for designer labels like Balmain. The firm works with high-end labels to bring their sketches to life from fabric to production. Heavy destruction and felted wool panels layered over raw denim were among the wildest looks, while denim epaulettes on a gabardine trench were subtly effective. In general, denim combined with other fabrics like jacquard, tweed and silky nylon with a denim appearance are in demand, a company rep said.
PG Denim didn’t miss the opportunity to impress either. The denim manufacturer unveiled two couture dresses made in partnership with designer Barbara Corradini and the opera house Teatro Regio of Parma. The dresses were modeled after what historical figure Maria Luigia, Napoleon’s second wife, would wear in the modern age. With hand embroidery and metallic threads, the collaboration demonstrated denim’s growing presence in haute couture collections.
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