Casual denim, in the last few years, has given way to a more relaxed wear such as yoga pants and jeggings. People prefer to buy latest fabric technology such as five-pocket trousers in extra stretch materials and trendier style variations. The industry is innovating denim with renewed focus. Designers are developing clothes with added properties to create ‘technical’ denim. The younger generations are adopting the garment with a whole new identity, while the older ones are giving it a much-needed fillip with new styles and designs.
Levi’s, which had to face rough weather for some time, reported an 8 per cent rise in revenue in 2017, making the year its strongest growth period since 2011. Besides, PVH which owns two of the world’s biggest denim-focused labels Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger also posted remarkable growth in the jeans category.
New denim trends
A fashion trend currently making headlines is performance wear, with everyone from luxury players Ermenegildo Zegna,to Patagonia and Wrangler investing in this premium category. Aamir Akhtar, CEO, Denims, Arvind Ltd recently unveiled the company’s new denim collection that displayed new ways of dyeing as well as products like their Boomerang 360 Denim, which offer extreme stretch and high-recovery capabilities.
When it comes to demand, the concept of gender is undergoing a sea change. The notion that body-hugging jeans are for women, and men prefer loose fits, is being completely reversed. Women are opting for straight fits like boyfriend jeans and rugged overalls, whereas men are going for the lean fits. In terms of styles, high waists and tapered hems are the major upcoming trends.
The denim industry is considered to be one of the worst polluters of environment; the biggest culprit being the sweet water used to produce a pair of simple jeans. To overcome this, innovative solutions such as dry ice cleaning and ozone washing, etc are being used. Industry leaders are innovating with sustainable dyeing and washing solutions like ikat, ozone wash and indigo to develop eco-conscious processes.
The main reason behind the huge popularity of upcycled denim is its ability to survive the worst of wear and tear. Manufacturers therefore, are creating hybrid weaves besides mixing up different washes in the same garment for modern looking cuts. Two-tone denim and blends with fibres like elastane and lyocell are dominating majorly.
An Indian touch
A great Indian value addition on denim is embroidery. Research suggests that just like the teen-favourite movie Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants, embroidery focusing on travel and themes of escapism is likely to thrive. References to global cultures, especially the Middle East and weaving patterns from antique African cultures will also serve as great inspiration boards. Patchwork that takes a dig at heirlooms and kitschy all-over paisleys or bandana in all-over prints can be used with simpler denims to create balanced jackets and statements tops. Designers can also work on contrast stitching on dark tint denims for simple but trend-embedded jeans.
Most of the denim’s appeal comes from it’s worn out, old-world look. Customers today are shying away from overpowering washes and raw appeal of pure denim. A hint of preppy but mostly just plain silhouette denim focus is coming to the fore.