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DESIGNING CONFIDENCE SOURCINGJOURNAL.COM

NO. 11 / APRIL 2021


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TABL E OF C ON T E N TS 16 30 6

34 36 40 52 56 58 62 64 84 VA L EN T I N O SH I RT, SACA I J E AN S, EAST V I L L AG E H AT, DI OR E AR R I N G, J OH N H A R DY N E CKLACE, P YR R H A R I N GS, LADY G R EY R I N G

RIVET NO.11 / APRIL 2021

HOME Heritage denim brands play house with new home decor collections. THE PREMIUM PARADOX Data shows a growing percentage of American women wearing larger sizes. But are premium labels keeping up? DESIGNING CONFIDENCE Brands of all sizes address the need for adaptive jeans. BRIDGING THE GENDER GAP Denim's universal appeal and heritage roots serve genderless fashion. REVEL Designer denim celebrates individuality. SOLID GROUND Kontoor Brands president and CEO Scott Baxter shares how the jeanswear giant is preparing itself for another year of change and opportunities. THE V WORD Denim brands pivot to vegan trims. SOCIAL CONTRACTS The criteria for sustainability reporting can be as vague as the topic they are intended to document. CLEAN SLATE New efforts from across the denim industry address responsible aftercare of jeans. INTO THE WILD As cooped-up consumers find refuge in nature, demand for protective performance denim grows. DATABASE The need-to-know stats on U.S. jeans imports and cotton prices.


IRL 8

Angela Velasquez Executive Editor, Rivet Peter Sadera Editor in Chief, Sourcing Journal Jessica Binns Managing Editor Arthur Friedman Senior Editor Vicki M. Young Executive Financial Reporter

I spent a lot of time on social media this past year, so much so that when I hear stories about people who fostered pets, launched side hustles and wrote novels during quarantine, I begin to think I did the pandemic wrong. I didn’t pick up any new skills or hobbies, but I can provide a full report on conspiracy theories, royal family drama, celebrity feuds and Gen Z’s stance against skinny jeans. That being said, had I known in the early days of the pandemic that it would continue for more than a year, I’d still probably choose hours upon hours of scrolling through Instagram and TikTok to numb the sadness and anxiety brought on by this crisis. One of my all-time favorite memes is from an early 2000s interview with Mariah Carey. In the 8-second clip, the singer is asked a question about Jennifer Lopez, who by that time had become a globally recognized pop star and actress. With a polite smile, Carey shakes her head and says, “I don’t know her.” It’s a quick and pointed response that will go down in the annals of shade history, and it somehow has become my inner voice toward anything I have adverse feelings for. One of those things is loungewear. My big quarantine achievement may in fact be coming out of this period without purchasing a single sweatshirt, jogger, hoodie or pair of sweatpants. The only tie-dye I added to my closet was in blazer and jean form. The notion that we need a whole new wardrobe for sitting around at home, and that comfort can only be achieved through elastic waistbands and fleece lining, is, to me, completely counter to the uplifting feeling that fashion can instill in our lives, especially during the bleakest of times. I am, perhaps, too close to the denim industry to fully understand why jeans were among the garments relentlessly trolled on social media during the first months of the pandemic. The leaps and bounds the industry has made to make jeans feel softer and more flexible have been game-changing, and the industry continues to innovate in this space despite unfathomable loss and hardships. But I am hopeful that as the world begins to reopen and people put this trying time behind them, they will also pack away their quarantine uniforms and rediscover the many joys of dressing up. This issue, if nothing else, represents the massive opportunity awaiting the jeans industry. And let me tell you: it isn’t loungewear. From the demand for adaptive apparel, genderless designs and vegan fashion, to the inroads denim is making in both the home and outdoor apparel categories, to the creative release designers are pouring into their collections, the possibilities are boundless. This issue is dedicated to denim that is meant to be lived in and seen—not just through a social media feed or in the confines of our homes, but enjoyed in real life.

Jasmin Malik Chua Sourcing & Labor Editor Kate Nishimura Features Editor Glenn Taylor Business Editor Liz Warren Staff Writer Chuck Dobrosielski Staff Writer Sarah Jones Business Reporter Tonya Blazio-Licorish Contributor, Fairchild Archive Assistant A RT DEPA RTMEN T

Celena Tang Associate Art Director Arani Halder Designer SOURCING JOURNA L A DV ERTIS IN G

Edward Hertzman Founder & President, Sourcing Journal & Rivet Executive Vice President, Fairchild Caletha Crawford Publisher Lauren Parker Branded Content Manager Eric Hertzman Senior Director of Sales & Marketing Deborah B. Baron Advertising Director Allix Cowan Client Services Coordinator Sarah Sloand Executive Sales Assistant P RODU CTI ON

Kevin Hurley Production Director John Cross Production Manager Therese Hurter PreMedia Specialist

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JAY PENSKE CHAIRMAN & CEO GERRY BYRNE VICE CHAIRMAN GEORGE GROBAR CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER SARLINA SEE CHIEF ACCOUNTING OFFICER CRAIG PERREAULT CHIEF DIGITAL OFFICER TODD GREENE EVP, BUSINESS AFFAIRS AND CHIEF LEGAL OFFICER MARK HOWARD CHIEF ADVERTISING AND PARTNERSHIPS OFFICER PAUL RAINEY EVP, OPERATIONS & FINANCE TOM FINN SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT, OPERATIONS DEBASHISH GHOSH MANAGING DIRECTOR, INTERNATIONAL MARKETS JENNY CONNELLY SVP, PRODUCT & TECHNOLOGY

Executive Editor, Rivet

JUDITH R. MARGOLIN SVP, DEPUTY GENERAL COUNSEL KEN DELALCAZAR SVP, FINANCE

COVER CREDIT S: LE F T: Y/PROJECT COAT, DSQUARED2 J EANS, CHRISTIAN WIJ NANTS GLOVES, WANDLER BOOTS, HEAVEN BY MARC JACOBS EARRING. RIGHT: PH I LOSOPH Y D I LOR E N ZO SE R AF I N I JACK E T OVE R TR E B Y N ATALI E R ATAB E SI B ODYSUI T; GUCCI TROUSE RS, DSQUARE D 2 BOOTS, J OOMI LIM EARRING, ETTIKA RINGS, MISHO R I N G, PYRRHA RI NGS.

RIVET NO.11 / APRIL 2021

LAUREN UTECHT SVP, HUMAN RESOURCES NELSON ANDERSON SVP, CREATIVE RACHEL TERRACE SVP, LICENSING & BRAND DEVELOPMENT


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RIVET NO.11 / APRIL 2021


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Denim brands play house with new home décor collections. w ords_____ ANGELA VELASQUE Z

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he global denim and home décor sectors have more in common than fabric, design and long lead times. With more bodies on the couch in a state of repose these days, the denim industry is rejiggering what the durable, democratic and increasingly sustainable fabric means to end consumers. For some of the biggest names in the business, that means finding residency in the home décor category. Denim giant Levi’s bowed its first line of home décor with long-time retail partner Target in late February, delivering a 100-piece collection of tableware, barware, rugs, bedding and more. Kontoor Brands-owned Wrangler dabbled in home as well this year through a partnership with Pottery Barn Teen. The collection spanned curtains, tapestries and lounge seating, to duvet covers, storage bins and rugs. The back- to-back home collections from these leading jeans makers underscored the power heritage brands wield, particularly during uncertain economic times. When purse strings are tight, consumers flock to familiar brands they trust. The collections also magnified the need for denim brands to diversify their product assortments during an unprecedented year that largely confined consumers to their homes and curtailed the need for new jeans.

Welcome home When one door shuts, however, another opens and there’s never been a better time for apparel brands to step into the home category. With everyone staying put, brands must use this new reality to their advantage, said Jaye Anna Mize, Fashion Snoops vice president of creative, home interiors and design. “Overall, the home interiors market has soared during the pandemic, as everyone is home and wants to declutter and redesign, finally fix or design those areas of neglect,” she said. “It’s a great time for apparel brands to license into home, as consumers are placing higher valuation in home products over all other product categories.” Throughout the pandemic, NPD Group said consumers purchased products that make staying RIVET NO.11 / APRIL 2021

at home easier and more palatable. “The Covid-19 pandemic forced consumers to adapt, and they did so quickly, shifting their discretionary spending from travel and other experiences towards the here and now of a new homebound lifestyle,” said Marshal Cohen, NPD’s chief industry adviser, retail. Sales figures back up consumers’ newfound nesting habit. Since the week of March 14, 2020, just days after the World Health Organization declared Covid-19 a pandemic, product categories related to working, schooling, staying fit and living and eating at home have grown 20-50 percent each week, said Joe Derochowski, NPD’s vice president and home industry advisor. “Literally everything related to home has been extremely hot,” he said. “That’s why these apparel brands would be wanting to play in the space. [Home] was hot heading into the pandemic—it’s been hot for the last five to six years because of the favorable demographics. But it’s even hotter because of the pandemic.”

