JEANSWEAR & CONTEMPORARY FASHION
N° 82 / 2–2021
NEVER WENT AWAY
IS THIS THE FASHION REVOLUTION?
GERMANY 15.50 EUR REST OF EUROPE 17.50 EUR SWITZERLAND 20.00 CHF
HOW THE INDUSTRY BEGAN ITS TRANSFORMATION
THE JEANS CHINO
FIND YOUR PERFECT STRIPE. Spring/Summer Collection 2022 available from February 2022 www.alifeandkickin.com
Choose Life. Choose Sustainability. Choose Love. Choose Us. @alifeandkickin #WEAREALIFE
A rollercoaster ride of a year is drawing to a close. The first quarter was dominated by lockdowns and fear, the second by new developments and comebacks, the third by recovery and adaptation. And the fourth? Only time will tell, but it looks like optimism and transformation will define the end of 2021. The summer months were pretty quiet for the fashion sector – but that wasn’t necessarily a bad thing. Things started to pick up and everyone was motivated to do better this time around… perhaps because we now also know better? It appears that a hint of a revolution is in the air. But it’s not loud, defensive or even radical – even though it should be in some cases. On the contrary: the mood is quiet, considered and almost remorseful. So have we learnt our lesson? And if so, is it enlightenment or fear that is defining our new way of looking at the world? With the athleisure and loungewear trends playing such a dominant role during the stay-at-home days of lockdown, jeans were banished to the back of wardrobes. Too stiff. Too uncomfortable. Too jeansy? The truth is: denim never went away! Producers and brands have worked hard on making jeans more comfortable, environmentally friendly, and yes, even more hygienic. And now they are rising through the ranks as an absolute fashion essential once again – with new silhouettes, colours and prints. Proof of this is our cover editorial from page 50. To find out what the future of jeans looks like and what the SS23/24 season holds, check out our Denim Trends preview from page 68. This issue is dedicated to our passion for indigo, which is why, from page 64, you can read about the difference between natural and synthetic indigo and find out which one is actually better for the environment. Many people may not be aware of how much of a male domain the denim industry really is: ‘Why we need more women in denim’ from page 60 sheds light on the initiative ‘The Women in Denim’ and explains why emancipation is deeply interwoven with the indigo fabric. Deeply interwoven at Save the Duck is the topic of sustainability: we talked to Nicolas Bargi, the outerwear label’s founder, about the transformation process of brands and asked him what would happen if companies didn’t take the sustainability route. Read the interview from page 38. And the trade fair business has also witnessed long-term change: among professional visitors there is a new appreciation of physical events, which is motivating event organisers to develop their hybrid formats even further for the coming years. In our ‘Tradeshow Comeback’ section from page 74, we’re showing you what we can look forward to from 2022 and where the journey is headed. We would also like to take this opportunity to say thank you to you and our partners – because without you, this emerging revolution wouldn’t have been possible, and the fashion industry wouldn’t have evolved to come back stronger and wiser. Stay healthy, Cheryll Mühlen & team
Jennifer Koutni FREELANCE JOURNALIST Jennifer Koutni had actually already turned her back on the fashion world, but the rise in sustainably-minded labels that really want to make a difference rekindled her enthusiasm and eventually led her to us – albeit physically distanced, because Jenni lives and works near Vienna.
Samira Kreuels PHOTOGRAPHER Samira, who was born in Iran, has been a fashion photographer for 17 years now. But the mother of a four-year-old son can do a lot more than just capture cool pictures: in 2019 she graduated with a BA degree in communication and multimedia management. And when she’s not currently shooting the cover for J’N’C, she loves exploring and travelling the world – now that it’s finally possible again!
Janine Aggen FASHION STYLIST & FREELANCE EDITOR Experimenting with shapes and colours, the chance to work creatively and the variety were all aspects that attracted Janine to the world of fashion. As a fashion stylist and editor, she loves creating new concepts and bringing them to life. Her passion for fashion is something she prefers to share in close cooperation with inspiring people.
photo: Marco Rubiola
CONTENTS BITS & PIECES
16 NEWCOMER BRANDS Hellessy, Pyrenex, Essen The Label 22 MOST WANTED Scarosso x Nick Wooster, Saucony, Kangaroos, Marc O’Polo, Cotton Candy, Løci 28 NEWCOMERS Florentina Leitner, Flora Taubner, Paul Kadjo 32 INTERVIEWS Summery Copenhagen
34 BRAND FEATURES Inuikii, Cotton Candy 38 INTERVIEWS Save The Duck 42 BRAND STORIES Alberto, Isko
46 I NTERVIEWS Amendi 48 BRAND STORIES True Religion 50 COVER SHOOT
DENIM NEVER LEFT
COVER PHOTOGRAPHY: SAMIRA KREUELES OUTFIT: CLOSED, DICKIES, MARC O’POLO, BERLUTI, MUSEARTA X PANTONE
PAUL SMITH, SAYAMAI, SALVATORE FERRAGAMO, DR. MARTENS
THE WOMEN IN DENIM
64 INDIGO: NATURAL VERSUS SYNTHETIC 68 DENIM TRENDS SS23/24 Bossa, Isko, Candiani, Calik Denim, Kilim Denim, Orta Anadolu
THE TRADESHOW COMEBACK
Denim Première Vision, Frankfurt Fashion Week, The Ground, ILM Offenbach, Pitti Uomo 78 INTERVIEWS S ebastian Klinder MFS/Bluezone 82 I NSIDER OPINION Hamit Yenici
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EDITORS Aylin Yavuz, Cynthia Blasberg, Deniz Trosdorff, Jenni Koutni, Renée Diehl COPY EDITOR Paula Hedley PHOTOGRAPHY Samira Kreuels, Valentin Mühl TRANSLATION Galina Green, Paula Hedley Trend Translations www.trendtranslations.de
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BITS & PIECES
THE ARTFUL SNEAKER VEJA X EMIR SHIRO Veja is colliding with the creative universe of Emir Shiro this season. The French artist creates erotic digital collages from existing photos or his own shots, which have recently generated a huge hype on social media. Veja and Emir Shiro are presenting a Venturi sneaker that is a product of the artist’s imagination: a two-coloured unisex model made of ripstop and leather in contrasting muted pink and black as a subtle nod to Shiro’s collages. It is made in Brazil using bio-based and recycled materials. VEJA-STORE.COM
CLASSIC BASICS & MODERN FITS DRYKORN With four capsule collections, the new womenswear spring/ summer 2022 collection by Drykorn is blurring the boundaries between sporty styles and chic looks and combining classic basics, intense colours, quality materials and casual silhouettes as a response to the changing lifestyle of our new normality. Inspired by the long and languid days of summer, the menswear collection is all about eye-catching designs in oversized fits. All-over prints, classics with a laid-back, modern twist and comfortable high-tech fabrics result in informal pieces that celebrate the return of carefree exuberance. DRYKORN.COM
CIRCULAR FASHION ARMEDANGELS While the fashion industry has built up a highly effective global supply chain that is in a position to design, manufacture and dispatch garments to the end consumer at lightning speed, it is still lacking a supply chain of the same magnitude to deal with all the growing amounts of unwanted clothing. Armedangels wants to fill this gap and make a difference with its Closed Loop project and circularity.ID: with the help of a small chip and intelligent sorting stations, sorting and recycling partners are able to precisely recognise the material composition, value and condition of the garments, which can then be quickly and precisely returned to the correct closed loop recycling process. ARMEDANGELS.COM
VIRTUAL TEXTILES FABRIC.ID Under the name Fabric.iD, Munich Fabric Start Exhibitions GmbH has launched a service to fully digitise fabrics. Thanks to the new texture scanner xTex and colour scanner can:scan, textiles can be converted into virtual data. The result: digital twins that can realistically and flawlessly reproduce the texture and colour of the materials. From the structure and colour composition to the flexural rigidity, every detail of the fabric’s properties are captured and translated into virtual data. This digitisation process creates a fabric ID that makes textiles technically identifiable, traceable and usable – innovation at its best! FABRIC.ID
BITS & PIECES
GROWTH DESPITE COVID GANG For many, the pandemic was a time of crisis. But Gang has used the time wisely to invest in the future and grow in more ways than one. The family-managed label from the south of Germany is expanding its business and increasing its workforce and currently looking to recruit two garment technicians, two junior designers and an IT specialist. Another way they are investing in the future is with their new company headquarters, which are currently in the final stages of construction: the spacious, modern HQ right next to the former building will provide its employees with the perfect working environment from the beginning of October. The future is certainly looking bright for Gang! GANG-FASHION.COM
LET’S NOT WASTE WATER
TECHNO, TECHNO DIESEL Fashion that inspires and is fun! Last June, the Italian label and its Creative Director Glenn Martens proudly presented their first runway collection for spring/summer 2022. Highlights included exceptionally inventive drapery and shapes, as represented by the five-pocket jeans with integrated boots or the top held together by an intertwined belt as a kind of backbone. A selection of the key looks shown on the catwalk is now finally available in the brand’s own stores and selected concept stores. It includes three womenswear and three menswear looks. Inspired by 90s techno music, denim in light and dark tones plays a key role.
KINGS OF INDIGO X LABFRESH Household laundry is responsible for two thirds of clothing’s carbon footprint. Based on their ‘Let’s not waste precious time and water doing laundry’ ethos, Kings of Indigo has made it its mission to turn this around and, in collaboration with Labfresh, is presenting two classic denim shirts that are stain, odour and crease-resistant. Labfresh is a special finish that works as a protective shield. The pieces repel stains and odours, meaning that they rarely need to be washed and stay fresh for longer. A real game changer! KINGSOFINDIGO.COM
RECYCLED DENIM COLLECTION H&M With its Recycled Denim collection, H&M is taking another important step towards more sustainable denim. The ten-piece collection includes baggy jeans, loose straight-leg jeans, a trucker jacket, an oversized shirt and a bucket hat and shopper. With their wide cuts, all the pieces are inspired by the casual coolness of the 1990s. The collection is made entirely from fully recycled fabrics, yarns, labels and pocketing, and partly recycled metal zippers and trims, making it H&M’s most recycled collection to date. And they are also going one step further in terms of transparency: by sharing details about each garment’s eco credentials (water, energy and CO2 impact) with their customers online. HM.COM
NEWCOMER BRANDS – HELLESSY
INSPIRED BY A LOVE OF SHAPES AND COLOURS
HELLESSY This brand has been fascinating women ever since it was established in 2012 by Sylvie Millstein. With her strong signature designs, the designer continues to concentrate on timeless pieces with an inherent sense of laid-back glamour. The new collection, consisting of 28 looks, was inspired by Millstein’s recent visit to the experimental Superblue art space in Miami, the city she currently calls home. Its inaugural exhibition by James Turrell was an immersive installation of linear lights and colours that focused on giant digital flowers blooming on walls. This visit inspired the collection’s colour palette, which ranges from cobalt blue to fuchsia as well as a range of pastel tones that Millstein uses in her linear and architectonic silhouettes. Hellessy remains true to its brand promise, delivering wardrobe must-haves for the hip downtown woman on the go every season – this time with a hint of exuberance. The pieces in the spring/summer 2022 collection also tend toward more dramatic proportions. From exaggerated pleats and cut-outs to asymmetrical drapery, they will appeal to true fashion fans. As always, there are elements that can be customised by the wearer, providing Millstein’s muses with even more opportunities to integrate the new season’s items into their existing wardrobes. /ja HELLESSY.COM
NEWCOMER BRANDS – PYRENEX
CALL OF NATURE
PYRENEX It all started with the feather – the passion for this natural product has been at Pyrenex’s focus for over 160 years now and is a recurring element of its products. In its designs and working processes, the brand sets great store by authenticity, wellbeing and nature. The latter in particular carries great significance throughout its history because environmental protection and social issues have been an important element of the company philosophy from the very beginning. Simply by recycling and using a by-product of local farming, Pyrenex is making an active contribution to sustainable development and the circular economy with animal welfare being one of its top priorities. So it isn’t surprising that the brand is going back to its roots for the spring/summer 2022 collection, in which Pyrenex has created a protective space from all socially disruptive and environmentally damaging influences by working with materials that are based on recycled and organic components, while also evoking a feeling of lightness, protection and comfort in the way they are made. The colour palette reflects the natural sources of inspiration, with fresh blue tones (Oxygen, Atlantic) and neutrals (Arctic Ice, Feather Grey) breathing new life into the classics from the Pyrenex colour palette (Black, Admiral, Jungle and Foam). And bright yellow breaks through the other colours like rays of sunlight for an interesting twist. /dt PYRENEX.COM
NEWCOMER BRANDS – ESSEN THE LABEL N° 82
HANDCRAFTSMANSHIP FOR THE FEET ESSEN THE LABEL makes timeless and comfortable shoes, flats, sandals and boots that are sustainably produced. And all at very reasonable prices, considering the extremely high quality. Handcrafted by experienced craftsmen and women in solarpowered factories, only premium-quality materials from small producers are used, with waste kept to a minimum thanks to the small-batch production. The highest quality Italian, chrome-free aniline leather takes these shoes to next-level perfection with the meticulous eye for detail adding to their uniqueness. Instead of machines doing the work, handcraftsmanship is celebrated with the individual character of each pair. At the focus here is the brand’s signature quality. Following the ‘less is more’ ethos, Essen The Label encourages its customers to buy less and choose more carefully. The name Essen comes from the word essential: the label is staying true to this ideal and wants customers to think carefully about what they need – no more and no less – to avoid excess. The collection is only available online. /ja ESSENTHELABEL.COM
PHOTOGRAPHY VALENTIN MÜHL PRODUCTION CHERYLL MÜHLEN
MOST WANTED N° 82
SCAROSSO X NICK WOOSTER Renowned fashion connoisseur and true style icon Nick Wooster is known for his inimitable street styles and uber-cool outfit inspiration. Italian footwear specialist Scarosso decided to turn this talent to its advantage and contacted the US designer via direct message on Instagram to suggest a collaboration. Luckily Nick Wooster rose to the occasion. The result: a Chelsea boot capsule collection in a variety of colours and patterns (including leopard print!). As he revealed to our sister magazine TM TextilMitteilungen: “In the past few years we have found ourselves in a comfort cycle: […] the world is ready and eager for something new. Boots are the perfect way to fill the gap between sneakers and shoes with leather soles.” How right he is! SCAROSSO.COM
SAUCONY Everything used to be better in the old days? A glance at Saucony’s ‘Shadow 6000’, a genuine original from the 90s, suggests that this claim could actually be true. To celebrate the 30th birthday of this special model this year, the American sneaker brand is throwing a little ‘Shadow 6000’ party with cool styles. This also includes the ‘Food Fight’ drop with two different and very colourful patchwork uppers. The colours are inspired by a wild food fight with pizza, burgers, avocado toast, candy floss and fruit. A clash with a twist! Added highlights that aren’t visible to the eye include extra comfort and cushioning provided by the improved PWRRUN midsole.
