Share & Shake – Best of Denim Session 1

By Sabine Kühnl & Maria Cristina Pavarini — November 08, 2016

It was the premiere for “Share & Shake”, a series of denim workshops, happening during Denim Première Vision in Paris and organized by the denim trade show together with SPORTSWEAR INTERNATIONAL.

During four sessions experts from the denim industry talked to SI’s editor-in-chief Sabine Kühnl and senior editor Maria Cristina Pavarini about the future of the denim business and tackled various aspects-from product innovations up to consumer preferences in jeans.

Here is a ‘best of quotes’ we noticed during these exciting and inspiring meeting. Our series starts with the review of Session 1:





Beyond Stretch

The debut session was dedicated to innovations in fibers, technologies & treatments and featured denim expert and long-time industry veteran Piero Turk:

On the denim market

“I am worried about the denim market. There might be about 500 mills around the world, and it’s still becoming more, and there are also more retailers-mainly chains-but there are less brands. So there is an overflow of material and denim product. This creates a pressure for the mills. The chains don’t care about the price, they want it cheaper and cheaper. So the mills lose their margins, which finally results in less money to invest in new products.“

“In Europe there used to be a middle-class who was able to spend a bit. Today, this middle-class is dead. The brands that I used to know from my youth are also gone.“

A few years ago this was unthinkable, but now, denim has clearly entered a new era. “This new movement is part of the Well performance trend“, summarizes international denim expert Michelle Branch, at the last Trend Tasting at Denim Première Vision in Barcelona. “Here, technology plays an important role in adding unique features to the product.”

On stretch denim

“There seems to be a competition between the mills to come out with new stretch qualities, it’s stretch-only. Of course, comfort and fit are important, but honestly, I think this is quite boring because it only caters the product categories of skinny jeans and leggings. There is no room for anything new. And how many leggings and skinny jeans can a young girl own? In contrast, for me fashion is about a different idea: Garments shall have their own shape.”

“For me there is also a cultural aspect about this whole stretch trend. It still serves this stereotype about how men want to see women-wearing high heels and tight jeans. There seems to be only this ONE image about women. But isn’t it time for a new image?”

“If there is a revolution going on, it is rather women wearing more and more men’s denim in rigid materials than men turning to women’s characteristic products such as stretch qualities.”

On the athleisure trend

“There is no way in denim to compete with the cost of making a yoga pant, it’s just much cheaper to produce them. Still, it can be interesting for the mills to have sports brands as clients-they offer such a wide range of product today so also denim products are interesting for them.”

On sustainability and ethics

“The most sustainable jeans is an unwashed one made of organic cotton. Not treated with anything, no chemicals, no water, no nothing.”

“Sustainability should be something you do for yourself, not for the others-just like taking a shower in the morning because it feels better for you and not because you want to smell good for the others. It’s simply a matter of choice.”

“If a pair of jeans costs 10 Dollars, it’s obvious who pays the cost for it: it’s the worker in the factory. This cheap price is paid by the low cost of labor. And it’s not that the industry doesn’t understand that-they don’t WANT to understand.”

“Our industry is so advanced and fast-forward. So how can it be that we still have jeans produced like 150 years ago? The mills have to change this direction, also to save money.”

On innovative products

“Cotton will remain very important, despite of all new fibers that mills work with. You need cotton if you want your denim to fade. Because that’s in the end what makes denim special.”

“80% of all these new products that are presented each season are not really needed. The mills show that just to show something new and of course because their sales people always want something new. But no-one needs most of these new products. That’s the reality.”

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