Team work The pandemic certainly moved millennials, who continue to lag in home ownership, to finally mind their living arrangements. Prior to the coronavirus, the office was home for many in the 20and 30-something cohort. Communal desks, quiet pods, living walls, gyms and stocked kitchens and bars fulfilled their day-to-day needs, leaving their rental apartments merely a place to crash. Working remotely, however, forced the group to invest in home office setups, as well as amenities that provide the comfort and indulgences of pre-quarantine life. Case in point: during the week ending March 21, 2020, NPD saw double-digit growth for sales of specialty coffee and espresso makers. What Levi’s and Wrangler’s home collections lacked in fancy milk frothers, they made up for in comfort and style that resonate with millennials as well as Gen Z. “They are definitely after the younger demographics with these alignments,” Mize said of the home collections. While the Levi’s for Target collection offered a broad sweep of goods that spanned cocktail shakers to patchwork denim teddy bears, Wrangler made a pointed effort to reach Gen Z by teaming with Pottery Barn Teen, a purveyor of high-end furniture for adolescents’

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l_____EILEEN FI SHER X WEST ELM

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18 bedrooms and young adult dorms. Wrangler has flirted with home before, but Steve Armus, Kontoor Brands vice president of global partnership and licensing, said it felt like the right time to get back into the category with a collaborator armed with deep knowledge of the product and the audience. “I found out a long time ago when you do business with category leaders, you listen to them a lot, and you play towards their strengths,” he said. The partnership was initiated before the pandemic, allowing Pottery Barn Teen’s senior product and merchant design teams to visit Wrangler’s Greensboro, N.C., offices. There, members of the Wrangler team spent the entire day educating Pottery Barn Teen on what’s important to the brand, its key looks and the items that attract shoppers. From a product side, however, Pottery Barn Teen took the lead, understanding what works best for the consumer. “Having the right partner in this kind of exercise is really the most important thing,” Armus said. Pottery Barn Teen, he added, proved itself throughout this collaboration to be first class with its understanding of the market, the consumer, the quality of its products, its design, and the care it is willing to take to execute products that showcase the brands in the best light. “It was a good holistic listening on both sides to come up with, ultimately, what we think is a collection that really brings out the best of both of us,” Armus said. “It’s been my history that that’s how those things get done. If we were to dictate what works, it wouldn’t be the best it could be. We share each other’s values and came up with what was a really nice collection for both parties.”

beyond blankets and pillows. Initially launched in 2008 as an assortment of textiles, the home collection continued to grow year after year adopting important partnerships with leading players in the interior design field, including Moroso for furniture, Lodes for lighting, Scavolini for kitchen and bathroom, Seletti for tableware and more. The collection, Mize noted, has been successful in European markets. And the roster of luxury apparel brands with home collections confirms that the appetite for stylish décor is real. Bottega Veneta, Fendi Casa, Gucci Décor, Hermes, and Louis Vuitton with its “Objets Nomades” collection of travel-inspired furniture are among the aspirational brands that have a foot in the home category. Brands that belong to the mid-luxury markets, however, tend to have a lot more success with lifestyle-oriented consumers, Mize said. “Consumers are looking to translate their style into their home,” she said, adding that Kate Spade and Tory Burch are great examples how an apparel brand can adapt their style to home because consumers “have bought into their brands” and want to enjoy the lifestyles these labels exude. The home collections by fast-fashion retailers have a strong following as well. Spanish chain Mango recently announced the launch of its collection of home textiles that nod to its Mediterranean roots and coastal living. The company expects to gradually add tableware and products for the living room. H&M and Zara, which have dedicated home stores across Europe, are successful in the region, too. “In fact, most young home owners source heavily from those two in Europe,” Mize said. “They are a great mix of sophisticated yet playful styling.”

Fashion house

Function first

Denim in the home is not a new concept. In fact, Diesel Living has elevated its industrial denim style into an entire aesthetic for the home that goes well

Denim in the home space can certainly work, but Derochowski urged apparel brands to not lose sight of the purpose of home goods. Fashion brands, he RIVET NO.11 / APRIL 2021

said, are often good at bringing the design element, but design plus functionality is the winning formula. The denim market, however, is well-versed in this balancing act. It’s a combination that is increasingly echoed across the jeanswear industry as consumer shift gears from trend-driven designs to styles that will endure multiple seasons. Conscious consumers are considering the environmental impact and longevity of their purchases—in terms of both design and durability—and brands are heeding this demand with waterless technologies, recycled fibers and more efficient production processes overall. And this is where the denim category might provide a major lift for the home category, which Derochowski said has seen sustainability take a back seat during the pandemic. Wrangler reinforced its sustainable commitments by incorporating Repreve recycled polyester, upcycled scraps of denim, organic cotton and BCI cotton into its line with Pottery Barn Teen. Sustainable apparel brand Eileen Fisher brought denim’s durability and unique character to the forefront with a collection of zero-waste home decor and furniture developed with West Elm last August. The fabrics used in the collection were sourced through Eileen Fisher’s Renew program, which deconstructs previously owned denim garments donated by customers into new products with more value. And in keeping with Levi’s sustainable mission, its collection with Target offered more sustainable certifications and claims than any of Target’s previous limited-time-only design collaborations. “We immediately connected on our mutual passion for purposeful and timeless design, with sustainability and quality at the core of everything we do,” Karyn Hillman, Levi’s chief product officer, said of the partnership with Target. “We dialed up the best elements of our two iconic brands and discovered fresh new ways to create truly unique products to be enjoyed for years to come.” If sustainable and unique designs are what consumers want for their home, it is hard to name a better foundation than denim, a textile that is often described as a living fabric that evolves along with the habits, hobbies and lifestyle of its owner. With more home companies seeking ways to use recycled and upcycled components, Mize said denim will be an important factor in creating more responsible statement pieces. “Denim would be a great player for fitting that aesthetic,” she said.


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and comfort. Durable raw denim brings a stately vibe to classic outerwear silhouettes.

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bleach, please A relic of a bygone fashion era, bleached denim makes a stylish return to men's collections in an artistic yet controlled way. The bold contrast between the white and indigo offers an elevated

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adds an effortlessly cool and laidback vibe to denim. Don't forget the statement shoes.

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PVC legs, body-hugging one-pieces and risqué lacing in strange and unusual places.

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THE PREMIUM PAR ADOX The denim industry has more data than ever and all signs point to a growing percentage of American women wearing larger sizes. But are premium labels keeping up? w ord s_____ JE SSI CA BI N N S

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RIVET NO.11 / APRIL 2021


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RIVET NO.11 / APRIL 2021

T

he 2010s might go down as the decade when fashion finally sat up and paid attention to the millions of consumers who wear extended sizes. Launch after launch thrust brands into new territory, often with lucrative results. For one, Abercrombie & Fitch’s curvy denim launch “sold through too quickly,” CEO Fran Horowitz lamented in 2019, suggesting outsize demand for sizes above the conventional range. And that same year Chad Kessler, American Eagle global brand president, told Glamour how “silly” it was for a windowfront mannequin to model plus-size jeans that were nowhere to be found in store, prompting the specialty retailer to bring extended sizes from clicks into bricks. But while mainstream marquee brands seized the opportunity to create denim for an oft-ignored demographic, progress has been slow for elevated labels that have long trafficked in exclusivity. Though brands like Frame and Reformation offer some products in plus sizes, the seemingly lukewarm level of interest from the premium denim sector very well might be intentional, according to one industry expert. “A lot of these premium denim brands have a rich heritage or a cult status,” said Kayla Marci, market analyst for Edited, the retail intelligence platform used by Boohoo, J.Crew and Puma. “They are probably aspirational for consumers whose sizes aren't yet catered for and could be demanding representation to have the same access to brands and products as their straight-size peers.” Brands, however, might be interested to know that a growing number of curvy consumers is querying the web for fashion-forward jeans, while Edited’s data shows a 90 percent year-over-year increase in sellouts for jeans in sizes 32 and higher over the past three months. Meanwhile, searches for plus-size boot-cut jeans climbed 187 percent year over year, while flare styles for curvy figures drew 122 percent more searches than the prior year, according to Trendalytics, a trend data platform. Consumers also showed 91 percent more search interest in distressed denim styles in curvy sizes, with web searchers also conducting 89 percent more queries for ever-popular mom jeans in extended sizes. However, the language consumers employ when scouting out denim online is evolving—perhaps under the influence of the body-positivity movement—with the 3 percent uptick in searches for “plus size jeans” lagging the 21 percent increase

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in searches for “curve jeans,” it added. At the end of the day, plus-size consumers want the same options as their straight-size peers, says Kristin Breakell, content strategist for Trendalytics—and that includes denim that costs a little more, too. “There’s always going to be a market for those premium price points.” What’s particularly interesting is that many consumers who end up buying lower-cost curvy denim products often have to pony up for tailoring and fitting to achieve their desired look, so “they’re already expected to invest further in these purchases,” Breakell added. This indicates an opportunity to serve denim consumers who might be ready and willing to “pay upfront for a well-fitting, high-quality product rather than having to do that after the fact,” she said. Consumers might be vociferously calling for fashion agnosticism to size but making denim that fits flatteringly across diverse bodies and sizes is much easier said than done. Breaknell didn’t downplay the extra time and additional costs incurred when brands accustomed to the strictures of limited sizing suddenly strike out for new terrain. But with roughly two-thirds of women in the U.S. meeting plus-size characteristics, Breknell says it’s difficult to ignore the “buying power” of this underserved consumer cohort.

ating great-fitting clothing across an unprecedented range of sizes,” Waldman said. “We know how to successfully bridge the divide that has defined the apparel industry for so long and our collaborations are a way of sharing those learnings so that the broader industry change can be affected.” One of the collaborations she’s referring to came during a 2018 tie-up with American heritage brand J.Crew, which leveraged the newbie’s insights and expertise to create an XXS-5X capsule of classic wardrobe staples outside of its usual comfort zone.

Straightening out the standard

With four new denim styles launching in March, Universal Standard now carries 12 silhouettes, with consumers able to shop 60 options across washes, lengths and petites. The new additions—whose Donna, Etta, Joni, and Stevie names reference iconic women in music—tackle one of the female denim wearer’s biggest pain points: the “dreaded waist gap.” Universal Standard’s new curve fits target wearers whose hips are 10 inches wider—or more—than their waists, a reality that often leads to “gaping, dipping or readjusting,” the brand says. Though it has always served larger-sized consumers, the launch acknowledges that plus-size shoppers are anything but a monolith with body shapes and morphologies demanding unique accommodations. The new denim debut includes just one skinny style, seizing on the trend-led movement away from restrictive fits toward the looser styles that Gen Z consumers in particular are known to favor. But it was a late-March denim-centric collaboration with British design house Erdem that put fashion on notice and further premiumized Universal Standard’s place in the industry. “Fashion for everyone means designing consciously beyond the boundaries of shape or trend,”

The potential to serve women wearing extended sizes has attracted a number of new entrants in recent years. Universal Standard made its debut six years ago in response to the dearth of designs for consumers who don’t conform the straight-size mold but still want to look like polished and put together in premium fabrications without paying a pretty penny. According to Alexandra Waldman, co-founder and chief creative officer of Universal Standard, 70 percent of women in the United States have a size 14 or higher on their clothing labels, “and not catering to them is a real missed opportunity.” However, the push for brands to augment their size ranges is about “more than commerce,” she added. “It’s about believing that everyone deserves access, respect and dignity.” Since launch, the New York City-based fashion startup has graduated from its plus-size genesis, blossoming into a fully size-inclusive label spanning 00-40 that creates a space where people of all sizes can shop the same styles. And its denim offerings have amassed a loyal following along the way. That’s because the Gwyneth Paltrow-backed brand has developed a “very successful way of cre-

70%

of w om en in the U.S. h a v e a si ze 14 or higher on their clothing labels

RIVET NO.11 / APRIL 2021

said designer Erdem Moralıoglu, whose eponymous label collaborated on the eight-piece collection brimming with “Englishness.” The brands say the collection, which riffs on notes of the pandemic-era cottagecore movement, fuses “rational ease” with “romantic charm.” Beyond a wide-leg jean and sailor-inspired skinny, the capsule offers a top-stitched,denim boilersuit, a patchwork white denim skirt and loose-fitting jeans. Rich blue- or black-and-white floral prints, evoking classic chinoiserie, lend on-trend countryside charm to cotton shirtdresses and tops accented by ruffled trim. According to Waldman, the elevated capsule, with prices spanning $120-$198, underscores that “size equality is the only way forward.” “Access for all doesn’t end with US,” she added. “Together with Erdem, we aim to change the way fashion looks for all of US and the way we look at fashion. This is to the benefit of the industry, the consumer, and the idea of fashion equality.