KANGAROOS We love comebacks! Which is why we’re jumping for joy that Kangaroos are bringing its popular classic ‘Coil R1 OG Pop’ back onto the market in its original form this autumn – optimum cushioning properties (thanks to the use of Dynacoil) and a cool design combo of suede, mesh and reflective PU included. The colourway of our Most Wanted piece is perfect for any season too: vibrant blue and orange along with a soft flamingo tone add colourful highlights to the black and grey, making a cool change from the omnipresent all-white sneaker trend. A combo that isn’t just functional both in winter and summer, but also extremely easy on the eye.
MOST WANTED N° 82
MARC O’POLO Slouchy. Crossbody. Italian suede – basically, this bag ticks all the boxes. ‘Grete’ is not a fast-fashion piece, but a timeless classic that outlasts trends and moods and has the potential to become a long-time favourite. With a bit of imagination, its curved shape and powdery stone grey look like an elegant crescent moon, while the knotted handle and shoulder strap make this Most Wanted piece from the spring/summer 2022 season the perfect everyday accessory. MARC-O-POLO.COM
MOST WANTED N° 82
COTTON CANDY Good vibes only – that’s the message of our Most Wanted piece ‘Rina’! Its cheerful neon orange and mood-boosting message in the form of a smiley are enough to bring us out of our grey and gloomy comfort zone, catapulting us out of this winter’s tedious pandemic situation and into brighter fashion times ahead. And we’re more than ready for more colour in our lives! Thanks to its oversized silhouette, this sweater is ideal for cosy stay-at-home moments, but can also be incorporated into cool street style looks. Time to turn that frown upside-down! COTTONCANDY-FASHION.DE
LØCI In search of the only sneaker that leaves a good footprint? It’s hard to believe, but London-based shoe label Løci was only just established this April by Emmanuel Eribo and Philippe Homsy – with the vision of producing premium-quality vegan shoes in limited editions. On demand, so to speak. As well as producing stylish sneakers like this ‘Classic Low Top’, they are also committed to the protection of marine life by making their vegan shoes from fully recycled ocean plastic from the Mediterranean and Africa’s Atlantic coast. Plus, 10 percent of the profits from every pair sold are donated to the conservation of marine protected areas and the protection of endangered underwater species.
NEWCOMERS – FLORENTINA LEITNER
GOING BOLD Extroverted, colourful, joyful and elegant: that’s the best way to describe the garments made by Austrian fashion designer Florentina Leitner. The 25-year-old is a Master’s graduate from the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp and worked on Dries van Noten’s design team before setting up her own label in London. With her exclusive designs, striking prints and innovative use of materials, the designer also sets great store by sustainability, using sustainably produced fabrics and off-cuts for her collection. The pieces are finished mainly in Belgium, Italy and the UK.
Florentina demonstrated her love of experimentation and all things bizarre in her final university collection. Entitled ‘Midnight Vertigo’, it was inspired by the Hitchcock film ‘Vertigo’. Her ‘Spiral Faux Fur Coat’ with its vortex pattern symbolises the fear of heights and vertigo that plagues the policeman in the film. This year the designer won first prize in the womenswear category of the first online Global Design Graduate Show by Artsthread in collaboration with industry giant Gucci. The inspiration for her current SS22 collection ‘Vacation on the Moon’ is the Mondsee (Moon Lake) in Austria, and her vision of designing a collection for a holiday on the moon. The silhouettes are inspired by dirndl dresses, sailor jackets and spacesuits, with a colour palette ranging from metallic silver tones to summery colours like pink and various shades of blue. In September, the young designer debuted her collection as part of the Mercedes Benz Young Talent Promotion Programme at Berlin Fashion Week. “The show at MBFW Berlin is really special for me because I was only able to present my last two collections digitally because of the pandemic. Presenting at a Mercedes Benz Fashion Week is something up-and-coming designers dream of.” Available twice a year in limited quantities, Florentina Leitner’s collections are defined by their exclusivity and individuality. The sustainable aspect of the label is not only reflected in the designs but also in the label’s distribution model: the aim is to reduce transport distances by selling directly via the online store. florentinaleitner.com
NEWCOMERS – FLORA TAUBNER
SURREAL FASHION DESIGN
With ‘Value’, Flora Taubner has created a versatile collection in which the upcoming designer experiments with two-dimensionality. Such as a folded shirt affixed to a long windbreaker coat. In another piece she superimposed the silhouette of a top – like a crime scene road marking – onto an asphalt print. “I focused heavily on social conventions and clichéd themes. The initial ideas were all based on a so-called ‘objet trouvé’. During the process I continually questioned which aspects of the objet trouvé were still relevant in the end to make the desired statement comprehensible,” she explains, adding: “During the working process, these were partly alienated, fragmented or replaced by my own material. The aim of my collection is to unsettle the viewer with regard to their established values. In order to achieve this desired disconcerting effect, I used surreal and performative aesthetics.” The collection intentionally plays with quotes, clichés and associations. For the young designer, it is particularly important to make room for the actual design process of her collection in order to discover and develop new techniques and aesthetics.
Flora Taubner, a graduate from the Burg Giebichenstein University of Art and Design in Halle, uses surreal creative methods in her creations. During Mercedes Benz Fashion Week in Berlin, her ‘Value’ collection won the Neo.Fashion Award for Best Design. “I’ve used a practical approach to conceptual fashion, creating a collection that focuses on the individual models rather than generic categories to illustrate elements of value and worthlessness in fashion,” Flora says. The designer created ten outfits that are more like sculptures. And the starting point for each model was a contrasting pair of factors that make a garment supposedly valuable or worthless.
NEWCOMERS – PAUL KADJO
SUSTAINABILITY MEETS AFRO-FUTURISM
Designer and fashion activist Paul Kadjo combines ethnic and modern design in his collections. He is a graduate of the Academy of Fashion and Design (AMD) in Hamburg and one of the winners of the first Neo.Fashion Award: his sustainability concept won over the jury at the award ceremony during Mercedes Benz Fashion Week in Berlin. The fashion activist was born in Germany and grew up in the Ivory Coast. As an upcoming designer, he wants to make a mark with his fashion in the diaspora and have an international influence. “I think that there’s a better way to design textile surfaces and fashion in the future and that the positive decisions we all make, however small they may be, can have a huge influence on our own health, the health of other living beings and our planet. Starting with the raw materials, I have an idea of how futureproof fashion can be designed. Fashion with coolness, style and character – fashion that is more,” says Paul Kadjo. His eponymous fashion brand unites two nations: it reflects the afro-futuristic design and fosters cross-cultural connections. Paul Kadjo’s concept consists of four fashion lines: based on the upcycling idea – extending the lifecycle of existing raw materials and textiles – the ‘Artisan’ line is Paul Kadjo’s couture genre. It includes high-end collection pieces that pursue the classic idea of fashion design. His collection entitled ‘The Spirit Between Bodies and Objects’ consists of eight outfits and several accessories and defines the spirit, somewhere between body and object. The pieces are made from synthetic fibres including faux leather, organza and polyester, as well as natural fibres like cotton, linen and real leather. “I mainly draw my inspiration from nature and works of art,” he says. “The latter can be a painting, a sculpture or a building. I especially find traditional art and crafts exciting. But it’s the shapes, surfaces and inspiration from nature that fascinate me the most.” paulkadjo.com
INTERVIEWS — SUMMERY COPENHAGEN
CHANGE OF NOITCE RID
Kim Wedel Hansen, COO
Along with its name change, Summery Copenhagen, previously known as Cecilie Copenhagen, is under going a complete image overhaul. Known mainly for its popular ‘2 O’ dress with the signature print, the brand is now ready to explore other designs and patterns and expand its range. But the keffiyeh-inspired print will soon be relegated to history to make room for new designs. And from now on, the brand’s identity will be defined by summer – hence the new name. According to COO Kim Wedel Hansen, the warmer season has always been a core element of the brand. In an interview with J’N’C he explains what else is due to change and what the future will hold for Summery Copenhagen.
INTERVIEW RENÉE DIEHL
You just changed your brand’s name from Cecilie to Summery Copenhagen. How did that change come about? What inspired the new name? Our clothes and collections have always been light, bright and colourful. For some reason, we deeply resonate with summer. Our customers and fans have felt it for years! So it was only a matter of time until we freshened things up and aligned our name with our values. Over the past year, we have been working hard on re-evaluating our identity, realising that it was time to move on from ‘Cecilie’ and fully embrace what we’ve known all along. We have always been known for our high-quality apparel and unique brand spirit – our designs have always been an ode to summer. And now, so is our name.
What other changes will go along with the name change? We have used this opportunity to completely redesign our website and visual identity. Together with the name, we wanted to infuse the new identity with elements such as a fingerprint – a human
touch that goes into each of our designs, which come in two new colours: a soft morning yellow sun and a purple sunset sky. Your signature dress with the recognisable keffiyeh scarf pattern is still an influencer favourite. Do you think new styles can live up to that success? Yes, our ‘2 O’ dress is one of the most successful dresses for us and has been for years! Originally it was in the keffiyeh pattern, but we’d never really tried to it in any other patterns. Some may say that the shape, the design of the dress, is just as important as the pattern itself. In fact, we’ve seen that houndstooth is currently leading influencers’ choices! You’re reinventing your signature pattern in various styles for each collection. What’s the creative process behind that? Are you planning on introducing more signature patterns in the future? I believe we have come too much of a long way for the brand only to be associated with the keffiyeh pattern. Right now, we are very focused on exploring new patterns and weaves. Our collec-
tions always have what is known as a core styles, which is where the keffiyeh pattern plays a major role. But our customers and clients have probably noticed that in the last four to five collections we have been decreasing the amount of core style by introducing something new. Right now, any of the new patterns could become bestsellers in the future, and it doesn’t have to be handloom. Speaking of new styles: can you tell us a bit more about the spring/summer 2022 collection? We’ll be launching the pre-spring/summer 2022 collection very soon. Together with the collection, our customers will have a new line of accessories consisting of make-up bags, keychains, passport holders and so on. Not only that, but we are also launching an additional ‘Celebration’ capsule collection that celebrates our new name Summery Copenhagen and the rebirth of the brand. The colours are inspired by the spring flowers that slowly begin to pop up all over the forest floor when the season starts to change. We have taken some of the clas-
It’s time for us to move on and explore different waters. How would you describe Summery Copenhagen’s approach to sustainability? We have made a promise to our customers to be open, honest and environmentally friendly, which is why we have already optimised our production of sweats, swimwear and knitwear to be either fully organic or made from recycled materials. And just a few weeks ago we took a serious look at our supplier’s manual and
came up with an optimised code of conduct for production, complying with the most recent regulations in the EU. We also have a ‘plastic policy’, which means that we’re constantly looking to optimise the way we use plastic, so all samples for our agents no longer come in polyester bags. I’d also like to mention that we’re working on a new digital tool to enable our customers to return their used items to be sold on our website: this allows the clothes to have a second, third or maybe tenth life! What materials are used and what other actions are you taking? Our production process is quite unique compared to any other clothing brands since we produce our handloom pieces from scarfs and not from fabric rolls. This makes sure we preserve the right pattern and lining of the clothes. It does of course make the process rather difficult and creates larger amounts of waste so right now our minds are on how to make this process more sustainable. We are working with our suppliers on a zerowaste project, turning the leftover offcuts into rugs and tablecloths and in the future maybe even accessories. Our handloom materials are made from cotton;
however, we do use organic cotton for our sweat and swimwear, alongside recycled polyamide and recycled wool for our knitwear. Where does the production take place? The majority of handloom pieces, which make up approximately 80 percent of the collection, are produced in India. However, we have moved all sweat and swimwear production to Portugal, which is renowned for having sustainable production. And depending on the collection, we also have production partners in Italy for quality knitwear and also China.
