The Denim Report 2016
The Denim Report 2016
In this season, the denim offering is wide and qualitative: selvedge denim for purists, power stretch for trendsetters, washed-out effect for the 70s wind blowing around the fashion world, and eco-friendly for green and ethical brands. Little did one know that the fabric would ingratiate itself in the mainstream so decidedly as to become the uniform of generations post the 80s. Irrespective of whether you belong in the 1% or the 99, your age bracket or your cultivated tastes, denim has been part of everyone’s wardrobe.
It’s a 60 billion dollar market for retailers alone and designers are keen to partake a piece of this massive pie. It helps that the fabric is the ‘people pleaser’ – it will readily turn into anything one likes. Numerous innovations and fabric infusions such as khadi-denim, silk-denim, 3D textures and laser and ozone finishes change its face beyond comprehension, and this, once street-style, turns sophisticated enough to form a cocktail dress.
Sustainability has been a long-standing buzzword but there is ever-newer growth in this direction. As the trend for distressed jeans diminishes, the dyeing process becomes less dependent on chemical sprays and resins. Multiple brands are opting to use 100% organic cotton and natural dye. Artisanal products go for untreated metal zippers and rivets, making it non-toxic.
Chemical companies’ enthusiasm for change is making them to associate with leading jeans manufacturers to bring about major savings in key materials, energy, water usage, waste and emission reductions, and ensuring your right to operate in communities around the world.
As denim continues to evolve each season, an untapped resource it has got into is Athleisure and High Performance. The fabric is increasingly used in a lighter version for jogger pants, workout wear and shape wear due to its lycra-denim stretch ability. It is waterproof, stain-proof and ideal for negotiating the concrete jungle for the urban warrior. Levi’s Commuter has already developed a water-repellent fabric with paraffin coated fibre.
As the 90s become a roaring trend, there is talk of tie up with net-a-porter to resurrect the classic 501s. The 90s have given rise to another hyper trend: Artisanal jeans. Not only are they eco-friendly but also made in handlooms and are hyper local. The focus is on slow manufacturing and season less/vintage products. Ande Whall in New Zealand and Story Mfg. in Britain are the fountainheads of the trend. Huit, a Welsh brand even has artisanal jeans broken in for their clients before it goes on sale.
The versatile fabric is going from pants to jackets to dress and finally, tops. These are not your run-of-the-mill denim shirts either but proper feminine tops with abstract design concepts. Gone are the button-downs and in its place are unusual proportions, kimono style collars, funnel neck T-shirts. Tibi does a wrap over shirt in indigo, Loewe goes futuristic and Almeida incorporates constructed details with shredded hemlines.
Moschino and Karen Walker trotted out heavy-duty versions of the shirtdress in their A/W collection. A more rigid version is used to construct A-line shapes that stop short of the knee. The heavy fabric is the perfect defence against the winter.
We have been waiting for the skinny jeans to die a public death and it is going to happen. To be replaced by its trendier cousin from the 70s, the jean will be a softer, looser version. Trouser pleats and creases do volume control and jet pockets sit flat on the hip. The shape is parallel to the leg and you can pair it up with chunky knits for an authentic 70s vibe.
With boyfriend jeans already setting the trend for borrowing from the boys, jackets are next in line. Roomy outerwear with multiple pockets and hoodies, the proportions are an ideal contradiction to the delicate feminine figure even as they provide volume for multiple pockets. Due to the dramatic silhouette, the fabric has been kept subtle with strategic cuts, glossy tencel mixes and sombre denim tones.
Starting off as humble work wear, the overall has climbed its way up the trend ladder. This year multiple versions have made their presence felt – all in durable denim. Moschino does a multi-patch version, making it rugged and eccentric at the same time. Digitally printed abstract florals, apron silhouettes, slim fits make it a far cry from what denim overalls originally looked like.
The epitome of sophistication, the pencil skirt has been given an edgy makeover with denim. Seen across the runways, Sea does classic 70s style with front curved pockets. There is asymmetric pleating, buttoned down skirts reminiscent of the classic Levi’s button fly, panelled looks and obscure proportions which have made the office wear street-chic.