Fi urin out fit Data and technology are taking a starring role in the denim industry, and fit tech specifically offers potential to steer consumers toward the jeans that work for their figures. Fit:Match, a Fort Lauderdale, Fla. startup that takes a Netflix-style approach to pairing people with product, garnered a flurry of headlines last year when it partnered with mall operator Brookfield to bring its body-scanning stations into some of its shopping center properties amid widespread retail closures and general consumer anxiety about the risks of visiting stores. Despite what could be described as inauspicious timing for its debut, Fit:Match is now used by denim brands spanning Good American, Paige Denim and American Eagle Outfitters. The Netflix analogy applies to Fit:Match in that the body-scanner-provided data shows consumers the brands whose sizes most closely match their measurements. “We believe extremely strongly in this matching score that we are assigning to each item, and to each SKU,” says founder and CEO Haniff Brown. What’s more, brands appreciate the Fit:Match data, says Brown, because it shows them how their sizes benchmark against their peers. If the industry average “match” is 95 percent for a size 12, meaning that size 12 will work for 95 percent of size-12wearing consumers, a brand that garners a mere 72 percent for that particular size can investigate what steps it must take to improve. A brand that overperforms on its smaller sizes but underperforms


l_____GOOD AMERI CAN

on larger ones can use the Fit:Match data to go back to the drawing brand. And product teams often do put these findings to good use, according to Brown who says Fit:Match helped one large retailer reconstruct its private-label size medium tops and bottoms when the data indicated “really low match scores” not just compared to its other sizes but to industry competitors as well. Sizing is especially crucial for omnichannel denim brands, when consumers can’t try on the jeans they’re eyeing on their phone or computer screens. The Fit:Match platform shows brands and designers which products and sizes consumers are engaging with on their digital pages, driving what Brown describes as “data-rich commerce.” Will the pandemic pause ‘extended’ expansions? If there’s one uphill battle facing the movement for increased sizes among high-end denim labels, it’s that the jeans sector is just entering the earliest stages of recovery from a year-long, pandemic-induced malaise, Breakell noted. That aforementioned 3 percent bump in searches for plus-size denim indicates consumers’ nascent reawakening to clothing beyond quarantine-friendly loungewear. Convincing brands to invest in new sizing and all that it requires when they still might be digging out from a Covid-shaped hole could be a tall order. But it’s a conversation brands need to have if they have any hope of remaining relevant with the Gen Z consumer, “who continues to challenge societal norms and demands representation and inclusivity,” Edited’s Marci said. “We're changing our values as customers and I think that it's becoming more apparent that consumers not only want inclusivity but will only shop for brands who really are actually inclusive,” Breakell said, warning that savvy consumers “can see straight though” tactics like “virtue signaling” and “surface-level diversity.” Though some brands might be tempted to take the easy way out and “just add a stretch denim line and call it a day,” Marci says denim labels interested in extending their size range “will need to work hard for this demographic to succeed.” “Inclusivity needs to be ingrained across all touchpoints,” she added, “from research to garment creation, fitting with body shape in mind, marketing, in-store and online customer service.” And Universal Standard is ready to play big sister to brands that don’t know where to get started—but want to. “We’re definitely still advising brands and are happy to share what we know with anyone who wants to join us on this mission of making fashion for all,” Waldman said. RIVET NO.11 / APRIL 2021

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Denim brands of all sizes address the need for 34 adaptive jeans. w ord s _____ GLENN TAYLOR

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ith millions of people worldwide living with disabilities and sensory issues, which can make daily activities including getting dressed very difficult, more brands have sought to help them out by filling the adaptive apparel void. In 2019, Coresight Research said the underserved adaptive apparel market could potentially reach $349.9 billion globally by 2023. As denim remains such a centerpiece of fashion across all types of consumers, that means that there is plenty of opportunity for more brands to learn more about how they can aid these consumers with more comfortable jeans. When Tommy Hilfiger launched the Tommy Adaptive line in 2017, the fashion brand estimated that one billion people are living with some form of disability, yet many have been largely overlooked and excluded by the fashion industry. Upon realizing how many people have gone unnoticed by major brands, Tommy Hilfiger saw a huge gap to fill in terms of the adaptive product available and the representation of people with disabilities. With denim already serving as a major staple within the iconic brand, it was only fitting that the jeans would take on this challenge. “I started my career in fashion because of my love of jeans—they are a classic, all-American staple. A great pair of jeans can make you feel powerful and confident, and we wanted to ensure that all of our consumers, regardless of ability, could feel that way and express themselves with the styles they love,” said founder Tommy Hilfiger.

ALT ="MAN WEARING JEANS BY IZ ADAPTIVE"

DESIGNING


ALT =''TOMMY ADAPTIVE"

ALT =''TOMMY

Tommy Adaptive is modified from the company’s mainstream line to give shoppers for adaptive clothing the chance to “enjoy the same classic, cool styles that our brand offers,” a company rep said. The only adjustments in the adaptive clothing are the discrete modifications that are added to promote comfortable, easy dressing. Tommy Adaptive includes adjustable waists and pull-on loops in all pants. The seated styles have a higher rise in the back to provide coverage, and a lower rise in the front designed for comfort. Additionally, the back pockets in seated styles have been moved to the sides of the pants for function and a more comfortable fit, and discrete openings have been created on each side of the pant to allow for greater ease of access. All adaptive jeans have a magnet and Velcro closure in place of standard buttons and zippers for the fly. There are also magnetic wide-leg openings to create additional room for braces, prosthetics and overall ease of pulling on pants. Tommy Hilfiger may be the biggest brand name thrusting itself into the adaptive denim business, but smaller companies like IZ Adaptive and Trinidad3 are showing how a little innovation can go a long way. Canadian designer Izzy Camilleri, founder of the inclusive fashion label IZ Adaptive, recently launched the “Game Changer” pant after spending years studying how to create a seamless-back to minimize possible causes of pressure sores, which can potentially become a life-threatening issue in the long term. The Game Changer pants are specifically designed for wheelchair users, who can get pres-

sure sores from a combination of moisture and friction from an ill-fitting garment. The pant looks like a classic jean in the front but the back has revolutionary IZ Seamless Technology, which Camilleri said is designed to be free of seams or pockets that a person would normally be sitting on. These elements, she added, can result in pressure sores. “Everything that we do, the starting point is from a seated perspective,” she said. Both the indigo and black versions of the jeans are made of pre-washed stretch denim comprised of 98 percent cotton and 2 percent spandex. The jeans follow the line of the seated body, and include an extended front fly zipper with removable pull tab. Different variations include a choice of button or hook and bar closure to give shoppers a wider range of options to open their jeans comfortably. Trinidad Garcia III, the founder of Los Angeles-based denim brand Trinidad3, built his company after spending time in the Marine Corps. Many veterans deal with lingering physical issues after their deployment. Garcia saw an opportunity to help his fellow veterans with the launch of an adaptive line, noting that the new collection specifically can help serve amputees with prosthetic legs. Those who wear prosthetics must adjust the straps on the limb so it won’t bite into their hips. Since it’s hard to adjust straps when wearing pants, and people may feel awkward adjusting pants in public, they won’t do it at all.

Trinidad3 address this issue by applying zippers on each leg that extend from the pocket down to the knee cap. This allows the wearer to easily adjust the prosthetic. “We can work to hide the prosthetic,” Garcia said. “From a fabric perspective, I wanted to use a weight that that still held some volume there so you couldn’t tell what side the prosthetic was on.” To construct the adaptive jeans, Garcia says the creative process is the same as it is for any other parts of the brand’s collection, such as seeking out the best fabric and trims, and understanding what individuals’ challenges are. “We’re meeting what those needs are, whether they are cut off down at the knee or up at the hip,” he said. Although the comfort level is certainly an important factor, the growth of adaptive denim is arguably just as beneficial on a mental level, especially when it comes to looking good and feeling good. “I think fashion is freedom because it allows you to be who you want to be and not be restricted by clothes that you feel you have to wear because of your limitation set, either physically, or by being in a chair,” Camilleri said. Garcia’s inspiration to empower and improve the lives of veterans further developed when he met Josue Barron, a veteran amputee who lost his left leg in Afghanistan in 2010. Barron modeled Trinidad3’s adaptive jeans at Project Las Vegas last year. “I saw his passion for fashion,” Garcia said about Barron. “He wants to feel the magic that fashion brings—the ‘look good, feel good’ element. The fact that we can use something that we’re very passionate about, which is denim and jeans, to do so, was the most fulfilling thing we’ve done to date.”

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CONFIDENCE RIVET NO.11 / APRIL 2021


W H AT ’S NE X T

BRIDGING THE GENDER GAP Denim’s universal appeal and heritage roots serve genderless fashion. w ords _____ LI Z WARREN

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omen’s fashion magazine Vogue made waves when its December 2020 issue featured pop star and fashion experimentalist Harry Styles on the cover. The issue sparked such a frenzy that readers were put on a waitlist to receive a copy, and the magazine had to place a rush order to fulfill the demand. The reason for the commotion: Not only was Styles the first man to appear solo on the magazine’s cover, but he did so while dressed in a pastel Gucci ball gown. Gender-swapping styles have historically followed a specific formula: Men can’t wear women’s fashion, but women can wear men’s fashion—in fact, the latter is often celebrated. A woman in a tailored suit or an oversize garment stamped with a “boyfriend” label is considered edgy and cool; a man in a dress, on the other hand, can send society into a tailspin. But could a fabric change everything? A notoriously democratizing material worn by all genders, ages and economic demographics, denim might have the potential to bridge the gender gap.