INTERVIEWS — SUMMERY COPENHAGEN
sic patterns and are turning them into something new and exciting. We are reborn and flourishing!
Are there any plans for the near, but also more distant future? We have come a long way in the last few years. And we have finalised our plan to stop producing clothes in keffiyeh or keffiyeh-inspired patterns. This is of course a major decision, but we feel like it’s time for us to move on and explore different waters. That’s both a short and a longterm plan since it will happen within the next year and certainly bring new opportunities for us and our customers to explore new designs for many years to come. SUMMERYCOPENHAGEN.COM
SUMMERY COPENHAGEN The brand’s signature dress will make way for new designs.
BRAND FEATURES — INUIKII N° 82
BECAUSE SUSTAINABILITY IS A MANAGEMENT MATTER
Danilo Maag, Co-Founder / CMO & COO
BRAND FEATURES — INUIKII
When it comes to the eco-friendly attributes of its production processes or products, Inuikii doesn’t go around blowing its own trumpet. On the contrary, in fact: the footwear brand from Switzerland repeatedly emphasises that it is far from perfect. Which is very honest of them but doesn’t actually do justice to the goals they have achieved so far – because Inuikii is one of the companies who take the sustainability transformation extremely seriously.
TEXT CYNTHIA BLASBERG
The first entirely sustainable Inuikii boots will be available in stores this autumn: Abacá made from Bananatex, and Grape from an innovative material from the grape by-products of wine production. The recycled soles of the boots are made from in-house production remnants. Vegan styles like Grape, which (unlike Abacá) has a lining made of recycled polyester, will become increasingly relevant within the range in the future. However, Danilo Maag points out that materials of non-organic origin are also raising new questions regarding sustainability. Like Bananatex, which is made from banana leaves. “As the transportation of materials from Asia is not ideal, new solutions are being sought to make that aspect more sustainable as well,” says Maag.
third-party suppliers and are still keeping an open mind as to how we can work with them and present this information. We’re still looking for the right way to integrate it into our internal processes. Without a suitable internal structure, this kind of major project isn’t possible,” explains Danilo Maag. Despite this, the brand does have a few figures for us: 90 percent of the materials come from Europe and 95 percent of the production is also located in Europe. All shoelaces have Standard 100 by Oeko-Tex and BCI certification, and all shoe models – from both the summer and winter collections – are made with water-based adhesives.
“We’re not perfect by a long stretch. And we’re not quite where we want to be either. Nevertheless, we are trying to make a difference on all levels, which we don’t necessarily always communicate to our customers. It’s not all about marketing for us. We do have a sustainability report, but sustainability goes way beyond marketing; it’s about how we want to run our business. Although, as perfectionists, we are never really satisfied,” explains a very resolute Danilo Maag.
New processes that have been introduced within Europe are less difficult to follow through on. The Swiss family-run company, run by the founder Cinzia and her sons Alessio and Danilo Maag, has been able to reduce its waste product by 30 percent within a year. Textile remnants and other waste are collected, bundled and sold to companies who use it as filler – for punching bags, for example. The brand is still working on a solution to use 100 percent of the waste. When it comes to putting an exact number to the energy use of the production processes, the company is still somewhat behind, admits Danilo Maag. New approaches to improving the figures need to be found, but they are hoping to present a solution by the end of 2021.
NOT PERFECT, BUT GETTING THERE
FIGURES AND TARGETS One aim is to have 70 percent of all products be sustainable by 2025. Concrete goals include having a distribution chain that is at least 95 percent transparent and 100 percent certified suppliers. But that’s easier said than done. “The certification of all our suppliers is something we are really passionate about. A large proportion of our suppliers is already certified. And we keep reminding our non-certified partners of our goals. That means that if they aren’t able to fulfil those criteria by 2025, that we won’t continue to work with them. So, in four years’ time we should be able to have the appropriate certificates together for our entire company structure.” Transparency is also a major challenge. Information procurement and, in this context, digitalisation, are difficult to achieve if all suppliers and production companies aren’t on the same wavelength.
Inuikii hasn’t yet used any software such as Re:traced, which can be used to trace materials and their sources in the production supply chain. “Until now, we have avoided working with
INUIKII Abacá, grape and recycled soles from in-house production remnants – these are the ingredients for the sustainable Inuikii boot.
THE PATH TO MORE TRANSPARENCY
BRAND FEATURES — COTTON CANDY
THE SHOW MUST GO ON Cool, glamorous, individualistic and authentic – Cotton Candy always has its finger on the pulse. And the pandemic has clearly shown that this label, which belongs to Just Fashion GmbH, is resilient in a crisis. Instead of despairing at the restrictions and challenges they were facing, the team maintained an optimistic attitude and tried to find positive aspects in even the strictest of shutdowns, as Ümit Ufuk Ekinci, Managing Director of Just Fashion GmbH tells us. Now that the end of the pandemic is in sight and in-person experiences are resuming, Cotton Candy is ready to conquer the market once again.
N° 81 82
TEXT AYLIN YAVUZ
Since 2012, fashion label Cotton Candy has been delivering cool, high-quality clothing with a touch of glamour and good value for money. With up to 12 drops a year, the brand is also fast enough to react to new trends, resulting in a whole raft of on-trend collections every year. These can be bought from online German marketplaces, boutiques or stationary retail, as well as from their own online shop. Buyers and retailers can order a variety of styles from the B2B online store, as well as browsing them in person at their showrooms. But most of these options fell out of the equation during the pandemic: physical visits to stores, showroom meetings and personal contact to retail partners were no longer possible due to COVID. Stationary retail and certain links in the supply chain suffered: there were distribution issues, resources were scarce and retail partners became frustrated. But the show must go on, so at Cotton Candy they
didn’t let the situation get the better of them. Instead, after a short period of reorientation and the introduction of internal measures, they soon got a handle on the situation by looking at and resolving each issue individually, rather than drowning in a sea of conflict.
The end of the pandemic doesn’t mean the end of athleisure product groups. And their success has proven their strategy to be the right one. Despite the many obstacles in their path, the label managed to maintain a healthy turnover and even ended 2020 on a positive note.
“The entire sector has clearly suffered, some more than others – thankfully we belong to the latter,” says Ümit Ufuk Ekinci, founder and CEO of Just Fashion GmbH. A contributing mitigating factor was the B2B shop integrated into their own website, which generated a plus of 125 percent from 2019 to 2020 and a plus of 120 percent from 2020 to 2021. And the first orders after or at the end of the pandemic were more than satisfactory, with the Düsseldorf-based label immediately getting back to pre-pandemic levels. “Our expectations for our last drop in 2021 are therefore very high, especially as we have strong items that could already be on retailers’ floors by November.” But in terms of fashion, how can brands respond to this new normal, in a time when people are starting to go out again, rather than just whiling away the hours at home in loungewear? “Here at Cotton Candy, we believe that the end of the pandemic doesn’t mean the end of athleisure product groups. The pandemic has contributed to the acceptance of certain clothing items, which have become part and parcel of everyday wardrobes. In our current collection, for example, you can see how we have interpreted the trend.” This translates into the use of striking colours and eye-catchers in the current order and celebrates the possibilities that are opening up now that we’re able to venture beyond our own four walls and express ourselves once again. Apparently, the next few drops will be as just as bright, but the brand isn’t willing to reveal all just yet: “You can be sure that if certain trends come to the fore, we will pick up on them in our own way and make them available to our distributors,” concludes Ümit Ufuk Ekinci. COTTONCANDY-FASHIONSHOP.DE
PREVIEW TEXTILE SHOW
SPRING SUMMER 23
INTERVIEWS — SAVE THE DUCK
SAVE THE SAVE DUCK THE EARTH
HOW AN OUTERWEAR BRAND CAN HAVE A POSITIVE INFLUENCE ON THE WORLD… AND SAVE A SMALL PIECE OF IT IN THE PROCESS.
INTERVIEW CHERYLL MÜHLEN & PIERRE D’AVETA PHOTOS CRISTIAN MURIANNI
Nicolas Bargi comes across as quite a competitive guy, which may have something to do with the fact that he has a sporting background. And it turns out our instincts are right: 20 years of kickboxing and skiing have certainly pushed him to his limits, but also brought him success. These days the CEO prefers to go surfing – preferably in winter. What does that say about the head of a sustainable outerwear brand? Perhaps that he doesn’t shy away from major challenges and is more than capable of dealing with situations and overcoming any hurdles in his path.
We can all look back on an exhausting, exciting and challenging year. How has Save the Duck been faring since the pandemic? Like all companies, we were obliged to accelerate our digitalisation. The company was already undergoing a transformation, but we sped things up a bit. It was planned as a one-and-ahalf-year project, but it ended up being only two months. We had to reorganise in-house procedures and get in touch with all the suppliers and customers, as well as remaining flexible. The two main questions were: what can I give you and what can you give me back? Sort of a trade-off between: how can I survive; how can you survive? People had to work much harder but the results have been excellent – the company has only lost seven percent of the budgeted turnover. We didn’t lose any suppliers or customers. We did a good job. In 2019, Save the Duck became Italy’s first fashion company to obtain the B Corp certification, which provides you with a loan of three million euros from the Italian Intesa Sanpaolo bank. How will you invest it? As a B Corp, we have a reassessment every three years. It’s an ongoing procedure of doing better in all aspects of sustainability. So investments will be made throughout the entire
INTERVIEWS — SAVE THE DUCK
It’s not about being 100 percent sustainable; it’s about the process. company. We have joined the WEP (Woman Empowerment Programme). The human aspect, especially in terms of diversity, is another important element of sustainability. We try to take our culture outside our company, to our suppliers and to our customers to have a positive influence on all the people we come in contact with. We’re also running a programme with the United Nations Global Compact initiative where we are trying to influence suppliers and customers to focus on circularity. What I find most interesting about your company is your ‘outside the box’ approach to sustainability: you just recently launched a joint venture collection for dogs with United Pets for World Animal Day. That’s quite a surprising collaboration! We wanted to influence the systems, such as dogwear, where people still care less for sustainable items. Our message is that you can do things properly at the same price, but in a different way.
Save the Duck doesn’t have a lot of direct competitors at the moment, Nicolas Bargi tells us. But that will no doubt change in the near future – a development that he is embracing with open arms, because it means that the (fashion) world is moving in the right direction. During our interview at his headquarters in Milan, he explains how sometimes it’s baby steps that can make all the difference.
INTERVIEWS — SAVE THE DUCK
Influencing people with the right messages seems very important to you. Yes, take diversity, for example: you have to treat people as equals regardless of where they come from, what colour or gender they are. That’s so important. It’s the basic ABC. How you treat people, not only in terms of work, but also in terms of manufacturing. All our mills are always under audit and completely transparent. We do both announced and unannounced audits. Not only with our manufacturing in tier one, but also in tier two. The next step will be to go and see tier three, where the primary sources come from. Our industry thrives on inspiration, which you can find from collaboration partners or competitors. Are there any companies that you think are doing a good job in terms of sustainability? For me, the true icons are Stella McCartney and Patagonia. They are the two main companies that everyone in the fashion industry can look up to. Patagonia is actually the founder of B Corps. And Stella McCartney is vegan and has brought her culture into her brand. The good thing is that over the last two years all brands have realised that they need to change. Yes, it is very difficult. The bigger the company, the harder it is to change. But it’s time. Certain companies are accelerating in certain fields whilst other companies take longer because you can’t just completely reinvent your main business model. You have to have your systems in place first, work in parallel and then make the change in the right way. True. But it’s inevitable that we all have to take steps towards a greener future. I think 99 percent of companies are getting to this point now.
