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Globally, people have become aware of the negative impact the global fashion industry has on the environment, people and animals. Four billion jeans are being produced worldwide every year. Only 63% of them are sold. It can take 7,000 liters of more to make just one pair of jeans. On average, conventional jeans productions uses 0,8 to 1,8 Kg of chemicals per pair. Before that, 6 kg of chemicals are used per kilogram of cotton. Do we need to make counts to understand how polluting is the denim industry?
We are convinced that jeans can become one of the most environmentally friendly products and create a cleaner industry and environment for future generations. A clean conscience is getting more expressive as never before in this industry. The blue has to be green, or not be.
From 17th to 19th May, Denim Premère Vision showed how the jeans of the future will be. The event brings together 90% of the denim industry in one place (Arena Berlin). After two years of pandemic, exhibitors and organicers were very excited. "It has been two years in which the denim industry has come a long way. Most of the developments are directed towards sustainability, be it through materials, technologies used for finishing and now, more than ever, those that indicate the traceability of the garments" - declared to Luxiders Magazine Fabio Adami Dalla Val, the show’s director. We asked him, “how can we know our jeans are sustainable?”. “Make questions. It is not where they are done? It is how and who did them.” - he answered.
Indeed, we found novel designs and ideas opening doors for upcycling, down cycling, recycling and repurposing denim. Hybrid crossings of unexpected universes, subtle and surprising textile combinations, hybrid genres, materials, styles and uses…
But, how will be the jeans we will be wearing in the coming years? Keep on reading.
The Trends fashion area at Denim Premère Vision was a hybrid space to fully absorb the season and discover the Denim exhibitors' key products via fabric samples, finished products and accessories. There, we discovered that denim takes into account the beauty of the journey, and exploits the creative potential of the worn, damaged. Brands are using upcycling surplus textiles, sourced from local recycling circuits, retracing the route, revealing the origin. They are also evolving behaviors and innovative blends of natural fibres. We see the grown of a new rusticity and suppleness with surprising and seductive handles. Also fantasy acts as a chameleon, revealing multifaceted styles.
Regenerative cotton makes its way into collection, with products certified with Regenagri, ensuring good agricultural practices. It is cotton recycled chemically. Hemp was everywhere, bringing true natural visuals. Interesting is also Circulose, "a branded dissolving pulp product that Renewcell makes from 100% textile waste, such as worn-out jeans and production scraps” - says Lorenza Martello, Product Manager at Premiere Vision.
We found raw denims in 100% cotton, sometimes blended with wool for warmer winter suits. There were also products truly sophisticated with blends of lyocell and hemp, also mix recycled cotton with polyester.
Natural dyes are increasingly found in proposals for next winter 2023/24. The search for new colors is a new way to stand out. Chemical-free dyes made from clay, plants and edible foods are favored. We really liked those proposal coming with colors directly derived from recycled fibres, giving blue-greyish delicate shades to products.
Traceability was the key word for denim exhibitors. We found lots of tools developed to assist their desire for transparency with DNA tracers, the use of blockchains and QR codes. In this respect, most developments are still in the process of development. For the time being, the information provided by these technologies is not enough if they really intend to trace the whole life of the product.
Factories’ waste can be turned into accessories with labels, ribbons made from 100% postindustrial denim. Also recycling components remains a major challenge. Exhibitors offered solutions with screw-on metal parts and reinforced seams instead of rivets.
Patchworks are deconstructed with frayed edges and overlapping patches. It is all about a spontaneous spirit, with a sense of mended and patched-up pieces.
Regarding the design, weaves are accentuated with stripes and herringbones. There is a play on scale, alternating widths to create dynamic visuals. Geometry is back in denim constructions and motifs and comes in every possible version. Motifs create optical effects, fancy weaves give texture and 3D surfaces to fabrics. Also diamond shapes are widely used, delivered in laser prints, jacquards and dobby weaves.
Blends between denim and non-denim are also on the rise. Attractive combinations on big, wide jackets to accentuate the volume or highlight details. In this case, fabrics surfaces are used to express an opinion or a point of view. Laser prints, jacquards and patchworks are placed or all-over for statement pieces.
On the other hand, jeans are decorated with laser-printed, needlepunched or hand-printed natural motifs. Foliage is eye-catching and proposed in darker versions.
Also interesting is that tones lean to dirty, damaged pinks. A star color for the season in duo with blue. Dyes look aged, eroded by time. Dyes head towards greyish browns and greens, giving spotlight to earthy and natural tones. A grunge feel returns to denim with fabrics that have lived, full of wear and tear.
Tangled yarns for 100% cotton fake furs. Fluffy and hairy looks are messy, creating textile knots. Volumes are exaggerated.
A NEW KIND OF BLUE
A New Kind of Blue is a Berlin based design studio looking for locally embedded solutions to global problems with the starting point in circular economy. The studio is founded by material and product designer Tim van der Loo and Techno-Anthropologist Sandra Nicoline Nielsen. They strive towards rethinking the notion and aesthetics of recycled materials and creating truly circular product life cycles.
A New Kind of Blue is offering a new way of manufacturing jeans. It explores how discarded jeans can be integrated in novel routes in circular economy, aesthetics and production processes. The aim of this project is to demonstrate that worn-out jeans can become part of new and continuous material flows and re-transformed into jeans again. The technologies involved include forming recycled textile fleeces and using digitally aided industrial embroidery to create new expressions in circular fashion.
Under the spotlight “Iconic by nature”, ISKO’s showed a concept that illustrates the company’s journey of evolution led by its signature Responsible Innovation approach. On this occasion, ISKO launches its 2023 Collection Vol.2. It contains recycled materials, and the majority consists of R-TWOTM50+ fabrics made with a minimum of 50% recycled fibers, entirely GRS certified, resulting in less use of natural resources and a reduced carbon and water footprint of up to 45% and 65% respectively. An important and responsible development of this collection is that it features denim containing recycled and/or regenerated fibers, through unique fiber technology significantly saving on resources and energy while allowing for controlled traceability along the supply chain.
Also ISKO’s partnership with PAOLO GNUTTI, featuring exclusive creations for the luxury segment, merging sustainable and innovative fashion with new premium aesthetics.
ORTA launched the first NFT as denim mill for the denim industry of a retro-future denim design of universal utility-wear for people made of 100% regenerative cotton. Called The Blueskyer NFT, it is minted by Tezos, an energy-efficient proof of stake blockchain whose carbon footprint after 50 million annual transactions “was similar to the average annual carbon footprint of only 17 people” according to an LCA assessment of the company’s carbon footprint.
Developed in collaboration with Muse VR, the ORTA Blueskyer NFT features the 100% regenerative denim utilitarian suit rising from a technorganic garden towards the blueskies above. The Blueskyer is the first NFT representing ORTA’s commitment to creating and supporting the #iamablueskyer movement that captures the spirit of the new generation of designers, artists, creators, climate advocates and more who aim to cancel climate change, eliminate waste, rewild biodiversity and improve social equity.
ORTA also recognizes in a time where climate anxiety is a real threat to global mental health, that a more optimistic vision of our future has to be championed by all.