Kuba Dabrowski for WWD

Genderless by design According to Mohsin Sajid, a design consultant and owner and creative director of the denim brand Endrime, denim was gender fluid before the term was part of the lexicon. “Historically, it was women who wore men’s workwear and made it their own in the 1930s,” he

said. “Denim and workwear have always been genderless, so denim does happily fit in with the current movement quite well.” Early workwear styles were oversized in order to be worn over existing garments, and consequently were much more relaxed than the body-hugging fits of today. Levi’s describes its 501 jeans—the first style ever created—as its most gender-fluid fit, noting on its website that all genders have worn 501 jeans for decades. Marked by a straight leg and a medium rise, the 501 is the foundation upon which every other fit was created. Over time, styles evolved from relaxed, to flared, to skinny, to bootcut—each one lacking an assigned gender. Since jeans were created, both men and women have been able to experiment with a range of denim fits, from skinny to wide leg, without the backlash that often comes from other garments. To honor denim’s universal appeal, Sajid often incorporates genderless elements into his collections, adapting wide leg fits reflective of ’40s workwear for both men and women, and making sure to include an oversized shirt into each of his collections. Also bucking gender categories is Miko Underwood, founder of Oak & Acorn—Only for the Rebelles, a Harlem-based denim brand that has offered genderless styles since its launch in 2015. It produces three main fits, including The Wanderer Harem Pant, a mid-rise jean with comfort stretch; The Rebelle Coverall, an oversize jumpsuit with a dropped crotch and adjustable tabs at the waist; RIVET NO.11 / APRIL 2021

and The Gee Jogger, a button-fly drawstring pant. Each style is created with more room in the hip circumference to accommodate different body shapes, and is available in sizes XS to XL and W26 to W36. “Oak & Acorn represents the functionality and versatility of men’s design with the trendiness of women’s apparel,” Underwood said. “It’s smart, sustainable design that forces our designers to be more focused in our process, and more thoughtful about how the product can look and feel on everyone while creating the perfect balance of design and innovation.” London-based denim label I and Me also built its foundation on genderless designs and offers four core jeans silhouettes—The Baggy, The Wide, The Slim and The Relaxed Skinny—as well as denim jackets, overalls and accessories. Most of its garments are made in collaboration with Japanese mills or with limited runs of unique denim casts and colors, and are designed to “reflect the moment rather than the season.” “Denim is a versatile fabric, and there are of course many ways to interpret it,” said Jessica Gebhart, I and Me’s founder and creative director. “We only work with authentic ridgid denim, which lends itself to both men’s and women’s products.”

Sizing considerations Though genderless styles help simplify collections, they also come with their own set of nuances. As men’s and women’s jeans are constructed to fit differently in the rise and upper thighs and lower

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SOURCING l_____I A N D ME

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legs, perfecting the fit is something Gebhart considers a “key stage in the development process.” To capture the essence of authentic denim, I and Me uses vintage blocks as a starting point and then tweaks styling and pattern details according to the brand’s unique look. It offers jeans in sizes W26 to W36 and L28 to L34, and jackets and tops in sizes S to XL. “All body shapes are different even without bringing gender into it, so we don’t,” she said. Sajid offers a similar size range with his collections, showcasing styles in S to XL for tops and pants and 27 to 36 for bottoms. However, he adds that special considerations—like keeping sizing charts up to date and using photos with fit models and their sizes prominently listed—are crucial in this space. Levi’s published its own set of guidelines for genderless sizing on its Off the Cuff blog, noting that the best way to determine appropriate sizing is to try on a range of fits and styles, and size up when trying to achieve an oversized look. It added that its Ribcage Wide Leg, Wedgie Straight and XX Chino styles feature silhouettes that are conducive to all genders. But genderless denim isn’t confined to relaxed fits and rigid denim. Sajid said jeans with more “feminine” concepts are slowly being incorporated into men’s wear in the form of dart manipulation and stretch fabrics—the latter of which have gotten an update with the industry’s shift to size inclusivity. New stretch technologies such as Soorty’s Re-Sync denim and Hyosung’s Creora 3D Max high-stretch spandex have made it possible for denim to comfortably mold to various body shapes and sizes, spanning both men’s and women’s garments. According to Underwood, this shift will only gain momentum in the coming years. “Our fits are made to adjust to the wearer’s body and personal style,” she said. “Women have adopted and claimed men’s fits over decades in the fashion cycle, and men have become ever more accustomed to slimmer fits and stretch fabrics. Genderless is the future of fashion.”

A genderless generation And the younger generations seem to agree. With nonbinary stars such as Elliot Page, Janelle Monae, Hunter Schafer and Sam Smith leading the charge, Gen Z is collectively challenging gender as a social construct. The cohort often shops across gendered sections, opting for looser, androgynous denim styles in place of its predecessors’ favored skinny jeans. RIVET NO.11 / APRIL 2021


SOURCING

"A L L B ODY SH A PES A R E DIF F ER EN T E V EN W I T HOU T B R ING ING G EN DER IN TO I T, SO W E DON' T.” —Je s sic a Gebh ar t , I and ME

RIVET NO.11 / APRIL 2021

The bold acts of Gen Z have captured the attention of the entire industry—and they may have come at the perfect time. The Covid-19 pandemic has been a pivotal moment in history in which social norms that no longer serve society are being traded in for something more appropriate. As fashion looks to forgo its seasonal calendar in the name of sustainability and efficiency, experts are also investigating its traditional gender categories. The majority of shows and collections are still divided into men’s wear or women’s wear categories, and merchandisers rely on designating spaces by gender. John Galliano, Raf Simons and Teflar Clemens are some of the designers challenging this concept by featuring trans models or non-binary fashion in their collections. Even mass market lingerie brand Victoria’s Secret recently cast its first transgender woman, model Valentina Sampaio, for its catalogue. Mainstream brands are also getting onboard with genderless offerings. In 2017, H&M debuted a genderless denim collection and promoted a campaign that showed male- and female-identifying models wearing the same articles of clothing side-by-side with slight variations in how each styled them. The collection featured items such as a denim button-down shirt and jacket, jeans, shorts, a dress and overalls in a light wash. Asos followed in 2018 with its Collusion line, which it designed in partnership with six teenagers from diverse backgrounds and considered a “newto-market fashion proposition anchored by the ideals of collaboration, inclusivity and experimentation.” The collection featured gender-fluid basics and streetwear-inspired items such as T-shirts, long-sleeve shirts and sweaters, track jackets, furry bomber jackets, puffer coats and more. While select denim styles were offered for both men and women, the jeans were sized according to gender. More recently in 2020, Calvin Klein introduced a new CK One jeans and underwear collection based on staple wardrobe pieces with “genderless appeal,” along with CK Everyone, a genderless fragrance inspired by the original CK One scent. The line features oversized trucker jackets, denim vests, mom jeans, dad jeans, denim skirts and shorts with raw hem cuts. Gebhart noted that, while unisex offerings were few and far between just four years ago when she launched her brand, significant progress is being made. “We don’t see this as a movement or a passing trend,” she said. “We are happy to have been a voice for genderless denim, and it is great to see the appetite for it grow.”

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REVEL DESIGNER DENIM CELEBRATES INDIVIDUALITY.

THIS PAGE: CAROLINA HERRERA TOP, COACH DENIM SKIRT, R13 BOOTS, CHANEL EARRING, JOOMI LIM NECKLACE. OPPOSITE: Y/PROJECT COAT, DSQUARED2 JEANS, CHRISTIAN WIJNANTS GLOVES, WANDLER BOOTS, RICK OWENS SUNGLASSES, HEAVEN BY MARC JACOBS EARRING, LADY GREY RING.


REVEL photography_____ K E VI N SI N CLAI R styling_____ ALEX B AD I A


THIS PAGE: CHANEL JEAN JACKET, KELSEY RANDALL DRESS WORN UNDER HEAVEN BY MARC JACOBS SKIRT, R13 BOOTS, JOHN HARDY AND JOOMI LIM NECKLACES, JOHN HARDY NECKLACE WORN AS A BRACELET, ETTIKA RINGS. OPPOSITE: PHILOSOPHY DI LORENZO SERAFINI JACKET, TRE BY NATALIE RATABESI BODYSUIT, GUCCI TROUSERS, ZIMMERMANN BELT, JOOMI LIM EARRING.


THIS PAGE: PACO RABANNE SEQUIN TOP AND TROUSERS PINNED TO AMI JACKET AND JEANS, R13 BOOTS, JOOMI LIM EARRING, JOHN HARDY AND JOOMI LIM NECKLACES, PYRRHA NECKLACE WORN AS BRACELET, ETTIKA RINGS. OPPOSITE LEFT: COLIN LOCASCIO CATSUIT, MARCO BOLOGNA JEANS, DSQUARED2 BOOTS, CHRISTIAN WIJNANTS GLOVES, CHANEL EARRING, JOOM LIM NECKLACES, CELESTE STAR BRACELETS. OPPOSITE RIGHT: COLIN LOCASCIO CATSUIT, BALMAIN JACKET, R13 BOOTS, JOOMI LIM EARRING AND NECKLACE, JOHN HARDY NECKLACE, ETTIKA RINGS.


DSQUARED2 BLAZER, CHRISTIAN COWAN TOP, Y/PROJECT JEANS, DSQUARED2 BOOTS, BAGTAZO HAT, CHRISTIAN WIJNANTS GLOVES, CELESTE STAR BRACELETS.


LOEWE TOP AND SKIRT, ELLERY DENIM CORSET, R13 BOOTS, JOOMI LIM EARRING AND NECKLACE, JOHN HARDY NECKLACE AND NECKLACE WORN AS A BRACELET.


THIS PAGE: ALEXANDER MCQUEEN JEAN JACKET, KELSEY RANDALL BEADED TOP, DSQUARED2 JEANS AND BOOTS, HEAVEN BY MARC JACOBS EARRING, JOOMI LIM NECKLACE, LADY GREY BRACELET AND RING, PYRRHA RINGS. OPPOSITE: GMBH TOP, COOL TM JEANS, GIVENCHY HAT, JOOMI LIM NECKLACE AND EARRING, LADY GREY BRACELET, PYRRHA RINGS, LADY GREY RING.