Who do you see as your competitor in the market at the moment? We are in the premium sector and there aren’t many outerwear competitors out there. One of them, which is very popular in Spain, is Ecoalf. North Sails is also emerging as an ecobrand. Slowly their systems are changing, and we will soon have more competitors. But we are a small company, which means we are very flexible. It’s in our DNA to run very fast. It’s not easy to catch a rabbit in the field! For some companies, upcycling and recycling are currently dominating their sustainability efforts. Something Save the Duck, among others, has specialised in from the beginning. How much potential is currently unused and where do you see opportunities to reuse resources that are already available? Save the Duck has four technologies. Virgin PET technology, where all the process is under control in terms of water chemicals, but it’s the less sustainable one. PET only makes sense for long-lasting items such as jackets. But the minute the world stops using fossil energy, we have the second technology ready – recycling technology. Our jackets are made completely from recycled plastic bottles – including the zipper, lining, padding. Everything is made of plastic bottles that have already been used. For the third technology, we are talking smaller quantities because it costs more, and it’s not as flexible in terms of production, so you can only make certain items with this technology: a recycled technology that we use with the Nylon 6. Basically, a circular jacket. It means that once the end of the jacket’s life is reached, you can actually put it together with the plastic bottles and recycle it completely. So the impact of this jacket is zero. It can be reprocessed and reprocessed.
Transparency and communication are key. I totally agree. We are also far from being perfect ourselves. But we have to show where we are and what we want to do in the next three years. And where we can achieve some results
and where we can’t, but at least that those are our targets for the next two years. If you visit our website for example, you’ll find more than 100 pages on the status of what we have done and what we know.
Nicolas Bargi’s dream: “I want the duck to become the equivalent of Red Bull, but for sustainability.”
INTERVIEWS — SAVE THE DUCK SAVE THE DUCK A total of 50 employees are part of the core team in Milan. In addition, ten employees work as sales assistants in the five shops they have around the world. 12 employees are responsible for quality control in China. In the USA, Save the Duck is currently experiencing the greatest growth at 30 percent, which is why the brand is currently focusing its efforts there.
What is the fourth technology? Biodegradable technology. We have an item that is 100 percent biodegradable. If you bury it in the soil, it disappears after four years. It becomes mechanical gas, which is a natural gas, and it leaves nothing behind. We have actually delivered thousands of these jackets this year and we are continuing to use this technology. Last time we talked, you said that there’s no such thing as a fully sustainable company. So how sustainable can a company actually be in 2021? And will there ever be 100 percent sustainable companies? No. I still stand by my comment. It’s not about being 100 percent sustainable; it’s about the process. The important thing is that each year in all the fields of sustainability, and there are many fields, you have to upgrade and you have to invest
It’s mandatory that we act now and improve, no matter how big or how small our efforts.
more. We are being reassessed by the B Corp this year and we want to achieve a higher score. Right now, we are at 95 points. But we want to get over 100. That’s impressive and I wish you good luck but whether your sustainability score is 50, 80 or 90, transformation is inevitable for fashion companies. True or wishful thinking? It’s a must. There is no future for companies who don’t move in this direction. The new generation is fully focused on these topics and has changed. Actually, it’s funny how history has always shown that present generations always criticise the generation that precedes them. And for us, it’s like the young people are now saying: “Hey, you’ve ruined my world and now I’m going to save it.” That’s what Save the Duck is all about. Many people talk about the end consumer making different demands and setting the tone – regardless of whether it’s the older or younger generation. But do animals and the planet really have the time to wait for these developments to slowly evolve? No, we don’t have any time left. We know that we need to keep global temperatures from increasing more than 1.5 degrees Celsius, and the only way to impact this is to lower our CO2 emissions. So it’s mandatory that we act now and improve, no matter how big or how small our efforts. If you’re lowering emissions, you’re having a positive impact. And that’s what we have to do – and we have to do it as fast as possible. But reducing emissions is difficult for a lot of people. Yes, but it’s worth the investment. To conclude our interview, please complete the following sentence: If you don’t start producing sustainably today... …you are at the beginning of the end of your company. SAVETHEDUCK.IT @SAVE_THE_DUCK
Does this sacrifice the quality in any way? It’s limited. For example, we can go up to a maximum of 100 grams of padding because the technology isn’t quite there yet. So it’s only for certain items. And yes, the price is around 50 percent higher than for a normal item so the end customer isn’t very accepting of that yet.
BRAND STORIES — ALBERTO
A STORE FOR THE SENSES The illuminated back wall at the Alberto concept store.
Five years of the Alberto concept store – this year, the trouser specialist from Mönchengladbach in the north-west of Germany is celebrating the anniversary of its only concept store, a creative place that has turned out to be a vital communication tool for the company. We took a glimpse behind the scenes.
TEXT DENIZ TROSDORFF
Since October 2016, trouser lovers have been flocking to a street called Hindenburgstrasse in Mönchengladbach. Showcased behind the futuristic façade of the perfectly designed Alberto concept store are not only the latest products from the trouser aficionado’s creative lab, but also the company’s craftsmanship skills and progressive values – all on an area of 130 m². “We decided to open a store where we could really live and breathe our values and our products. Everyone who works at Alberto has to have spent some time working at the store and experienced that direct contact with our customers, consumers and products. That’s our way of showing our employees what we stand for and what we’re working towards. It provides a huge motivational energy boost, which is channelled back into our products,” explains Marco Lanowy, Alberto’s Managing Director. A positively contagious energy that around 30,000 customers have been able to experience for themselves over the past five years. The atmosphere is defined by a forwardlooking sales philosophy: digital gadgets like Amazon’s Alexa are used inside the store to offer customers an emotional and fun shopping experience and provide them with important information about the products that they have already experienced haptically and visually for themselves. The whole sensory aspect clearly plays a very important role here.
AT THE FOCUS: THE CUSTOMER
We asked Marco Lanowy which moments really stood out for him during the last five years of running the concept store: “For us it’s always exciting to accompany the customer inside the store, from the consultation and them trying on the clothes through to the purchase. It’s also interesting to find out what they thought of our customer service, how often they will come back and whether they felt like they were in good hands with us. It’s like a well-rehearsed play: on the stage it’s the applause; in the store it’s the ringing of the till. If we get to experience that, we’re happy, because that’s what we live for.” And it’s not only the shopping experience that is valuable for the brand, but
also the direct communication with the end consumer, as Marco Lanowy reveals: “The direct feedback we get from our customers in the store is worth its weight in gold as it lays the foundations for our future developments. That’s how the ideas for the Bike collection and the Hybrid Sports Pants came about, for example.” Other suggestions from customers have resulted in products being optimised and stock being adapted to demand.
CREATED IN MÖNCHENGLADBACH And in 2022, Alberto will be celebrating another special occasion: its 100-year anniversary. What better opportunity to look back on a successful and eventful company history and ahead to the future? Are other Alberto stores like the one in Mönchengladbach on the cards? “That kind of expansion isn’t part of our growth strategy,” Lanowy tells us. “We have purposely focused our attention on ‘Created in Mönchengladbach’, a mission statement that we are consciously following for other projects too.” Instead, the company is concentrating fully on its products, which merge the brand’s experience from the past 100 years with modern materials, production techniques and technologies. There’s a reason why its brand claim is ‘Pants we love’, a reminder of just how much passion and care are invested in each collection. “If we are living up to our own standards, what more could we ask for? Ultimately, it all comes down to how transparent and consistent you are in what you do,” summarises Lanowy. And he doesn’t see profit or expansion of his stores as top priorities for the future either. He’s just happy to have created something special with the concept store: “My hope for the future is that we continue to impress, provide inspiration and learn. Expansion potential is certainly there. But potential is also something you can learn from. If we can apply this learning effect with the vision of continuing the team’s achievements for another hundred years, we will have fulfilled everything we set out to do.” ALBERTO-PANTS.COM
BRAND STORIES — ALBERTO
BRAND STORIES — ISKO
ENGINEERED FOR NATURE Innovations that were developed to preserve and protect the environment are more than mere products for denim manufacturer Isko. The company genuinely feels a responsibility to keep their carbon footprint as small as possible. And with their new R-TWO50+ range, they are moving closer to achieving this goal. TEXT DENIZ TROSDORFF
R-TWO50+ might sound like a formula from a doctoral thesis, but it’s actually the latest innovation from the creative and research laboratory of denim specialist Isko. As part of Isko’s Responsible Innovation strategy, which covers social responsibility, environmental issues and sustainable denim production, the launch of ‘R-TWO50+ – Engineered for nature’ is a further milestone on their journey to the sustainability of the future. The result is a premium-quality denim fabric that reduces carbon emissions by as much as 45 percent and water usage by as much as 65 percent. To do this, Isko is focusing on its exclusive patented yarn spinning technology, which uses at least 50 percent recycled materials and reduces the need to rely on natural resources. Isko’s innovation not only combines sustainable elements but also retains its shape well and is characterised by a soft cotton feel. It also dries up to 20 percent faster.
LEADING THE WAY TO A GREENER WORLD
As one of the leading denim manufacturers in the world, Isko is very conscious of its pioneering role in the quest for a more sustainable fashion industry, which is why transparency and honesty are a top priority. All Isko products therefore have all the necessary and appropriate
certifications for sustainability that cover each step of the process. And the R-TWO50+ fabrics have the Global Recycled Standard (GRS) certification, which provides standardised verification of the use of recycled materials. The new innovation is also aimed at paving the way for best practices, increasing transparency and accountability, strengthening the entire supply chain and helping brands achieve their sustainability goals. So it’s not surprising that Isko is one of the first in the fashion market to have an ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) score, which measures and rates companies’ corporate sustainability and social impact. This is testament to the company’s efforts to be fully transparent and accountable. “We are extremely proud of R-TWO50+ and the progress we’ve made in opening up a whole new dimension of Responsible Innovation,” explains Ebru Özküçük, Isko’s Head of Sustainability. “Our vision goes beyond just using low-impact materials and extends to Isko’s culture and systems. We believe that in order to make a credible and comprehensive industry roadmap towards sustainability, the carbon footprint must reflect the fact that products are made and processes are carried out responsibly. This is the only way to try and eradicate greenwashing.” ISKODENIM.COM
GET Y IT B
INTERVIEWS — AMENDI
E SUST H LL O
GT N I T LL R A
NABIL AI G IN
INTERVIEW CYNTHIA BLASBERG
Julia and Andreas Åhrman founded denim brand Amendi together with Corey Spencer in 2020. Prior to that, Andreas and Corey had worked at Nudie Jeans for several years and therefore bring a high level of expertise to the table, both in denim and sustainability. We met up with Andreas Åhrman to find out why they don’t explicitly refer to Amendi as a sustainable brand, yet still want to be the most transparent clothing brand in the world.
You launched your label Amendi last year with the aim of being “the most transparent clothing brand in the world”. Is that what you are? We always strive for full transparency in everything we do. At the moment we’re doing this by ensuring the full traceability of each garment we produce. Via our website you can follow each garment from the raw materials to the finished garment by simply scanning the QR code on the product. As well as that, we have developed our own Fabrication Facts tag, which was inspired by groceries and an American nutrition facts label. On the tag, which is attached to each piece, you can read facts about the garment including its origin, energy consumption, certifications, water usage and even a cost breakdown. If you flip the tag over, you can read up on supplier facts, listing each supplier in the chain and information such as social certifications, average salaries, work hours, type of energy used at the factory etc. What inspired you to start a fashion brand with a focus on denim? My wife and I lived in New York for a couple of years and although we were based in Brooklyn, we visited Manhattan almost daily. During our time in NYC, we became good friends with our partner
Corey Spencer, who is originally from South Carolina but has lived in New York for more than a decade. We started out as colleagues at organic denim brand Nudie Jeans and later became close friends. Shortly afterwards, we realised that we shared the same passion for denim and wanted to implement our radical transparency ideas for a new premium contemporary denimwear brand. Whenever we visited Soho, we often saw long lines of customers queuing up for hyped brands with little or no ambitions in terms of sustainability or transparency. Next to them we also saw small boutiques popping up with a very clear message about sustainability, but the style was either outdoorsy or more mature fashion. We saw the gap in the market for a contemporary designed denimwear brand with real ambitions in the sustainability field and instead of hammering that home, we just wanted to be fully transparent and let the customer decide if they thought we were doing a good job or not.
moment that means we only use organic and recycled cotton, only wash our products in water-saving, harmless and chemical-free processes while also making sure that the shortest and most efficient transportation routes are being used. However, we do have a footprint, merely by being a business but we will be fully climate neutral by 2022 and strive to be climate positive in 2023 by investing in carbon removal technology. We want our customers to know that we are doing all we can to keep our footprint to a minimum. But it doesn’t stop there, even if we are making great efforts, we want to be in harmony with the customer and the end user. Ultimately, the smartest and best way to reduce your footprint and make a positive impact on the environment is to use the clothing you buy for a long time. That’s why high quality really matters. Buy high-quality garments in a design you believe that you will enjoy for longer than a season, then we can get the ball rolling together!
