Yesterday, EDITD analysts were at Denim by Premiere Vision in Paris, talking to denim manufacturers and brands about the latest industry innovations and developments for AW 14/15. Pairing future techniques with commercial data from forward-thinking brands and retailers, we’re able to accurately assess when, and how hard-hitting, a trend will strike. Here’s a run-down of our findings from the day.
1. Laser Techniques
While lasers have previously been used for the whiskering effect on denim, the recent developments are far more exciting. We were impressed with the lasered prints and patterns shown by exhibitors, including LST, who showed a Pointillist-style floral. This trend has huge commercial potential, as the expertise required to execute means it will sit at a premium price point, creating demand, until mass market is able to develop ways to replicate the look for a lower budget. One early adopter of the trend is Liberty’s collaboration with Levis. Their £145 Kerr Bandana jeans arrived in store on the 20th April and have the traditional scarf print lasered onto the surface. ASOS’s manufacturing power has also allowed them to experiment with the technique; their £40 Mexicana laser print boyfriend jeans arrived at the end of February and are still in stock. Topshop’s first foray into the technique happily tied in with another trend for SS13; paisley print. Their £32 hotpants have sold through twice since their 27th February arrival in store. However, more timid retailers can let premium brands drive demand first, which in turn will help justify the price point.
2. Patchwork denim
Mixing denim fabrics and washes was a recurrent theme throughout the trade show, seen in patchwork form or spliced with leather or silk. This trend has undoubtably been influenced by Isabel Marant’s “hotchpotch” denim of AW11. Ashish’s AW 13/14 collection has given the trend further life with floor-length patchwork denim dungaree dresses. At Premiere Vision, styles were rough-edged and multi-shaded. This detail is heralded in 3.1 Phillip Lim’s SS13 collection, featuring patchwork denim. In terms of detail, patchwork surf trousers at £380 at Matches and a patchwork dress for £450 at Harvey Nichols have both sold well; the trousers have been restocked three times in select sizes since their March arrival, and the dress has sold out of all but one size within two weeks.
3. Knit effect denim
Knit effect denim felt truly new. Created either during the weaving process or after, the technique results in a softer and more malleable denim, with extensive stretch capabilities. Hantex displayed some of the finest, and we’re excited for the potential in this new development; it could tie in well with the jegging trend to add refinement and sophistication to premium styles.
4. Flocked denim
With the success of printed denim sales for SS13, retailers are well-placed to make updates to this trend with flocking techniques and, in doing so, lure consumers for a return spend. Flocking techniques were extremely popular throughout the show, with a focus on floral prints. The trend is yet to take off properly in mainstream retail (with a couple of exceptions, such as Grab’s $129 AUD flocked jeans at Myer) so there’s plenty of time to react to this, since we anticipate further popularity for AW 14/15.
5. Biker style
A key story for denim in AW 14/15 is the biker look; exhibitors throughout the show reinforced this with elbow and shoulder detailing, studs, quilting, patches and leather-effect trims. Crucially, this look has designer approval; for AW 13/14 3.1 Phillip Lim showed denim racing overalls covered in motoring patches and styled with a sleeveless leather jacket. The brand is a key influencer and will drive consumer demand. Selfridges is already stocking the trend, with a £140 Karen Millen asymmetric, zip-fastened denim biker dress came into stock on the 21st May. The retailer has also brought in the £245 grey denim Jovanna biker jacket from Karl Lagerfeld’s own line, Karl, at the start of May.
6. Multiple dye process
Speaking to exhibitors at the show revealed that many are phasing out their block-dyed denim, and introducing double, triple and even five-time dyed styles. These result in either super-bright shades or a purposefully dirty look where darker colours are mixed with lighter ones. Erba’s five-time dyed denims were especially eye-catching, whilst Realteks used their dyeing to create a double-sided effect, with a pop of contrasting colour revealed on the leg turn-up.
We’re always pleased to see eco-friendly developments in the industry, so were impressed by a new wine dyeing technique, “Wine-Tex”, shown by ITV Denim, which replaces the harmful synthetic dyes with wine derivatives. Recycled denim was also widely used throughout the show. These are encouraging signs from the denim industry that eco fashion is being embraced!
How do these up and coming trends compare to what’s selling currently? Check our post on the hottest trends in denim for SS13 to find out more!