THIS PAGE: CHRISTIAN COWAN JACKET, HEAVEN BY MARC JACOBS TEE, GUCCI SHORTS, JOOMI LIM EARRING AND NECKLACE, JOHN HARDY NECKLACE AND NECKLACE WORN AS BRACELET, ETTIKA RINGS. OPPOSITE: LEVI’S VEST, GUCCI TROUSERS AND BOA, ZIMMERMANN BOOTS, HEAVEN BY MARC JACOBS EARRING, JOOMI LIM NECKLACE, LADY GREY BRACELET.


Photo Director: Jenna Greene; Photo Assistant: Carlos Vigil; Editor: Angela Velasquez; Market Editors: Luis Campuzano, Thomas Waller, Emily Mercer, Victor Vaughns Jr; Fashion Assistant: Kimberly Infante; Models: Awuoi Matiop/Fusion; Duot Ajang/Muse; Hair: Yohey Nakatsuka/De Facto; Makeup: Yoshie Kubota/ No-Name


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SOLID GROUND With brands that are backed by more than a century of experience and denim know-how, Kontoor Brands president and CEO Scott Baxter shares how the U.S. jeanswear giant is preparing itself for another year of change and opportunity. w ords _____ VI CK I M . YOUNG

RIVET NO.11 / APRIL 2021


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he environmental issues concerning denim production have not been lost on some of the most storied names in the business. Greensboro, N.C.-based Kontoor Brands Inc. is actively working on ways to make the manufacturing process for its heritage brands Wrangler and Lee more sustainable and responsible. Here, Kontoor Brands president and CEO Scott Baxter shares how the company’s efforts in sustainability and the impact from Covid-19 are transforming the way the company is working to navigate 2021 and beyond.

RIVET: What is your outlook for denim sales in the U.S. versus overseas? SB: Our improvements in 2020, despite the pandem-

ic, are a function of the strategies we’ve implemented and the investments we’ve been making. One of our key areas of focus includes expanding geographically, with a focus on China. In late 2020, we launched our Wrangler brand in China on digital platforms first.

RIVET: Given how unprecedented 2020 was, how is 2021 shaping up for Kontoor? Scott Baxter: We were

pleased to finish 2020 with great momentum—growing our brands within existing categories and reaching new consumers in new segments and geographies. Like many companies in 2020, we also experienced the impacts of Covid-19. However, we were nimble and quickly focused on supporting the well-being of our employees and l_____KONTOOR BRANDS PRESIDENT strengthening our financial AND CE O SCOTT BAXTER position. We’ve also been flexible in evolving our strategies, leaning into many of the proactive initiatives that were already underway to help navigate the nearWe’re seeing good momentum, and are optimistic term environment and set the foundation for about the broader marketing launch this spring. long-term success. Currently, international revenue accounts for For our Lee and Wrangler brands, I’m proud to about 22 percent of our total business, and our share that we are winning in the marketplace—takEurope and China businesses 'experienced sequening share and adding incremental business. During tial improvement in the fourth quarter. Our out2020, according to NPD Group, we added more than door collection, Wrangler ATG (All Terrain Gear), 200 basis points of share within our core denim and as well as our Lee collaboration with H&M, which casuals business in the U.S. market. Our strategies includes 100 percent recycled jeans, are examples are paying off, with new innovation, sustainability of initiatives that are positioning Kontoor for longand design initiatives helping to drive growth. As term success in these regions. we look ahead, we are confident in our brand strategies and believe there is significant opportunity RIVET: What about denim sales on the digital within the denim and apparel categories. front? Do you think digital sales will continue to RIVET NO.11 / APRIL 2021

grow in 2021 or will customers more likely head back to stores once they feel comfortable to do so? And if digital remains a strong component, how will that impact your distribution strategy? SB: Our strategies have positioned us well to navi-

gate the ongoing impacts of Covid-19. One of our key strategies is ‘winning with the winning retailers’, and digital is a key pillar of that strategy as we expect continued strength in online sales. We saw accelerated improvement in our digital and direct-to-consumer channels in the fourth quarter and throughout 2020, which helped offset declines in other areas due to the pandemic. Three of our largest customers—Walmart, Target, Amazon—have remained opened, positioning us well moving forward. And while digital will be a core strategy for us moving forward, we are committed to continuing to accelerate our ‘winning with the winning retailers’ strategy and growing with these customers who are continuing to see in-person foot traffic. RIVET: Denim has done well in 2020 compared with other apparel categories. Why do you think that’s so, even with all the talk about athleisure growing r t s r s o fic or rs began working from home? SB: Prior to the pandemic, we

were already seeing a steady shift to more casual workwear. The ability to work from home has only accelerated that trend as people are opting for more comfortable attire. When more people begin returning to the office, we don’t believe that trend will go away. Denim has the unique ability to let you feel comfortable, yet still look sharp in a professional environment. RIVET: Global sourcing and supply chain issues were key areas of concern last year for all manufacturers. Kontoor has much of its own manufacturing in the Western Hemisphere. How did that help the company navigate or leverage its production facilities in 2020? And what were the

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learnings in terms of what improvements were needed for 2021 and beyond? SB: Our supply chain is uniquely positioned to

RIVET: Let’s talk about some of the new product lines for Kontoor’s Wrangler and Lee brands. What do you think are some of the jeanswear trends that will be popular this year? SB: Comfort continues to be king as consum-

ers seek out relaxed, looser fits. Non-denim utility fits such as cargo and carpenter are also on the rise as consumers seek out fits that marry comfort with functionality. As we continue to see a move toward casualization, but also comfort and quality of product, I think it plays right into our current strategy. You see this in play with the expansion of our outdoor line, Wrangler ATG, or the dynamic comfort found in the Lee Extreme Motion MVP collection. RIVET: What’s new for Kontoor’s brands in 2021 in terms of product lines or distribution? SB: We’re really excited about the future of

RIVET: Denim has long been considered one of fashion’s biggest category polluters. Much of that is due to the amount of water used for in n finis in t is the company doing on the sustainability front? SB: At Kontoor, our aspiration is to be a sustain-

ability leader—not just based on what we say, but most importantly on what we do. In 2020, we announced our first global sustainability goals and published our foundational report on our sustainability progress. We are committed to providing transparency on our efforts to create a more sustainable business.

laborating with others in the industry to further commercialize the technology.

our brands. In 2021, we will continue to focus on reaching new consumers through new categories and segments, world-class design and innovation, sustainability platforms and investment in our brands and markets. As I mentioned previously, we continue to expand our outdoor collection, Wrangler ATG, including launching a female collection in the coming months. Collaborations with new brands and partners is also an important element of our growth strategy. I mentioned the collaboration with Lee and H&M, which is bringing the Lee brand into over 1,000 H&M doors across 61 countries, reaching younger consumers. Other recent powerful collaborations have included Keith Haring, Alife and Bianca Saunders, among others. You can expect to see more exciting brand collaborations soon. l_____LE E X H &M

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manage through challenging periods given our diversified approach, which includes internally manufactured and sourced products, allowing us to scale production and minimize inventory and service delays. We produce about 36 percent of our production in our owned and operated manufacturing facilities and are able to leverage our manufacturing operations to quickly realign capacity with changing demand and marketplace conditions. Earlier last year, we shifted part of our manufacturing operations in Mexico to produce medicals gowns. We donated about 70,000 of them to local hospitals and longterm healthcare facilities, in addition to producing gowns for healthcare supply chains. I am incredibly proud of our teams' work to help our communities. The events of the last year emphasized the importance of being nimble, quick and remaining on offense. Our supply chain teams did an excellent job of this prior to the pandemic, and leaned into this even more throughout 2020.

For example, we committed to saving 10 billion liters of water by 2025. One step toward realizing that effort is the expansion of our innovative dyeing process, Indigood foam-dye technology. Indigood Foam Dye replaces the traditional water vats and chemical baths of conventional indigo

dyeing, reducing the amount of water required to turn denim blue by 100 percent. It also reduces energy use and waste by more than 60 percent and results in no wastewater. We’re proud to offer Indigood products across both our Wrangler and Lee brands and are committed to colRIVET NO.11 / APRIL 2021

This interview was conducted shortly after the company reported fourth quarter earnings results.


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THE V WORD Denim brands pivot to vegan trims. w ord s_____ ANGE LA VELASQUEZ

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riven by demand and an industry-wide call for more ethical manufacturing, fashion brands are moving veganism out of the kitchen and into the closets of conscious consumers with animal-free apparel and accessories. Though momentum for vegan fashion has been mounting since 2018—a year that saw Helsinki Fashion Week ban leather, and luxury giants like Gucci, Chanel and Versace eliminate the use of real fur in their collections—the category has recently exploded partly in response to Covid-19, which has led to the growing concern about infectious diseases that originate from animals. The pandemic, coupled with the overall shift toward healthier plant-based lifestyles, are motivating brands and consumers alike to reconsider their fabric choices. Initiatives put in place by organizations like Veganuary are mainstreaming vegan lifestyles as well. Throughout the year, the U.K.-based nonprofit organization supports people and businesses to shift to plant-based products as a way of protecting the environment, preventing animal suffering and improving the health of people. Each January, Veganuary aims to inspire new habits for a new year by urging people to sign up for a month-long challenge to “go vegan.” More than 500,000 people took the pledge during the 2021 campaign, adding to the more than one million people who have already completed it since 2014. Veganuary reports that one million people going vegan for 31 days has resulted in the lives of 3.4 million animals spared, 1.6 million gallons on water saved and more than 103,000 metric ton of CO2EQ saved from contributing to the planet’s global warming crisis. Veganism is proving to go beyond consumers’ dietary choices. In its 2020 Conscious Fashion Report, fashion search platform Lyst reported that searches for “vegan leather” increased 69 percent year-on-year, averaging 33,100 online monthly

searches, and searches for “faux leather” remained constant. Meanwhile, searches for “leather” decreased 3.5 percent year-on-year. Likewise, searches for “fur” declined 8 percent year-on-year. Stylish vegan fashion is certainly more available. Retail market intelligence platform Edited reported that by the end of January 2021, there was a 75 percent year-over-year increase in products described as “vegan” stocked in the U.S. and U.K. versus 2018. Accessories and footwear make up the majority of these products as influential labels like Adidas, Allbirds and Stella McCartney continue to innovate in this space with plant leather, upcycled marine plastic waste and 3D-printed materials. Though the denim industry has been proactive in developing alternatives for water-intensive crops and chemical-powered washing processes, as it continues its sustainable journey, every component that makes up a pair of jeans—down to the threeinch by two-inch leather back patch—is being scrutinized. The Higg Materials Sustainability Index, a cradle-to-gate material scoring tool from the Sustainable Apparel Coalition rates cow leather No. 1 among materials with the greatest upstream burdens. Not to mention, the material is tied to fashion’s history of animal cruelty, despite leather being a byproduct of the food industry. In 2019, People for the Ethical Treatment for Animals (PETA) took aim at Levi’s, demanding the denim giant to ditch animal-derived leather for more ethical alternatives that are also less harmful to people, animals and the environment. Though some of the brand’s patches are made from Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)-certified Jacron paper, PETA snapped up the minimum number of shares of the then-newly publicly traded company required to submit shareholder resolutions and secure speaking rights at annual meetings. Levi’s responded at the time by pointing out that “a small fraction” of the raw materials it uses is leather. “Nevertheless, Levi Strauss & Co. strives to source all materials responsibly,” a Levi’s spokesperson said. “Our goal is to ensure that wherever materials derived from animals are used in our products, their health and welfare are protected, in line with international animal welfare standards.” The animal-rights group rekindled the argument in 2020 by gathering over 125,000 signatures for a petition that called on Levi’s to opt for vegan leather—this time targeting the brand’s efforts to fight climate change by claiming animal leather has at least three times the negative environmental impact as most vegan leather. RIVET NO.11 / APRIL 2021