I heard you don’t like using the term sustainability. Nevertheless, can you explain your idea of sustainability in fashion? Our idea is very simple. We are willing to follow and lead innovation in terms of creating a product with the lightest footprint possible on the environment. At the
Online you published a letter by the organisation Politically in Fashion to the Federal Trade Commission and a call to action regarding greenwashing and The Green Guides, an initiative in which you have been instrumental. In response, FTC has announced a review of The
Green Guides for 2022. What a fantastic achievement! But what surprises me a bit (not only in this case) is that there aren’t more brands, stakeholders, trade fairs, journalists, etc. that are networking internationally to drive forward such causes together. Wouldn’t it have been better if 140 people rather than just 40 had signed the letter? Is the eco and fair fashion industry perhaps lacking an association like Fridays for Future? We fully agree with you on this. We were really happy about all the brands, organisations and influencers who actually did sign the letter and made a great impact and hopefully we can make a real change by having the FTC updating The Green Guides, which stipulate what marketing claims you can make as a business to make sure you don’t mislead the consumer in any way. As long as these laws are outdated, it’s kind of an open field to greenwash without any repercussion. We find it so strange that laws are not up to par, so that consumers who do want to buy products with a low impact on the planet can do so without being tricked by false marketing. It would be really beneficial if brands could network more easily through organisations that are all striving for the same thing.
INTERVIEWS — AMENDI N° 82
AMENDI “Our idea is very simple. We are willing to follow and lead innovation in terms of creating a product with the lightest footprint possible on the environment.”
BRAND STORIES – TRUE RELIGION
BACK TO THE ROOTS, BACK TO SUCCESS
BRAND STORIES – TRUE RELIGION
Throughout its 20-year company history, True Religion has experienced several highs and lows. But bolstered by its original image, the US denim brand is currently enjoying a real comeback – which also has a lot to do with its collaboration with Supreme. On the trail of a denim phenomenon.
INTERVIEW DENIZ TROSDORFF
The first time I came into contact with the brand True Religion was in my mid-20s at the end of the 2000s. My first proper contact with the True insignias was the laughing Buddha on colourful tops and the distinctive white Super T stitching in the shape of a horseshoe on the back pockets of casually cut jeans – fashion goals for anyone who wanted to channel the Californian style. One decade later, the label isn’t just revisiting the famous symbolism of its early years, but also the triumphs of that time. Following two Chapter 11 bankruptcies in recent years, the current hype surrounding the brand is like a welcome renaissance that is also helping to boost its image. Supreme’s recently initiated collaboration with True Religion is also a key factor in its recurring success and has triggered a huge demand for the products not only in the USA, but also in Europe. The result? A soldout collab collection within hours. Did we miss something?
THE POWER OF REJUVENATION In the USA, True Religion has recently emerged as a democratic denim label – democratic in the sense that virtually everyone can afford a pair of TR jeans. In the past, a pair of True Religions could set you back 300 dollars at luxury department stores like Neiman Marcus. But under the management of Michael Buckley, CEO of the brand in the years 2006 to 2010 and back at the helm since 2019, True Religion is now aiming to reach a larger target group in a wide range of age groups and sections of the population, in particular Generation Z. Buckley hopes to achieve this using the aforementioned iconic hallmark features because, in his opinion, these are what represent the face of the brand and make it what it is: a denim brand with history and a memorable brand identity, which is exactly what young consumers are looking for. As a result, they are shifting their focus back onto the brand’s distinguishing characteristics, which had taken somewhat of a back seat recently. For the younger target group, the label has embarked on a number of collaborations with young artists from the music, art and dance scene, including pop artist Yendry, artist Elijah Popo, artist and designer Cheyne Gallarde and influencer and entrepreneur Kayla Manning and her fiancé Justus Tucker, who speak out on everything from LGBTQ+ and the Afro-Latino community to female empowerment and body positivity. Role models who young people can identify with and, at the same time, establish a connection with the True Religion brand.
brand in this part of the world. Haase has not only accompanied and established the sales aspect of the True Religion brand here since the early 2000s but is also an aficionado of many other American brands. And he certainly has good reason to be optimistic about True Religion’s development: “The brand’s image has really improved. Michael Buckley has done a great job and has very much fulfilled his goal of consolidating True Religion’s position on the American market while also increasing turnovers.” By founding TRBJ Germany GmbH in 2018, Haase has chosen to follow his own path, with an emphasis on quality, by branching out from the US company with independent licencing stores and an independent collection. However, they still cooperate with the parent company in L.A. and have produced many of the licensed products for them. To our question of whether the current True Religion hype will also make itself felt here in Germany, Haase replied: “We are staying true to ourselves, but at the same time we will also adopt a two-pronged strategy. We’ll be offering the American products that we think are suitable for this market. That includes the Super Ts and Big Ts and we’ll see whether a new market opens up for us here. It’s important that the brand has regained its positive image, which can be accredited to the collaborations, including with Supreme. We’ll just have to wait and see whether the hype catches on among the young consumers over here and whether it has staying power.” TRUERELIGION.COM
YOUNG, YES, BUT NOT AT ANY PRICE So, we’ve already covered True Religion USA, but what does the phenomenon look like in Europe, or here in Germany to be more precise? We spoke to Reinhard Haase, Managing Director of Düsseldorf-based agency Unifa GmbH and CEO of True Religion Brand Jeans Germany GmbH, about the image of the
TRUE RELIGION Between nostalgia and recognition value: the famous horseshoe stitching.
DENIM NEVER LEFT
DENIM NEVER L E F T
PHOTOGRAPHER SAMIRA KREUELS
STYLING CHIARA BOTTIN
RETOUCHING MARINA KARASKEVICH
PHOTO ASSISTANT NINA GLAHÉ
HAIR & MAKE-UP CLAUDIA ASTORINO
CASTING MR. T. PRODUCTION
CONCEPT CHERYLL MÜHLEN & DENIZ TROSDORFF
DOP CHRISTIAN CANSIN MEYER
MODELS KASSEM SALIM @ MEGA MODEL AGENCY & TAMER @ KULT MODELS
TAMER (LEFT) OVERALL LEVI’S BAG GCDS NECKLACE & CHARM SAYAMAI KASSEM (RIGHT) KNIT SWEATER GCDS
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TANK TOP ARMEDANGELS T-SHIRT STYLIST’S OWN JEANS LEVI’S RED LAB SHOES DR. MARTENS CHAIN WITH PENDANT SAYAMAI CHAIN MUSSELS AND MUSCLES
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DENIM JACKET LEVI’S SHIRT ARMEDANGELS BANDANA DAILY PAPER
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DENIM JACKET LEVI’S DENIM VEST WRANGLER JEANS ALBERTO SOCKS MUSEARTA X PANTONE CHARM BRACELET SAYAMAI SNEAKERS VEJA
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TAMER JACKET & TROUSERS PAUL SMITH NECKLACE SAYAMAI GLASSES SALVATORE FERRAGAMO SHOES DR. MARTENS
KASSEM JACKET & TROUSERS CLOSED SHIRT DICKIES BAG MARC O’POLO SHOES BERLUTI SOCKS MUSEARTA X PANTONE BERET STYLIST’S OWN
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JACKET WRANGLER JEANS GCDS SOCKS STYLIST’S OWN SANDALS ESPADRIJ CHAINS SAYAMAI & MUSSELS AND MUSCLES
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CHECKED JACKET GSDS DENIM JACKET LEVI’S JEANS LEVI’S HAT DICKIES SHOES DR. MARTENS STOCKINGS STYLIST’S OWN
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COAT 1895 BY BERLUTI JEANS MARC O’POLO SANDALS ESPADRIJ
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DENIM JACKET WRANGLER JEANS PAUL SMITH GLASSES SALVATORE FERRAGAMO
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THE WOMEN IN DENIM
WHY WE NEED MORE
WOMEN IN DENIM The Women in Denim initiative is a network for a group noticeably underrepresented in the denim industry’s management positions: women. And this is despite the fact that denim is closely interwoven with the history of feminism. TEXT JENNI KOUTNI
THE WOMEN IN DENIM Wonder women in NYC: By supporting each other instead of putting each other down, women can achieve great things.
Just imagine, you run a thriving company that is owned in equal parts by you and your husband. Your company receives interview requests and holds business meetings, but nobody wants to speak to you, only with your husband. Lucie Germser, self-professed Denim Creative at Munich denim tradeshow Bluezone, is all too familiar with such ludicrous injustices. She decided to draw a line under this chapter in her life by establishing branding agency Sphynx, which she manages on her own. And she also decided to do something about such unfair power dynamics. But where to start? Preferably where your own expertise lies, which in Lucie’s case was the denim community of Bluezone. Together with the trade fair organisers she arranged a talk, which took place during the September 2019 edition of the fair. Lucie brought together interesting women from the industry, ranging from managers and artists to manufacturers of the end products. To guide the discussion in the right direction, Lucie laid the facts on the table at the start: women earn around 24 percent less than men to do the same job; 94 percent of top global managers are men, not to mention 100 percent of the exhibitors at Bluezone. “After this intro, I gave the microphone to our guests, and what came out was amazing,” recalls Lucie today. “We found out that not only did we all have that same feeling of injustice, but we also had a whole bunch of crazy and unbelievable testimonies to share. This uniting moment was a success and a revelation because we realised that we were not alone. We felt pumped up and super motivated. So I created our group and made it official.” Suddenly it became not only an opportunity for creative interaction, but also a forum for new ideas and bold approaches. Inspired to make a change, Lucie then established The Women in Denim together
with product designer and denim expert Anne Oudard – and the successful talk became an annual event supported by Bluezone. Since then, The Women in Denim have been working on empowering women in the industry and fighting for equality. International brands offered their support and enabled the community to meet women from the denim industry all over the globe. So far, The Women in Denim have around 180 official members worldwide, plus a big social media following.
Despite three years of dedication and commitment by The Women in Denim, the female quota at tradeshows is still nowhere near the preferable 50 percent. THE HISTORY OF WOMEN WEARING DENIM Despite three years of dedication and commitment by The Women in Denim, the female quota at tradeshows is still nowhere near the preferable 50 percent. For the females of the species, the mills in the denim industry seem to be grinding very slowly. It took a whole 45 years after the invention of denim jeans until the first model for women was launched, for example. Originally developed for hardworking farmers, miners and cowboys, denim was regarded as being too rough and ready for women. Jeans were the symbol of the masculine
THE WOMEN IN DENIM
working class. But during the First World War, women’s roles and status began to change, with many of them stepping in to take on the men’s jobs when they were called up to the frontlines. As everyday women’s clothing wasn’t robust enough for farm and factory work, the female labourers discovered the benefits of men’s jeans and tailored them to fit. By 1918, the war was over and Levi Strauss & Co. created its ‘Freedom-Alls’, which, however, didn’t have a lot in common with the jeans we know and love today. The one-piece suit made from a denim-like cotton fabric was corset-free and therefore looser than the everyday fashion of the time, had harem-style trouser legs and was designed for “work or recreation”. In 1934, the first denim jeans for women finally came onto the market, also by Levi Strauss & Co. The feminine version of the 501 Jeans, which were known as ‘Lady Levi’s’, don’t need any further explanation here – because they went down in history and, with only slight variations, are still being worn and celebrated to this day.
“WE CAN DO IT!” Born from the female desire for continued freedom during the post-war era, the jeans soon became a symbol of rebellion against entrenched gender roles. During the Second World War, women in jeans eventually became a symbol of the war effort, embodied by the iconic, denim jumpsuit-wearing allegorical character Rosie the Riveter, who went down in history. After the war, it wasn’t only the battles on the frontlines that eased, but also the acceptance of women in workwear trousers. Jeans were no longer seen as workwear, but also became an acceptable and even stylish choice for leisure activities. And a very special icon of pop culture gave them the ultimate fashion status – Marilyn Monroe. The photos of her wearing tight, high-waisted jeans are still seen as a synonym for the sex appeal of the 50s and 60s.
JEANS AND FEMINISM
N° 82 Leading ladies: Anne Oudard and Lucie Germser
Nowadays, womenswear dominates the jeans market and yet, the higher you climb, the fewer women you find. BREAKING FREE FROM OLD THOUGHT PATTERNS “Nowadays, womenswear dominates the jeans market and yet, the higher you climb, the fewer women you find,” is how Anne Oudard, co-founder of The Women in Denim, sums up the problem. “There are a lot of women garment workers, designers, managers… but at executive positions, the figures fall to under 15 percent. Nearly every major denim brand is run by a man.” Many fashion houses are already showing their women’s and menswear collections together in one show and unisex is
As a symbol of the shifting of traditional gender roles, jeans are inextricably linked to the history of feminism. This is also
how the annually held ‘Denim Day’ went down in the history books. At the end of April, a dark day is commemorated that calls attention to sexual assault and victim-blaming. The ‘Denim Day’ campaign was triggered by a rape case that was brought to the Italian Supreme Court in 1998. At the time, the victim was actually accused of helping the perpetrator – because she was wearing skinny jeans that he supposedly wouldn’t have been able to take off on his own, suggesting that it was no longer rape but consensual sex. The culprit ended up walking free when his conviction was overturned. Outraged by this ignorance and blatant misogyny, women all over the world took to the barricades. Protests took place throughout Italy, women wore jeans to work, and waved banners embellished with slogans like ‘Jeans, an alibi for rape’. Still to this day, every year people around the globe still take to the streets on ‘Denim Day’ to protest and make their voices heard.
THE WOMEN IN DENIM Female power in Milan.