All Tied Up
A major styling element on the runways of S/S 2015, broad belts were a major influence, ranging from trench coat style wrap-ties to Marques Almeida’s origami inspiration. Pertinent for the winter, these create a feminine silhouette by cinching the waist. Philip Lim pays homage to the 90s with his throwback styling and Karen Walker uses parallel vertical zipper details to add height.
Stitch In Time
Spotted earlier among the boys, the fine tailored look of a denim blazer seems to be translating into feminine lines. Sharply cut blazers have been smoothed to accentuate the feminine shape even as double-breasted pea coats and well-constructed jackets work well with the rigidity of the denim. An added sheen makes it formal enough for work wear and yet casual because it’s jeans.
Jackets with shearling accents hark back to mid-90s Americana. Chloe goes for the Sherpa like details on the shoulders and Rachel Comey uses it as snug lining for the denim jacket. Raw to mid-cast indigos and tobacco stitching enhance the vintage feel. Lavish furs are generously place on sleeves, panels, trims or collars and they all work with denim to provide a cosy wintery nostalgia.
There are trench coats and then there are trench coats, and then there is the denim duster that no one wants to mess with. Taking off from the weightless kimono jacket trend doing the rounds, denim and sometimes chambray work as a convenient alternative for a casual throw on top of the regular outfit. Rachel Comey does the minimalist avatar, Joie brings us the polished evening coat with brass buttons and belt fastenings and Marco De Vincenzo goes hardcore denim with the raw and patched style.
Slicing It Up
Thigh high splits are not news in the fashion market but do that to denim skirts and you have a head turner in your hands. High-waisted pencil skirts with dramatic slices at Marquis Almeida, multiple splits and double-breasted details on the waist create movement and add femininity.
Not going full 70s yet, instead of the dramatic flare of the decade, the 2015 redux is a fitted flare that starts to billow but just stops short of becoming full blown. Fit-and-flare is the new exciting proportion in jeans. Ankle grazing or just above the ankle, some ends are left shredded for an authentic and youthful vibe while the others are a neat polished crop for a formal look.
As we look into the future everything becomes sleeker and shinier, even the originally rugged fabric of denim. Noted on the Autumn/Winter 2015-16 runways of Wes Gordon and Yang Li, soft tencel blends have been added in lush indigo and sleek black. This gives rugged denim a refined quality, making it a sophisticated fabric for the evening. Due to its fluidity it is going to be increasingly used in utilitarian clothing like overalls and shop coats.
D&G uses rhinestones on boyfriend jeans, making it girlie and androgynous at the same time. Ashish uses detailed stud applications over destroyed denims to create a denim encrusted pant-suit. Fausto Puglisi uses supernova-shaped metallic details to create a playful yet glamourous ensemble. Sass & Bide uses metallic studs with reinforced sashiko stitching to make an 80s glam biker jacket with metallics and sheen over surfaces are a clear indication that we are heading towards a sparkly trend that translates very well for day to night outfits.
Les Fleurs Du Mal
Flowers never go out of style, either they are moving in on T-shirts or dresses and now, our beloved jeans. Marc by Marc Jacobs goes bold and tropical is shades of blue in a William Morris oak leaf pattern, drawing inspirations from upholstery but still a very California laid back feel. It harks back to the usage of traditional pattern making vis-à-vis digital or photographic techniques. Rebecca Taylor also does flowers in blue but they are a fresher juxtaposition with whites. Marques Almeida goes goth with a blue rose print on slouchy denim that is our favourite.
Denim patchwork has been a staple of work wear, almost a stereotype for creating a carpenter/mason/trucker feel. Arising to the lofty standards of the runway, Moschino creates an overcoat with denim patchwork and gold accents that scream swag. Marco De Vincenzo adds authentic country vibes with his take on the denim overcoat and Ashley Williams uses denim patches on surfaces like knits and lycra to create a 90s punk vibe.