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“It’s now also widely recognized that animal agriculture—including the industries producing its co-products, such as leather—is a leading contributor to climate change,” PETA stated.

Alternative options

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l_____N UD IE JEAN S

If the ethical and sustainable benefits of veganism have not swayed a denim brand to rethink their back patch, the sizable impact it has on sales may. The global vegan fashion market is forecasted to reach $1.1 billion by 2027, Edited reported, and that’s for women’s wear alone. Denim brands in tune with the values close to millennials and Gen Z are taking note. Dutch denim label Kings of Indigo is a PETA-approved vegan brand. The organization also lauds American Eagle, Boyish, Closed, Mother, Uniqlo and others for using non-leather patches or skipping the branding element all together. As of Fall 2018, Nudie Jeans has used paper-based patches on newly produced jeans. Though the brand is not fully vegan—it uses other animal-based fibers in contexts where it believes the fiber is fulfilling a certain function—it did not see the necessity of using leather as a decorative detail. The Jacron patch Nudie uses is made from recycled paper that includes a small amount of acrylic polymer, which the company noted is the least sustainable element of the new patches but necessary to give the patch the strength needed for the jeans’ entire lifespan. Cruelty-free and eco-friendly do not always go hand in hand. As Edited pointed out, “there is still the question of scaling sustainable alternatives to vegan products.” While Jacron, known for its leather-like appearance and durability, is a common leather substitute, other vegan alternatives are often made from synthetic materials such as petroleum-based polyurethane (PU) or polyvinyl chloride (PVC), which Greenpeace described as the “single most environmentally damaging type of plastic.” “Both pose serious environmental threats given that they are usually manufactured from fossil fuels and are not biodegradable,” said Elif Haslaman, general manager of DeriDesen Etiket, a Turkish trims manufacturer, noting that “vegan does not necessarily mean natural.” Trims suppliers, however, are in the pursuit of responsible vegan alternatives. Pineapple leather, apple skin, cork, organic fabrics and stone paper—a paper made from limestone versus trees—are among DeriDesen Etiket’s vegan-friendly options. Several alternatives also tout industry-recognized certifications like Global Recycle Standard (GRS), Oeko-Tex, FSC and Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS). “Vegan trims are important to our clients,” said Gloria Crivellaro, Ribbontex export sales manager. “They know exactly what they want and what they don’t want, and this is extremely important and positive.” Along with vegan leather, the Italian trims manufacturer offers a range of solutions produced with hemp, organic cotton, recycled plastic bottles and biodegradable materials. These alternatives, she added, are often better than traditional leathers. Vegan jeans are also a side effect of denim’s sustainable makeover, particularly new collections that align with Ellen MacArthur’s Jean Redesign project, an industry-wide effort to put circular jeans in the market. While the guidelines do not single out leather, they do require easy disassembly of trims for recycling, which some par-

ticipants like Blue of a Kind and H&M are responding to by keeping their circular jeans patch-free. Others, such as Tommy Jeans, laser-print pieces of sustainable denim to use for patches in their Jean Redesign collections. Indeed, sustainable material alternatives are increasing by the season. Since 2020, Haslaman said 80 percent of DeriDesen’s production is produced from certificated sustainable materials. The company’s target for 2021 is 95 percent. “Alternative sources for new materials are increasingly being sought and new manufacturing methods developed,” she said. “They are an important addition to improving the choice of sustainable materials.” And the pandemic only reinforced the denim sector’s commitment to sustainability. Crivellaro described 2020 as a “watershed year” with one major positive: it provided the wake-up call for “a more sustainable, ethical and ecological” approach to designing and manufacturing down to the smallest details. “I have been working in this industry for more than 15 years,” Crivellaro said. “I find the combination of denim and vegan surprisingly stimulating, so I really hope this will be key to getting off to a great restart.”


SOCIAL CO 58 The criteria for sustainability reporting can be as vague as the topic they are intended to document. words _____ JASM I N M ALI K CH UA

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n an industry where sustainability has evolved from nice-to-have to table stakes, so too have dedicated sustainability reports transitioned beyond mere vehicles for eco-bragging rights. Because the denim industry places considerable strain on the environment, publicly sharing its industrial impact is “a must,” said Selen Ergul, senior marketing communications executive at Calik Denim, a manufacturer in Turkey. “We believe that it is vital for denim producers to disclose performance data through sustainability reports prepared in accordance with globally accepted standards. Transparency and traceability of the available information [should also be] on demand by customers and consumers.” Indeed, sustainability reports shouldn’t serve only to project a halo of responsibility. In fact, all companies, whether denim-related or not, should be “strategically thinking about sustainability,” said a spokesperson for Kontoor Brands, which markets denim clothing under the Lee and Wrangler labels. As such, a sustainability report, independent from a company’s annual report, can offer greater visibility into a brand’s sustainability performance, allowing stakeholders to maintain tabs on its growth “toward a more sustainable business,” the spokesperson said. For Gap, a sustainability report allows it to conduct the business of responsibility in a more engaging way. While the company includes sustainability details in its 10-K and 10-Q disclosures, which all publicly traded businesses in the United States must file with the Securities and Exchange Commission at the end of their fiscal year, its “sustainability stories and programs really come to life in our report,” said Victor Wong, its director

of global sustainability. “The sustainability report also allows space for us to talk about partnerships and industry collaborations that are critical to meaningful progress in our industry.” Through reporting, a company can better understand—and therefore manage—the outward impact of its operations on society and the environment. Sustainability reports typically enshrine environmental, social and governance goals MEASURE while charting tangible and measurable progress. Investors often use such documents as part of their due diligence to sniff out a company’s social and environmental risks and forestall any involvement with potential supply-chain imbroglios. For employees, board members and other stakeholders, they can enhance a brand’s accountability to people and the planet. “Our sustainability report is for anyone who wants to learn more about the details of our work toward contributing to a healthier planet,” Wong said. “It’s a source of truth for us. We often refer investors, employees, stakeholders and sustainability reporters to our report.

Reporting to work But the process of sustainability reporting isn’t without its challenges. The disclosure landscape is rife with competing— though in many cases complementary—standards, from organizations such as CDP (previously known as the Carbon Disclosure Project), the Climate Disclosure Standards Board, the Global Reporting Initiative and the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board. Companies can choose to use any of these frameworks, or none at all, which can make apples-to-apple comparisons between brands an onerous if not a next-to-impossible task.

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“It’s quite hard to compare two different companies at the moment because the data is not [organized] the same way,” said Luke Smitham, senior consultant at Kumi Consulting. Complicating matters is the fact that different jurisdictions can have widely varying stipulations. Businesses in the United Kingdom that earn revenues of at least 36 million pounds ($50 million), for instance, are beholden to the 2015 Modern Slavery Act, which requires them to describe the steps they have taken in the last financial year to ensure their supply chains are free from modern slavery and human trafficking. In Australia, it’s illegal for a business to falsely trump up the sustainability of a product. Meanwhile, Germany and the broader European Union, are poised to implement mandatory due diligence laws holding large corporations responsible for identifying and mitigating labor and environmental risks that could occur as a result of their business activities and those of their suppliers and subcontractors. All these could reshape future disclosures. “It’s kind of pick-andchoose, in a sense,” Smitham said. “But how do you actually demonstrate that you’re doing the right things to manage, mitigate and eliminate risks in the supply chain?” Efforts are underway to TRUTH harmonize these disparate standards, as well as tie sustainability disclosures with financial accounting, creating an “integrated report” that will not only ease the burden of reporting organizations but also aid in analysis and interpretation by users of information. “Transparent measurement and disclosure of sustainability performance is now considered to be a fundamental part of effective business management, and essential for preserving

trust in business as a force for good,” the International Financial Reporting Standards Foundation, a body made up of the major reporting organizations, said in September. “Yet, the complexity surrounding sustainability disclosure has made it difficult to develop the comprehensive solution for corporate reporting that is urgently needed.” Verification of the data contained within the reports, too, is in many ways a kind of Wild West. Denim producer Isko works with Control Union Certifications to audit its data and ensure they meet due diligence guidance from the intergovernmental Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. Sweden’s Nudie Jeans, one of the few apparel brands PARTNERSHIP to publish a complete list of its textile production sites, cross-checks its data with “relevant people in the organization” and third parties such as the Fair Wear Foundation and the Global Organic Textile Standard. Boyish Jeans in Los Angeles says it relies on life-cycle assessments, Textile Exchange reports and government agriculture data. Because of the nature of their work, manufacturers are able to take a deeper and more comprehensive dive into denim’s upstream impacts. Each of Elevate Textiles’ facilities, for instance, gleans sustainability data every month using calibrated meters and gauges, cross-checks this information with invoices and billing records from energy and water suppliers, and then compiles everything into “sustainability data workbooks” by its environmental manager. “Those are reviewed by the environmental team to verify accuracy and monitor trends,” said Dolores Sides, director of corporate communications for Elevate Textiles, which owns Cone Denim. “The sustainability metrics and calculations are

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also available for review by third-party auditors during Higg Facility Environmental Module verification audits.” Until the time comes when sustainability reports are integrated and standardized—and they become the status quo— they serve as “more [of] a social contract between our customers and ourselves, and also our investors, retailers and other stakeholders, such as the larger global community,” said Lesil Lancaster, social and environmental impact manager at Australia’s Outland Denim, which launched its first sustainability report last year. “It is not compulsory, but an invitation to engage with the brand and its practices on a deeper level: to truly assess our social, environmental and economic impacts. This IMPACT creates trust.” Sustainability reporting shows signs of becoming a corporate prerequisite, at least for larger brands. The number of S&P 500 companies offering sustainability reports—also known as responsibility, citizenship or environmental, social and governance reports—has ballooned from 20 percent in 2011 to an “alltime high” of 90 percent in 2019, according to the most recent analysis by the Governance and Accountability Institute (GAI), a New York-based sustainability consultancy. Much of the momentum is a response to “exponentially increasing” demand from investors, Louis Coppola, executive vice president and co-founder of GAI, wrote in the company’s 2020 report last July. “Through our research on the S&P 500 for the past nine years, we can see that not only has sustainability reporting grown among the largest companies in the U.S., but it has also become more sophisticated, mature and decision-useful for investors and other important stakeholders.”