THE FUTURE OF WOMEN IN DENIM There’s one thing in particular that the two activists Lucie and Anne agree on: bringing more diversity to the denim industry is vital for the future. “With womenswear being the bread and butter of the denim industry, it sounds logical that a woman would have a good understanding of this market and be very suited for a leading position. More generally, I think diversity brings new perspectives,” explains Anne. When an entire industry is run by the same kind of person, you run the irrevocable risk of overlooking a whole host of viewpoints and problems. “We’re facing a dramatic climate crisis and we aren’t anywhere near fair working conditions across our supply chain. The denim industry has to keep improving its practices to reduce its impact. Can we really afford to keep women, BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ out of the conversation?”
And The Women in Denim have a lot of plans up their sleeves for the future: their biggest project is a lottery they have organised to support teenage mothers in Madagascar. “We want them to have a shelter, a secure place to raise their kids, while they can continue their schooling and get training for real jobs and careers. It’s urgent because due to COVID, this organisation is no longer receiving money from people or companies, so these very young mothers are back on the streets and have to abandon their children,” Lucie tells us. The community aims to collect donations by asking renowned denim brands for garments that have been worn by international celebrities. All proceeds from the online lottery, which everyone can participate in, will go to the organisation. Another project is helping women in Bangladesh who have lost their jobs with fast fashion brands due to the pandemic. And COVID-induced travel restrictions permitting, a big tour of Italy is also planned for the near future.
A FEELING OF SOLIDARITY For anyone who is interested and wants to become a Woman in Denim themselves, the good news is that Anne and Lucie welcome everyone into their community with open arms. “Any woman working in the denim industry is very welcome to join us. From students to CEOs. The more of us there are, the better we can help each other. Contact us and join our activities, but also propose your own event if you wish to.” To stay up to date with the latest from the community, follow @TheWomenInDenim on Instagram and LinkedIn.
pretty much old hat these days – the fashion world is meanwhile more open-minded than ever before. Yet the stereotypes of a typical man and a typical woman still very much endure. Subconsciously, a lot of women are still clinging to the roles they grew up with. First and foremost: always be nice, quiet and good-tempered. Men, on the other hand, seem to have an advantage with the roles attributed to them: decisiveness, target-oriented and without fear or reservations, for example. This is also exacerbated by the fact that feminine characteristics, which are actually positives, are seen by many as weaknesses. Sensitivity, empathy and careful consideration when it comes to taking big steps, for example. Women need to make more of an effort to earn respect – sometimes it often just feels that way, but often it is sadly the case. So isn’t it high time we started celebrating these supposed weaknesses as the strengths that they are? “And the best way to do that is together,” says Anne, adding with a smile: “The more we communicate with each other, the less we’ll hear those kinds of silly comments.”
INDIGO: NATURAL VERSUS SYNTHETIC
INDIGO: NATURAL VERSUS SYNTHETIC
Indigo dye is the key ingredient that gives your blue jeans their characteristic look. Even though it can be sourced naturally, it’s usually made synthetically these days – but both methods have their pros and cons. As conscious consumers, are we guilty of romanticising natural ingredients or is a greener indigo future with synthetics actually within reach? Let’s find out ...
PHOTO ISTOCKPHOTO.COM — MASHUK
TEXT JENNI KOUTNI
As proven by the tiny remnant of dyed cotton that was found during excavations in Peru, people have been using the indigo plant to dye fabric for 6,000 years now. Sub-species of the indigo plant grow on different continents, but the chemical composition is identical in all of them. With natural indigo pigments, the dyeing process is based on what is called a reduction-oxidation process. As it’s barely water soluble on its own, it first has to be chemically converted with the use of a reducing agent like sodium hydrosulphite in order for it to dissolve in water. Only then can the dye penetrate the fibres of the fabric, giving them a yellow colour. Finally, the fabric is taken out of the liquid, where it oxidises when exposed to oxygen and turns blue. The indigo then returns to its insoluble state and remains within the fabric, even after years of washing. Until the end of the 20th century this plant-based dyeing technique was the only one in use. But the turn of the century brought about a revolution that would change the way indigo dye was used forever.
THE SYNTHETIC REVOLUTION
PHOTO SHUTTERSTOCK.COM — BENJAMAS PHOTOVEC
In 1897, German chemist and Nobel Prize winner Adolf von Baeyer succeeded in creating a synthetic form of indigo
INDIGO: NATURAL VERSUS SYNTHETIC
MINOR DIFFERENCES In general, dyeing with indigo is quite time-consuming. For example, you can’t just apply the entire dye onto the fabric in one go: it has to be done in layers, with lots of patience. And as we already know, that means dip-dyeing the fabric in a bath, air-drying it and then dipping it again. It can take as many as 12 dipping cycles until the desired blue tone is achieved. From an economic point of view, natural indigo also has other drawbacks: there may be contaminants in the dye and the results are less reliable than the chemical version from the laboratory. The colour results are also not as consistent as with the artificial variant. Under certain circumstances, these contaminants can lead to a rather dull-looking colour. Having said that, many people consider these characteristics to be exactly what makes naturally dyed jeans so special because each pair is truly unique. Another disadvantage: the scenario of global production shifting to natural indigo would mean much more agricultural land given up to the indigo plant. To cover the demand on the global fashion
Before it reaches the final indigo blue dye stage, there are quite a few steps in between – such as fermentation processes and oxidation.
A BRIEF HISTORY LESSON
for the first time. By 1914, the natural indigo dyeing process only made up a mere four percent share of the global market. The fact that synthetic indigo couldn’t compete with the genuine natural indigo dyestuff didn’t seem to interest the mass market: the new pigment was received with great enthusiasm by the textile industry, mainly due to its cheap price. And that was possible because of a resource that, back then, seemed infinite: petroleum, which is still the main component of almost all synthetic dyestuffs to this day. From a chemical perspective, natural and synthetic indigo are identical. Only a special chemical test procedure can determine which method was used to dye a fabric. So as consumers, we have to rely on the word of the producers, as is so often the case.
PHOTO UNSPLASH.COM — DIMAZ FAKHRUDDIN
With its filigree leaves and soft pink blossoms, it’s hard to imagine that the indigo plant provides the vibrant dye that makes the blue jeans we know and love. But before it reaches the final indigo blue dye stage, there are quite a few steps in between – such as fermentation processes and oxidation – before the finished pigment can be used in its dried, powdered form. But does it really make sense for companies to go natural these days? Shouldn’t they opt straight for the less expensive synthetic pigment? The answer isn’t that simple.
market, experts estimate that 70,000 tonnes of pure indigo would have to be produced annually, and that would require an estimated 10 million hectares of land.
INDIGO POWDER AS A HEALTH HAZARD These are just some of the reasons why synthetic indigo is so dominant in today’s conventional denim production, with China as the main manufacturer. Although there are several different methods being used to create indigo, one particular method is preferred worldwide because it produces the maximum output with the minimum cost. It requires certain conditions and chemicals that have to be handled with the utmost care. In addition to aniline, formaldehyde and prussic acid (also known as cyanide), it uses ingredients like sodium amide that are at risk of exploding when they are brought into contact with oxygen. Environmentalists have already exposed many scandals where factories pollute the surrounding waters with the by-products of indigo production. As indigo power is sold in a highly concentrated form, the aniline contained in it is doubly dangerous: when workers tear open the packages containing the indigo powder, the air is filled with dust that can be carcinogenic if inhaled. This also poses a risk when dyeing clothes at home: indigo dyeing kits available on the internet or from drugstores can irritate the skin, eyes and airways.
ALTERNATIVES AND EXCEPTIONS
Hazardous ingredients like aniline aren’t a problem during the dyeing process with natural indigo. When carried out responsibly, traditional indigo production is therefore safer and less toxic for the environment and manufacturers. But
PHOTO ISTOCKPHOTO.COM — STELLALEVI
INDIGO: NATURAL VERSUS SYNTHETIC
After 11 years of research, the company Tejidos Royo has succeeded in eliminating the use of water in their indigo dyeing process entirely.
that is currently not a realistic option for the mass market, which is why research is being done on many fronts to improve synthetic indigo production. For example, German company DyStar, which produces 30 percent of the world’s synthetic indigo, is working on a closed loop for all of their processes. That means that ingredients and by-products are safely redirected back into other manufacturing processes. The indigo dye used here is in liquid form, in order to protect workers from the toxic fumes of the powder. In addition, DyStar has come up with another method that completely eliminates the use of sodium hydrosulphite, instead using an organic and biodegradable reducing agent that is harmless when added to the wastewater system. After 11 years of research, the company Tejidos Royo has even succeeded in eliminating the use of water in their indigo dyeing process entirely. Their ‘Dry Indigo’ product uses foam to apply the dyes, which means it doesn’t produce any wastewater. Korean scientists have also recently discovered a way to create indigo with bacteria rather than petroleum, and a biotech start-up called Huue, based in California, has developed a way to make dye using microbes. So exciting progress is definitely being made.
WHO’S THE WINNER? As is usually the case, the price is the decisive factor in determining the success of a product. The problem with bio-based technologies from natural sources is their scalability. The kilo price for synthetic indigo is noticeably cheaper than that of natural indigo. But in the price-driven denim industry, just a few cents can make or break a product. So it looks like the return to naturally dyed jeans lies in the hands of smaller fashion labels, whose environmentally conscious clientele is willing to pay a little more in exchange for authentic products.
DENIM TRENDS SS23/24
DENIM OF THE FUTURE D E N I M T RE N D S S S 2 3 /24
TEXT AYLIN YAVUZ
NEW WORLD FABRICS With its spring/summer 2023/24 collection, Bossa is referencing the themes of the postpandemic world in three different concepts: ‘Future Healing’, ‘Nomad Tourist’ and ‘90s Nostalgia’. The main focus is on ‘Future Healing’, a sustainable capsule collection in which innovation and luxury come together for the benefit of the environment. It stands out with high-tech materials that are interwoven with natural fibres to create futuristic denim blends. Innovative materials like hemp, soybean, Repreve, Naia, Ciclo and Smartcell are paired with clean indigo styles, making them the perfect choice for a seasonal style. And the Bossa Dye Art fabrics impress with an ecological dyeing process, which reduces both water and energy consumption. Under the title ‘Nomad Tourist’, Bossa is embracing the excitement of being able to travel again: neutral colours and breathable fibres like flex and linen are inviting us on an exotic trip to the desert. And ‘90s Nostalgia’ is a nod to the current revival trend that is currently taking social media by storm. Indigo hues, workwear seams and multifunctional details that redefined a whole decade are adding a generous dose of nostalgia, without ever looking old-fashioned.
PHOTO UNSPLASH.COM — EVIE S.
DENIM TRENDS SS23/24
FASHION AND COMFORT IN ONE The fact that denim can not only look good, but also feel good is something that Isko is proving for summer 2023 with not one, but five different lifestyles: ‘Denim Nation’, ‘New Origin’, ‘Isko Reborn’, ‘Isko Motion’ and ‘Chill Zone’. The ‘Denim Nation’ concept focuses on high-performance fabrics that can be worn all day and covers a variety of fits from super-stretch to slims, from regular to broader silhouettes as well as tops and jackets. Under ‘New Origin’, Isko is combining materials that are reminiscent of the good old denim days in terms of structure, appearance, colour and finishing. Thanks to fabrics made from alternative fibres, nature and colours play a major role, and are paired with heritage inspiration and handcraft-style constructions. Alongside that, ‘Isko Reborn’ is also going back to the past by referencing typical 90s trends, from stiffer stonewash looks and larger volumes, paired with grunge looks and modernised twists. ‘Isko Motion’ offers up a symbiosis of denim and comfort: cuts, details and shapes are teamed up with the fabrics that convey a feel of maximum flexibility, while cool washes and fresh fits ensure a fashionable look. And last but not least, ‘Chill Zone’ provides the perfect balance between sporty and functional. A highlight of this concept is the ‘Intimate Denim’, which picks up on details from the world of underwear and reinterprets them with high-performance materials as well as yoga styles for men, developed out of the desire to find a balance between physical and mental health. ISKODENIM.COM
PHOTO UNSPLASH.COM — HEATHER SHEVLIN
PHOTO UNSPLASH.COM — OMID ARMIN
DENIM TRENDS SS23/24
GAME CHANGER Who would have thought a salami could provide the inspiration for one of the biggest fabric innovations of the century? But that’s exactly what happened five years ago when Alberto Candiani visited his local delicatessen: after discovering that the casing of the salami there was wrapped in a mesh made from natural rubber, he came up with the idea for Coreva. This patented and first plant-based stretch technology uses GOTS-certified yarn made from natural rubber in combination with organic cotton. The result: an elastic yarn that – unlike conventional stretch denims – is completely plastic-free. This makes it completely biodegradable as well as fully compostable within six months, without leaving behind any toxic chemicals, synthetics or microplastics. In fact, Coreva can even be used as a nutrient-rich fertiliser, therefore introducing denim into the cycle of regenerative agriculture. Coreva is Candiani’s answer to the fashion industry’s massive waste problem. Every year, around 25 billion items of clothing end up in landfill without ever even being worn. As they are made with petroleum-based synthetic elastomers, the fibres of jeans in particular can often take up to hundreds of years to decompose. And they also release toxic substances and microplastics. Coreva, on the other hand, offers a superb end-of-life solution for stretch denim – one that the entire denim industry has been waiting for.