Clear messages Crunching data from myriad sources and presenting them in a digestible, readable format is another hurdle companies can encounter. Sandya Lang, sustainability manager at Nudie Jeans, said confining the report to a reasonable length can be a struggle, since “we have many things to say and want to include.” Mud Jeans offers both a sustainability report—“in which we aim to address a bored audience,” said Laura Vicaria, CSR manager—and a wonkier life-cycle assessment that “takes on a more analytical approach towards our impact and areas of improvement.” Wong from Gap said the brand works hard to keep its report accessible by “spelling out industry lingo, using visuals and providing a vari-

" B U T H OW DO YOU AC T UA L LY D EM O S T R AT E T H AT YO U ' R E DO I N G T H E R I G H T T H I N G S T O M A N AG E , M I T I G AT E A N D A N D E L I M I N AT E R IS KS I N T H E S U P P LY CH A I N ?" — Luke S m i t h a m, Kum i C on s ul t ing ety of types of storytelling. We try to balance the need for detail without overwhelming the reader with too much information.” Finding the right formula can be rewarding in and of itself. Last July, the CR Reporting Awards by Corporate Register honored Guess’s 2018-2019 sustainability report with the award for “Innovation in Reporting.” The report, Corporate Register said, offered a “creative style and branded elements” that ensured both readability and brand alignment. In addition to an abridged version, Guess made the publication available in multiple languages, including Chinese, French, Italian, Korean and Spanish. The brand, whose publication hewed to GRI guidelines and was “rigorously reviewed” by accounting giant KPMG, was also named first-runner up in the “Credibility through Assurance” category. “At Guess, we take sustainability reporting very seriously, as it is the basis on which we can set goals, benchmark and commuINVEST nicate our progress to our stakeholders,” Carlos Alberini, CEO of Guess, said at the time. “We strongly believe that integrity and transparency in reporting is key to moving the industry forward, and we are thrilled to be recognized by the Corporate Register for this important work.” For brands that have been publishing sustainability reports for a while, like Gap, which rolled out its first in 2003, the document has and will continue to change as it adapts to shifting expectations and demands. But its central purpose—as a measurement tool, as a model of transparency and accountability, as an admission of the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead—remains constant. “Like denim, cuts and lengths come and go, but our authentic style and commitment to doing what’s right and being inclusive by design has always been our North Star,” Wong said.

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CLEAN SLATE New efforts from across the denim industry address responsible aftercare of jeans. words _____ LI Z WAR R E N

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universally acclaimed fabric, denim is one of the few fashion items on display in virtually every corner of the world. Unfortunately, denim is beginning to show up in the one place it doesn’t belong: the planet’s most remote oceans. A 2020 report from researchers at the University of Toronto called attention to newly discovered microfibers in oceans and lakes throughout Canada, including secluded parts of the Arctic region. Researchers found that microfibers made up 87 to 90 percent of pollution from human activity in the region—12 to 23 percent of which were from indigo denim. And unsustainable production practices are only partly to blame. Though many consumers understand the impact of fast-fashion and low-quality materials, they may not be as aware of the effects of at-home washing. The University of Toronto report found that washing just one pair of jeans can release anywhere from 52,000-60,000 microfibers each time. Since chemicals are used to make most denim, these microfibers are especially dangerous to the environment and its inhabitants. “As consumers, the very best thing we can do for our planet is to wear our jeans for longer and wash them less,” said Alberto de Conti, head of fashion division at German textile chemical company Rudolf Group. “By washing our jeans less, not only can we reduce our environmental impact, but we can also preserve and protect the overall fabric quality.”

laundry process to add antiviral and antimicrobial effects to textiles. The climate crisis, as well as the post-pandemic consumer fixation on hygiene and wellness, have created a ripe environment for this kind of innovation.

Spreading awareness While the denim supply chain works toward more hygienic solutions, denim brands are doing their part to educate consumers on proper aftercare for their jeans. Dutch brand Mud Jeans, known for its circular denim principles, provides detailed infor-

"M EN DING T H INGS DEEPENS OU R CON N EC T IONS A N D M A K E S T H EM MOR E SPECI A L .”

—V ictor Ly t v inenko, Raleigh Denim

Hygienic solutions Last year, Rudolf Group’s innovation center Hub1922 debuted Washless Denim as a way of reducing the need for domestic washing. Featuring a combination of two technologies, Bionic-Finish Eco and Silverplus, the solution helps control odor-causing bacteria and prevent liquid droplets from penetrating the fabric. Rudolf Group’s development is just one of many technologies being beployed to tackle the issue of excessive washing. Washpro is Calik Denim’s take on hygenic technology, which promises long-lasting freshness that lasts up to 50 household washings. Material innovation company HeiQ also partnered with laundry solutions company Girbau to use its Viroblock technology in the

mation on how to “wash consciously” on its website, and created a denim care video which lives on its YouTube channel. Similarly, Nudie Jeans, a Swedish denim brand and outspoken champion of denim repair, has several communication channels that it uses to educate consumers on all things related to sustainability—including denim aftercare. Through its blog, email newsletters, social media and YouTube channel, the brand shares information and aims to engage and educate its community. “Knowledge and understanding are a prerequisite for a proactive change, so there's definitely still a need to keep on educating and spreading knowledge,” said Kevin Gelsi, Nudie Jeans’ sustainability coordinator. “These communication channels are great for learning more, and everyone has the possibility to reach out with specific questions of their own.” Experts recommend washing jeans inside out, RIVET NO.11 / APRIL 2021

setting the water temperature to low and using ecofriendly detergents—and skipping the dryer when possible. If air drying leaves jeans too stiff, mostly-dry denim can be thrown in the dryer for 10-15 minutes to soften them up without using as much energy as a full cycle. The frequency of washing is also a factor to consider. For Victor Lytvinenko, co-founder and designer of Raleigh Denim Workshop, washing denim is a seasonal task that begins in the fall when he purchases a pair of raw denim. He refrains from washing all through the winter to develop a distinct wear pattern and alleviate some of his environmental footprint. But for others, the issue is less about washing best practices and more about considering the makeup of the jean. “We focus most of our attention on using plantbased materials that do not shed microplastics,” said Jordan Nodarse, founder of sustainable denim brand Boyish Jeans. “Home laundry is where many of everyone’s favorite garments shed vast amounts of microplastics. The most important topic is teaching consumers to read the content labels and steer clear of recycled polyester, regular polyester, polyamide, nylon, acrylic and polyurethane if the garments are going to be laundered often.” These fibers contain plastic and chemicals that, once they make their way to water supplies, can be toxic. Repairing denim when it eventually wears is also a crucial step in sustainable aftercare. Nudie Jeans notes that the crotch area is generally the most vulnerable to damage, as it’s the meeting point of four thick seams that connect and rub into the fabric. It recommends mending jeans at the first sign of damage, either by contacting a tailor or repairing it at home with a needle, thread and a thin piece of fabric. The brand offers repair services free of charge on its jeans at its repair shops, and hopes that doing so will help inspire environmentally friendlier consumption habits. “It’s important that a vast majority of global consumers adapt to slower consumption patterns and that brands and other business segments make it easy to be that consumer,” Gelsi said. Lytvinenko also thinks it’s important not to give up on denim at the first sign of wear, stating that “it’s in our nature to mend things that are broken.” “Sometimes that is a friendship; sometimes it’s a garment,” he said. “Mending things deepens our connections and makes them more special.”

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64 As cooped-up consumers find refuge in nature, demand for protective performance denim grows. w ord s _____ KATE NISH I M UR A

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ugged, utilitarian styling has become a recognizable part of the mainstream fashion vocabulary. From puffer vests to pants with cargo pockets, performance-inspired features have become fodder for labels on the cutting edge of sartorial trends. But while lifestyle brands have readily incorporated aesthetic influences from the outdoor realm, shoppers are now looking for more than, well, looks. Amid a global pandemic, consumers have taken up socially-distant hobbies, many of which revolve around getting back to nature or at least the backyard. With retail and restaurants out of commission for much of the past year, nature has become a welcome refuge for the bored and the homebound. What’s more, the pandemic has heightened many consumers’ anxieties about finances, forcing them to reexamine their previous consumption habits. While chasing a fast fashion fix might have been part of many shoppers’ lifestyles just a year ago, the pandemic has had a sobering effect on discretionary spending. Consumers haven’t stopped shelling out for apparel, but they’re examining their purchases with more discerning eyes than before. This confluence of factors has resulted in a rise in not just outdoor-inspired trends, but a true desire for functionality, performance and versatility, brands say. It’s not enough to just slap a cargo

pocket on a pair of pants and call it a day—today’s consumers want to be suited up and ready for whatever comes their way. “The benefit of Wrangler being known for its rugged jeans and workwear is absolutely helping us during this ‘utility trend’ that has captured the market,” said Vivian Rivetti, the heritage brand’s vice president of global design. According to Rivetti, fashion has felt the acute impact of Covid-19 as shoppers “are no longer going to upscale events, traveling or even going into the office.” Wear-everywhere jeans are Wrangler’s “core competency,” but there has been a recent surge in demand for carpenter and cargo pants from the trend-focused set, she said, along with loose-fitting jeans, Sherpa lined jackets and pullovers. Cover-all styles, chore jackets and overalls have also “spiked in popularity” as more shoppers are working from home and are able to dress more practically, and comfortably. While the brand is known for a certain look— rigid, straight-leg denim with Western-inspired detailing—Rivetti said Wrangler is continuing to diversify its audience by “designing clothes that appeal to everyone from the Western sphere to outdoor enthusiasts to modern fashionistas.” The top three qualities that shoppers gravitate to are “authenticity, function and details,” she said. “People want to see more items that keep up with fashion trends, while also providing the utmost comfort.” Consumers also want their clothes to RIVET NO.11 / APRIL 2021