DENIM TRENDS SS23/24
PROBLEMSOLVING DENIM With its aim of providing solutions for its customers, Calik is concentrating not only on its own business processes but also on products and technologies that should make people’s lives easier in summer 2023. With ‘E-Last’, the denim manufacturer is minimising sample production processes, thereby solving one of the biggest sustainability problems, not only in the textile industry, but in almost all sectors. As weft shrinkage is different for every product, different values occur in different batches of the same fabric during the stencil laying processes throughout garment production. Thanks to E-Last’s dimensional stability, measurement problems should be a thing of the past, allowing pattern cutters to lay, cut and wash the stencils without any problems. In addition to the E-Last concept, Calik Denim’s ‘Dyepro’ technology is also setting new benchmarks in the industry: for the first time, the dyeing process can be applied to all denim fabrics and requires neither water nor produces chemical waste by-products. Thanks to these properties, ‘Dyepro’ offers a range of solutions for the problem of high water usage and chemical waste in the denim industry. In addition to new innovations, other well-known products and technologies will also be making a return, like the ‘RE/J’ recycling concept that uses 100 percent post and pre-consumer offcuts and ‘Blue-H’, which focuses on alternative fibres like hemp.
PHOTO UNSPLASH.COM — ELIZABETH LIES
DENIM TRENDS SS23/24
SWEAT-FREE SUSTAINABILITY Candiani may have been the first mill to launch biodegradable stretch denim, but it certainly isn’t the last. As well as a bunch of sustainable collections, Turkish denim producer Kilim Denim is also focusing on its ‘Biodegradable Bio Stretch’ technology for the spring/summer 2023/24 season. It uses a blend of organic cotton and Roica V550, the first elastane that fully degrades in the environment, also without releasing harmful substances. A significant development, which has already been awarded with the Cradle-to-Cradle Gold certificate. And the ‘Naturex’ collection combines comfort with the functionality of nature – its aim is to reduce the carbon footprint of post-production by using natural and sustainable fibres like hemp, linen, Tencel and viscose. The highlight here is the ‘Tessa’ model, which, with its Naia fibres, ensures a hard-wearing, yet soft denim. Naia fibres are produced in a safe, closed-loop process where solvents are recycled back into the system for reuse. And last but not least, the Kilimanjaro collection offers a sustainable solution for anyone suffering from excessive perspiration: with its lightweight, thin texture, the incorporated Everfresh acrylic fibre keeps you fresh by quickly absorbing sweat and wicking it away from the skin. This reduces the need for frequent washing, which ultimately saves precious water.
PHOTO UNSPLASH.COM — MERIC˛ DAĞLI
DENIM TRENDS SS23/24
PHOTO UNSPLASH.COM — ELIZABETH LIES
OPEN TICKET For spring/summer 2023/24, Orta Anadolu is embarking on a journey of mixed realities and combining the natural world with the world of innovation in what they are calling ‘Open Ticket Denim Concepts’. With the first of four concepts, Orta is getting in on the development of sustainable stretch denims. Orta’s patented ‘Magical’ fibre and yarn technology works without the use of synthetic fibres like PET or elastane and promises the utmost comfort. Under the second concept, Orta is taking the guessing game out of fabric sourcing and presenting an industrytransforming single fabric platform with unlimited creative possibilities. All denim roads lead to one industry-transforming eco-fabric: ranging from different wash cycles, rigid to stretch, raw to highly bleached and traditional laundry processes or eco-innovative technologies – there are no limits to the creativity here. Orta’s third concept revolves around the new ‘Joyride’ performance denim, which stands out with its easybreezy and minimalist properties. With a Tencel and cotton blend, Joyride brings the necessary stability, but without losing the lightweight feel of the new casual styles of today. And rounding off the innovations is a fourth concept with a denim for day to night: ‘Arrival’ is the name of the all-round fabric with recycled cotton and recycled PET – the epitome of urban elegance in rich cobalt blue and deepest black with ultrasoft Tencel.
THE TRADESHOW COMEBACK It might sound overly dramatic to say it here, but as an industry we have been missing each other. Fashion’s most important B2B platforms were, almost without warning, sent into a forced hiatus – at least compared to pre-COVID times. 2020 and 2021 have put tradeshow organisers, both nationally and internationally, to their toughest test yet. But instead of stunned lethargy, a genuine spirit of innovation soon began to spread with alternative digital concepts springing up overnight and improving with time. Some events even moved locations, although only virtually for now, while others were able to reopen their doors again for the first time, albeit pared back and with restrictions.
In short, we are seeing a rethink of the tradeshow concept and there is a newfound appreciation for these in-person gatherings, which were previously seen as routine and taken for granted. So let’s all celebrate the comeback of tradeshows together.
17 — 18 May 2022
DENIM PREMIÈRE VISION THE JOURNEY HAS JUST BEGUN When the penultimate edition of Denim Première Vision in London closed its doors in December 2019, no one could have imagined that the entire sector would be sent on a compulsory break just a few months later. So when the denim sourcing tradeshow was finally able to confirm its October dates for Milan this year, the feeling was one of cautious optimism. Despite that, the results surpassed expectations, as Show Director Fabio Adami Dalla Val tells us. TEXT CHERYLL MÜHLEN
“The pandemic situation allowed people to really reconsider some elements of the value chain like tradeshows. And yes, we have seen a reduction for some tradeshows, but for some it’s been a booster.” Fabio Adami Dalla Val is calling it the “new ecosystem for tradeshows”. This was kicked off by the new hybrid format that many other tradeshows opted for: initially conceived as a digital substitute, lots of organisers are using their new or improved tools in addition to the live event. For
many, it was a huge challenge to fulfil the technical prerequisites needed to provide a digital alternative, but like all new things, says Fabio Adami Dalla Val, it just needed time – for the organisers as well as for the users. And “the journey has just begun”. Now everyone is so much more confident in using Denim PV’s digital marketplace. And the figures speak for themselves: in 60 days the platform had 65,500 views. So the demand is there and take-up is growing, along with the acceptance of both formats, on and offline. After this successful event, they are looking forward to next year more than ever. In May 2022 the event is heading to Germany’s capital. Berlin is a completely different environment to Milan, for example. Originally Denim Première Vision would switch between Paris, where it started, London and Milan. But Berlin offers an interesting and logical leap into new waters – a “fresh mindset” considering the decision was made three years ago when the tradeshow landscape as we once knew it was still in existence. Getting back to the roots, albeit in a niche way, could even bring a touch of nostalgia for the good old days. Of course, the intention was originally a different one: “We need to create the right environment for everyone to work in,” Fabio Adami Dalla Val tells us. And in October they successfully proved that they are more than capable of doing just that.
A new appreciation for tradeshows – that is what Denim PV experienced in October.
“On the first day I was satisfied. But after the second day, I was enthusiastic,” Fabio Adami Dalla Val describes his reactions after the comeback of Denim PV. The figures may not be comparable to those before the pandemic but it’s impossible to compare anything with pre-2020 at the moment. The exhibitor numbers, at 46, were only half of what they had been before. But despite this, on 13 and 14 October 2021 the organisers counted 1,225 in-person visitors and 2,525 digital visitors that week, so 3,750 in total. “Everyone was really satisfied,” sums up Fabio Adami Dalla Val. But it’s not just the quantity but also the quality that counts. “I’m interested in the quality of our exhibitors and visitors. That’s much more important because everyone is there to do business.” Which is why the organisers of Denim PV were especially delighted about the number of international exhibitors and visitors, as travel still isn’t something we can take for granted.
FRANKFURT FASHION WEEK Frankfurt
17 — 21 January 2022
THE COUNTDOWN IS ON In January the wait will finally be over and the much-anticipated Frankfurt Fashion Week will be able to take place live, in colour and – most importantly – in person. Awaiting the fashion crowd from 17-21 January 2022 is a packed line-up including the digital FFW Studio, Showcases and Conferences with Premium, Seek, Neonyt and new formats Val:ue and B2C event The Ground.
TEXT CYNTHIA BLASBERG
Anita Tillmann, Managing Partner of the Premium Group, and Detlef Braun, Member of the Executive Board of Messe Frankfurt, can hardly wait to get together in person in Frankfurt and present what they’ve been working on for months now. Of course everyone is curious to see how Neonyt will position itself under the new management of Bettina Bär and also what kind of appeal Premium and Seek will have in the new location. And there is a particularly high interest in the new formats Val:ue and The Ground. “The new tradeshows during Frankfurt Fashion Week, Val:ue, organised by Messe Frankfurt and The Ground, organised by the Premium Group, are complementing the previous successful formats. This will help to create an all-round experience for B2B and B2C in Frankfurt. “Our new format The Ground is a B2C festival aimed at the young, optimistic generation. For three whole days, brands will be interactively showcasing their products and innovations – the focus here will be on sustainability, diversity, equality, wellbeing, beauty, mobility and technology,” explains Anita Tillmann, with Detlef Braun adding: “The new Val:ue will provide a base for quality and lifestyle fashion. From ladies’ and menswear, shoes, leather goods and accessories to lifestyle, trends and new production and sourcing developments – you name it, we have it! In combination with Neonyt, our sustainable flagship and the corresponding Fashionsustain conference, we therefore cover pretty much the entire market and, with the Apparel Sourcing area at Val:ue, the preliminary design phase is also included.”
“WHEN IT COMES TO INDUSTRY TRENDS, WE ARE PIONEERS.”
Although the themes of the individual formats might differ due to the fact that they are aimed at very different target groups (which is communicated by each event’s look and feel), all offers follow the key topics of sustainability and digitisation – the themes that will shape the future of the entire fashion industry.
From Gleisdreieck in Berlin to Messe Frankfurt.
Anita Tillmann sums it up perfectly: “The idea behind it is that all formats can stand alone, but in their entirety, form a harmonious whole.” The main difference between Premium and Val:ue, according to Tillmann, is that Premium has been the international business platform for advanced contemporary fashion for years now. Detlef Braun adds: “Val:ue is aimed at the quality mainstream sector and includes the sectors of apparel sourcing, vertical retail and white label. So Premium and Val:ue are completely different and view the market from very different perspectives.” We can’t wait to see how all of this translates into a real-life event during Frankfurt Fashion Week in January.
THE GROUND Frankfurt
18 — 20 January 2022
THE FUTURE IS YOUNG, DRIVEN... AND HAS MONEY TO SPEND With the move to Frankfurt, the Premium Group is not only presenting more evolved versions of fashion tradeshows Premium and Seek, but also a completely new concept: ‘The Ground’, a big B2C festival, is aimed at a young, purposedriven generation and celebrates optimism about the future.
TEXT AYLIN YAVUZ
That’s exactly where ‘The Ground’ comes in: as a platform for brands with transparency and cool communication, the festival wants to help close the attitude-behaviour gap while enabling dialogue between brands and consumers. Only when you start having an honest conversation can you start to learn from each other and persuade people to come along on the journey to sustainability. “Everything we do in our industry is ultimately for the consumer. Customer centricity is key! Brands that integrate this approach into all their processes will also continue to be successful in the future. A really important part of that is a direct interaction that goes beyond the mere selling of goods,” explains Kai Zollhöfer, Show Director of The Ground. “Our value system and consumer behaviour have been radically changing and not just since the beginning of the pandemic. Now that
social and ecological topics are playing a much bigger role for consumers, brands are expected to reflect these values. Value-based communication, storytelling and experiences are becoming increasingly important. Experiential marketing is the perfect tool to set yourself apart from the competition and win the consumer’s time and attention to build up brand loyalty. It’s a great way of entering into direct dialogue, getting feedback and collecting valuable input. And brands can only benefit from that!” When asked how The Ground would be different from its predecessors like Bread & Butter by Zalando, for which Kai Zollhöfer was also responsible, he said: “When we started planning the first Bread and Butter by Zalando in 2015, experiential marketing was still in its infancy. Even for larger brands, it was a challenge to develop concepts that could really get customers excited. Meanwhile this kind of activation has almost become a standard communication strategy and people in the sector know what works and what doesn’t.” Over three days the labels can get creative on the ‘Experiential Marketing Playground’ and showcase their stories and products interactively. In addition to the focus on fashion, brands from the fields of wellbeing, beauty, mobility and technology will also be presenting their innovative solutions.
Say what you will about Gen-Z, they are definitely not lacking in commitment and passion. The younger generation in particular has developed a strong attitude to the social and ecological challenges society is currently facing. At the nascence of important movements, they are often right at the fore, especially in a social media sense. As consumers, young people are demanding that brands reflect these attitudes and prioritise topics like sustainability and diversity. Nevertheless, this trend is still not being mirrored in the younger generation’s actual shopping behaviour.
MUNICH FABRIC START/BLUEZONE Munich
25 — 27 January 2022
PROMISING PROSPECTS FOR THE INDUSTRY The upcoming edition of Munich Fabric Start will hopefully be held in the “usual broad scope and depth”, according to its Managing Director Sebastian Klinder, who is looking forward to January with confidence, although he is still well aware of how unpredictable the situation is. INTERVIEW CHERYLL MÜHLEN
After a long enforced break, Munich Fabric Start and Bluezone will finally be returning as a physical event. How did you experience the comeback and what stands out most in your mind? It was definitely the most dynamic and intense year in our company history! We planned a lot, revised every last square metre and found new solutions. We also had to reassess or discard some of our plans, develop hygiene concepts and work on new approaches with the authorities. At the same time we were constantly aware of the enormous responsibility and the high risk we were talking on by holding a physical tradeshow during a pandemic. So our experience during the event itself was a mix of apprehension and hope that everything would work out as planned. There was also euphoria and gratitude when things finally got going and we realised that we had really made it: in a time when it is simply impossible to plan, we managed to host Munich Fabric Start and Bluezone in almost the usual broad scope and depth. The great response and the confirmation from the industry were overwhelming. I particularly remember a comment one exhibitor made, about us giving back the industry a bit of normality and hope for the future.
You introduced your new Fabric.iD service at the last edition. How has the response been so far and what are the benefits? The response to our Fabric.ID has been really good. Together with our partners we’ve been able to set up the process for digitalising fabrics in such a way that it can be expanded step by step. Since there are several steps needed to capture all the data, such as colour values, texture, repeat patterns and material composition, it’s quite time consuming. After the launch in September 2021, our goal is to offer this service to our exhibiting suppliers in its entirety. But visiting companies can also integrate the service into their sample process. The associated added value lies, for example, in cost and time savings during the sampling process as well as during the creative process. It also means that the massive amount of sample shipments for control and design processes is significantly reduced. Digital twins of fabrics offer a future-oriented solution for hybrid work with textiles, which are ultimately a haptic product that needs to be experienced and felt.
Are there any similarly exciting projects planned for the next edition? What can exhibitors and visitors look forward to in January 2022? Exhibitors and visitors can look forward to Munich Fabric Start, Bluezone and Keyhouse in their usual broad scope and depth –
with an international portfolio of fabrics and accessory manufacturers who will be presenting their innovations in Munich. This is still a planning challenge considering the uncertainty of putting on events in the run up to January 2022. With this goal in mind, we are fully focused on putting together an interesting and broad portfolio for spring/summer 2023 that offers the usual appeal. And we certainly won’t want to miss out on the opportunity to come up with one or two surprise projects at the tradeshow. Apart from the health and safety aspect, international footfall is certainly one of the biggest challenges in COVID times. What are your hopes for next year’s edition and how do you assess the situation until then? We are still in a very special situation and developments are still difficult to predict. There are simply too many factors that determine further development. What we are hoping for is to be able to maintain our September 2021 levels and – circumstances permitting – to raise things up a notch. The tradeshow business has probably changed for good: what do you think are the most formative changes at MFS? First of all, the appreciation we’ve experienced. After this long break for tradeshows we are seeing a lot of changes on the tradeshow calendar. At the same time, in-person tradeshows are gaining in importance, at least the kind of formats we represent. People are no longer taking physical tradeshows for granted – and this realisation is palpable. Another long-term change is the planning security and flexibility. Particularly when it comes to organising physical tradeshows on the scale that we do, a certain amount of advance time and the associated planning security are essential, both of which have been in extremely short supply over the past year and a half. We have had to repeatedly reassess, adapt and rethink our planning. This requires a great deal of flexibility and adaptability, which has been stretched to its limits in the dynamic kind of situation we’ve been experiencing over the past few months. At the moment, it feels as if these changes will continue to accompany us, and remain in the long term. Add to this the digital way of working that was thrust upon us by the pandemic, which requires hybrid approaches. This is also a long-term development that will influence the future of the industry – even though physical tradeshows, including the personal interaction and the haptic experience of fabrics, can never be completely replaced by digital solutions.
5 — 7 March 2022
ILM OFFENBACH A SENSE OF OPTIMISM After 18 months, the doors of ILM, the International Leather Goods Fair, finally opened its doors again at the beginning of September 2021. The restart was a success; the industry is getting back to business.
TEXT DENIZ TROSDORFF
207 exhibitors showcased their collections for spring/summer 2022 to a professional audience. Delighted about the successful reboot, Arnd Hinrich Kappe summed up the current mood of the industry and looked ahead to the coming event next March: “There’s a real sense of optimism in the air. In-person events offer inspiration and orientation for the important order business and also make it more simple and efficient. But worries about production processes abroad and supply shortages are currently concerning the sector. These are subjects that we’ll be addressing at the next ILM in March.”
DIGITALISATION AND SUSTAINABILITY Digitalisation played an important role at the previous edition of ILM. For example, the ‘OFF XR Studio’ celebrated its premiere: various elements from the accompanying programme were shown on a gigantic LED wall, which can be used for product presentations as well as talks and films. Another focal point is sustainability. “In 2022, the ILM will mainly be driving forward digitalisation and sustainability. Its influence on production processes and delivery intervals will also play a role,” explained Arnd Hinrich Kappe when asked about the plans for the coming events in March (5-7 March 2022) and September (3-5 September 2022). A further highlight in the coming year is the premiere of ‘XTRA Order Days’ in Offenbach, which will take place from 19-21 January 2022 during Fashion Week. “In addition to ILM, we’ll be offering big brands and new talents a fantastic stage with XOD and opening up more ordering options,” says Arnd Hinrich Kappe, highlighting the benefits of the new platform for business and networking.
Trade fairs are finally back up and running – after a COVID-induced hiatus of one and a half years, it was time for International Leather Goods Fair ILM to invite guests back to the exhibition grounds in Offenbach from 4-6 September 2021. There was a real sense of optimism in the air as visitors and exhibitors spoke of their joy at being reunited and finally being able to do business in person again. This was confirmed by the event’s Managing Director Arnd Hinrich Kappe: “The restart was a huge success that was dominated by a positive atmosphere and high visitor numbers. Visitors from 27 countries were represented, proving that ILM isn’t restricted to Europe in terms of its significance. Despite the current circumstances, we were also able to report good attendance numbers.” There is clearly an overwhelming desire and need to return to face-to-face events:
PITTI UOMO Florence
11 — 13 January 2022
FLORENCE, HOW WE MISSED YOU! It was the long-awaited sign that everyone had been hoping for. This May, when Pitti Immagine received the official green light from the Italian government to hold their summer events live and in person, there was a huge sigh of relief and a real sense of anticipation. And now everyone is excitedly waiting for the 101st edition of Pitti Uomo at the beginning of next year. Raffaello Napoleone, CEO of Pitti Immagine, reveals why the ultimate menswear business event is not to be missed. TEXT CHERYLL MÜHLEN
The good news were followed by a hardcore time schedule: the team only had 45 working days to plan, organise and bring their events to life, as Raffaello Napoleone, CEO of Pitti Immagine, tells us over the phone – all while adhering to strict COVID health and safety measures to make the health of everyone involved a top priority. The team worked flat out to make it all happen and their efforts certainly paid off – a positive atmosphere, satisfied exhibitors and, as Raffaello Napoleone emphasises, no cases of COVID-19. With more than 10,000 visitors within the first five days of the fair, including at Pitti Uomo, Pitti Bimbo and Pitti Filati, that is an impressive résumé and bodes extremely well for the next in-person event in January 2022.
In answer to our question about why visitors shouldn’t miss the upcoming Pitti Uomo, Raffaello Napoleone says: “Pitti Uomo is the leading tradeshow for men’s fashion. If you miss it, then you miss the opportunity to understand where the season is going. Of course, you can be lucky and have good instincts but if you want to succeed in the menswear business, you have to come to Florence.”
“We are very positive about January,” he tells us optimistically, before talking about the positive developments and increasing ‘freedoms’ in Italy and around the world. So hopefully nothing will stand in the way of the most important menswear tradeshow from 11-13 January. And that’s a good thing. Because even though Raffaello Napoleone confirms that the tradeshow business has since changed for good, he is noticing a newly discovered appreciation of these kind of platforms. “What many people missed in the last three seasons is being able to compare their collections with those of their competitors. Of course you can sell through your own or multi-brand showrooms, but at the tradeshow you can find your niche of producers from the same market. And it’s the same for buyers, who need to be able to make confident choices.” Yet he is also more than aware of the increasing significance of digital solutions. Pitti Connect might have been a stopgap solution to begin with, but it has developed into an integral part of the Pitti Immagine offer and, as a hybrid platform, makes it more future-proof than ever. In conversation with exhibitors, it was clear that face-to-face contact is back in focus and actually preferred.
“Future fairs will gradually start to incorporate elements from the past again, but with a more carefully curated selection and a reinforced concept that offers the visitors new projects, new programmes and of course also more sustainability.” And that’s what it’s all about at the end of the day: “Leveraging this change, even if it’s deep and dramatic, and changing the concept of tradeshows. Of course, it’s still about seeing and selling, but the way you present is going to change every season, which is why we have to be very close to our exhibitors and understand their expectations.”
Pitti Uomo in June 2021 – a more than welcome return of the menswear tradeshow.
25/01 - 27/01/2022
INTERNATIONAL FABRIC TRADE SHOW
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INSIDER OPINION – HAMIT YENICI
WE LET DOWN OUR PLANET When we ask Hamit Yenici, co-founder of HICH Solutions, to talk about his past – as the CEO of two major denim manufacturers who has had a huge influence on the development of the industry – he emphasises that the past is over and that what really counts is tomorrow. With HICH Solutions, a visionary company dedicated to finding the best solutions by working at the interface of brands, retailers and textile producers worldwide, he sources innovative trends, materials and technologies to build impactful, creative, sustainable collections and business platforms. An interview about change, evolution and recycling. INTERVIEW CHERYLL MÜHLEN
With almost three decades in the top league of the denim business, what motivated you to start HICH solutions? There are certain times and decisions where you just go for your dreams and plans, as I have. Just three years ago I decided to establish a new business model with my partners Kerem, Emrah and Banu. I’ve been observing lot of changes over the last five years. Since the global boost in textile investments, overcapacity has become a chronic problem for our industry. Not to mention a tense economic situation, climate change, consolidation in brands, retailers, shifting new customer profiles (millennials and generation X) and changing buyer behaviours etc. All these macro trends are disrupting and changing the fashion industry. More than ever, companies now need to be agile, think digital-first and achieve ever-faster speed to market. Equally, they need to take an active stance on social issues, deliver on consumer demands for transparency and sustainability, and have the courage to re-think their own identity. All of this has affected our visions and encouraged us to create HICH solutions, which aims to support the textile industry. We use speed-to-market as a differentiator, are genuinely creative, innovative and sustainable and respect people and Mother Earth. We collaborate and generate profitable solutions and rely on business ethics.
Like you said, the denim industry has changed and is still changing – mostly for the better. What do you consider to be the most exciting developments? And why? Developing a new product, a factory, a collection, material or machinery is part and parcel of our day-to-day business but now is the time to foresee changes and develop our reflex for adaptation. We’ve all been witnessing exponential growth and evolving technologies in the textile industry for decades. Innovations are achieved in every single area, from raw materials to garment facilities. The ones who foresaw all these changes are the leaders now. But admittedly, all we Hamit Yenici, co-founder of HICH Solutions were focused on was success and we
let down our planet until climate change started to affect us. Humanity’s egocentric approach needs to change now as we are all realising that our time is running out. Everyone has started introducing circular and sustainable methods, so circularity and sustainability are at the focus. No doubt the best development is one that hasn’t been discovered yet… but who knows? Maybe we’ll see it soon. What are the main criteria for how you choose the clients you work with? We look for visionary minds and companies. Capacity and size cannot create a brand if you’re not good at innovation and creativity. We respect creativity in all areas. Our clients all have their own strengths and we take these differences into account, developing marketing and sales strategies in the industry. All partners are experienced in their areas and have the potential to create solutions. They all share a talent for finding business-driven solutions worldwide. Each of our clients are in different continents and serve different garment operations territories. We believe that local garment operations are always the better way so all the mills we work with serve different customer profiles and product segments, tastes etc. Positive collaborations are the most powerful assets for future-oriented sustainable businesses. It’s only by coming together that we can create significant results and a better future. Let’s talk about the future: is there anything else you would like to do? Inside or even outside the industry? Inside the industry and as a father of two sons, I am taking on the responsibility of driving the industry to seek out better approaches for our planet and future generations. We are the generation that can prevent irreparable damage to our planet – for our children. In my opinion, recycling is a product innovator. Recycling is a good place to start to clean up the impact of landfills. So my aim is to innovate recycling products that will be welcomed by consumers and sold across the world to help offset the global effects. And it’s not just about recycling: I’m willing to work on anything that helps. HICHSOLUTIONS.COM
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