W be made with superior quality— to “work” for them— solving problems or addressing needs through “small details and features that are relevant to whatever activity they are choosing to do,” whether it’s taking a Zoom call or embarking on a home-improvement project. Wrangler’s Riggs Workwear collection, which launched in 2003, already embodied strength and functionality, she added, but even that set of shoppers is looking for their clothes to pull double duty. “The shift for our team is making this apparel tough enough to get the job done with confidence, while adding more comfort in the fit and fabric,” she said. Wrangler has kept Riggs workwear styles “both simple and functional” while implementing different elements such as deep pockets, ventilated fabric, and tear-resistant material to stand up to tough conditions and regular wear and tear. Now, though, wearers are looking for styles they can wear from the job


ILD site to wherever they happen to be going next. “Style is still relevant as it relates to versatility,” Nadia Gillies, director of brand marketing at everyday performance wear brand Duer echoed. “Clothing that transitions from lounge, to activity, to dinner seems to best fit the need.” Parallel to the gravitation toward the familiar uniform of all-day sweats, Gillies has noted that “the world started to take on new hobbies outside” over the past year. The shift has fueled shoppers’ desires for clothes that offer comfort, “but with the ability to move and perform.” Duer makes clothes for “doers”—outdoor enthusiasts, weekend warriors, and busy millennials trying to do it all. The company has made a name for itself through its performance denim, which provides a practical, polished aesthetic with an invisible edge. Duer’s denim formulation is made with a blend of cotton, stretchy Lycra and

Coolmax all-season polyester for strength and temperature regulation—all functionalities regularly seen in outdoor or athletic gear, not street-ready urban apparel. “Performance is the foundation of all of our products, but instead of taking athletic apparel and making it suitable for day to day, we’ve developed something more sophisticated,” Gillies said. “We took traditional denim and put technical properties into it.” The approach was driven by the idea that “consumers want to do more with less”—a hypothesis that has proven truer than ever during the pandemic. “Shoppers have become more discerning with where they spend their money—they value experiences over things,” Gillies added. They want to “move away from the mass consumption of fast fashion and invest in high quality, multi-functional products.” RIVET NO.11 / APRIL 2021

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“There’s now an expectation that clothing should be able to support any lifestyle,” she added, blurring the lines between weekend-ready casual garb, workwear, and activewear. “I think in times of crisis there’s a natural allure to all that is comforting, resilient and protective,” G-Star Raw’s head of men’s design, Leo Brancovich, added regarding the consumer’s current appetite for fashion. According to Brancovich, the Dutch denim and contemporary apparel label’s design sensibility is rooted in “the deconstruction and reassembly of technical and functional clothing,” to create “a costume composed of repurposed function.” “Our collections are born in the G-Star archive—an unequalled collection of mostly 20th century functional clothing,” he explained. “A huge part of that archive is devoted to hunting, fishing and military uniforms, and as a result, there’s


always an inevitable flavor of the outdoors in what we do.”` While G-Star is known for its urban sensibility and its dark denim, the brand’s tailored aesthetic, which pervades both its men’s and women’s collections, is reminiscent of outdoor gear and utilitarian garb. What’s more, there’s real functionality to the raw, selvedge denim that has earned the brand its cult following, as well as the newformulations and weatherproofed styles that it has released in recent years. These staples are designed to stand up to wear and tear, and while they’re mostly worn on city streets, they’d look and feel at home in the great outdoors, too. According to Brancovich, the current retail landscape has underscored a growing appetite for clothes that can transition between activities. “Practicality will increasingly steer the choices we make, as it shows that we are intelligent consumers— and more importantly, well informed and selective.” Practicality is precisely what drove Salvia Lani to launch her Minnesota-based performance denim brand, Arctic Denim, in 2020. The former design and sourcing manager put her fashion chops to the test in attempting to provide shoppers with a barrier against the bitter and biting Northwestern cold. While Lani had grown all too familiar with the

region’s mainstream winter garb—snow pants and ski-ready puffer jackets—she saw a gap in the market for everyday staples that provided the same warmth and protection while allowing their wearers to feel comfortable while grabbing a drink or browsing a store. “I have a pretty strict uniform of skinny jeans, myself,” Lani said. “They’re comfortable and they’re versatile,” she said, but unfortunately, most don’t stand up to severe windchill. Arctic Denim was born of a true marriage of fashion and function, and Lani built her first pair for herself. The pants’ outward-facing fabric is not unlike traditional denim, but it’s bonded with a thermoplastic weatherproof membrane and a third layer of wicking mesh to pull moisture away from the skin. The brand has just four styles—a skinny jean for men and women, as well as a boot cut version. Recently, Lani launched a unisex Trucker jacket style made with the same denim formulation and lined with a faux shearling. Shoppers have asked for more utilitarian styles to support outdoor work and excursions, she said, noting that a vest and a cargo pant are potential additions for the future. According to Lani, all of the styles have performed beyond expectations, despite the challenges posed by the pandemic to her in-state production, which was sidelined for a time due to Covid concerns. “I defiRIVET NO.11 / APRIL 2021

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nitely have noticed the direction is moving towards more versatile and durable garments,” she said. While Arctic Denim primarily serves her regional home market, Lani said she has seen an uptick in interest from American shoppers looking for clothing that is made domestically and built to last. Cold weather shoppers aren’t the only ones gunning for outdoor-ready gear, though. “Generation Z likes technical products,” Ebru Ozaydin, said former senior vice president of sales and marketing of Artistic Milliners, explaining that a denim conquest for young consumers involves “trying to find the Tesla of jeans.” The denim manufacturer has worked with Invista-owned fabric brand Cordura for a decade on different performance denim formulations to serve a growing contingent of active shoppers looking for products that deliver on performance as well as aesthetics. Cordura reports that its denim is at least four-times stronger than cotton denim and boasts excellent abrasion and tear resistance. While the companies’ work together originated with the creation of durable denim for workwear, it has since expanded, Cordura’s brand business development director, Cynthia McNaul, said, to include soft, stretchy chambray-inspired formulations and everything in between. An Artistic Milliners collaboration on a fabric


OUTDOOR STYLE HALL OF FAME

Leonardo DiCaprio: LRNYC / MEGA; Kate Middleton: Aaron Chown/ AP; Emily Ratajkowski: MEGA; Bernie Sanders: Jonathan Ernst / AP; Kate Moss: Yui Mok/ AP;

5 celebrities who famously cosign the functional fashion movement. for performance apparel brand Black Diamond, for example, straddles the line between everyday wearability and rugged toughness. While the brand’s “Forged” jeans have an everyday, streetstyle aesthetic, a number of features are hidden beneath its surface, including extreme durability, stretch and temperature-regulating tech. It’s perfect for rock climbers, the brand said, as they often break a sweat during heavy exertion but need a strong barrier between skin and rock. “The notion of durable and sustainable are now more than ever going hand in hand,” Ozaydin said, adding that shoppers are especially looking for tensile strength as well as abrasion resistance. Amid the pandemic, “certain markets obviously have fared better than others,” McNaul said, and the outdoor sector is performing well because of consumers’ growing need to break away from the pervasive connectedness afforded by technology. “We’re always plugged in, and sometimes you just want to be able to push away,” she added. “What gives people a break and some peace of mind is getting fresh air outside, and you don’t have to be an extreme athlete to do it.” In fact, shoppers are incorporating their excursions into the natural world into their existing schedules—a short hike on a lunch break, or a jog to the store. “Today’s consumer is searching beyond just traditional heavy-duty denims for fabrics that can sit comfortably with them throughout the day,” McNaul said. “We see more choices evolving with a shift towards products with combined attributes to take you through your day-to-day activities, from workwear to motorcycle apparel, commuting and skateboarding, and everyday adventure living.” According to Cordura’s research, “trend indictors show a movement towards getting back to basics, embracing simplicity, doing more with less,” McNaul said. Shoppers want their garments to deliver on both fashion and function for the good of the planet—and their pocketbooks. Ozaydin added that young shoppers have been brought up with fast, disposable fashion readily available to them, and they’ve tired of the lackluster quality of these products as well as their devastating impacts on the environment. “The highly technical, heavily engineered fibers that make up these products are the future,” she added. As shoppers pull back on consuming fleeting trends, they are likely to have their eyes out for “the best products, and the right products” to occupy a special place in their wardrobe, she said.

Cargo shorts have become a de-facto offduty uniform for actor Leonardo DiCaprio, who is often seen sporting the ultra-practical style when he’s not on screen.

The North Face has existed since 1968, but its puffer coats never looked so stylish until model and actress Emily Ratajkowski made the brand a staple in her Manhattan wardrobe. Red, yellow, green and black—Ratajkowski wears them all and often.

The Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton, wore a quilted Fjallraven vest while visiting with the public and purchasing plants in Norfolk in June, 2020. The royals are known for their countryside excursions to Balmoral, where outdoor attire is a staple.

Model Kate Moss put Hunter wellies on the radar of fashionable festival goers when she trudged through the mud at the Glastonbury Festival in England in 2005. The weatherproof style became a staple in Moss’ music festival wardrobe, and she was pictured wearing them throughout the early aughts.

The practical Burton jacket Senator Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.) wore to the inauguration of President Joe Biden on Jan. 20 sold out shortly after his cold weather-ready getup went viral. His mittens, meanwhile, shone a spotlight on what can be achieved from repurposed wool sweaters.


WINTER WILLOW Find comfort in classic denim, earthy hues and Western styling offered by COTERIE and PROJECT exhibitors. photography_____ J E N N A GR E E N E styling_____ ALEX B AD I A


RAMY BROOK JACKET; AKNVAS DRESS; LEVI’S TURTLENECK; HESTIA EARRING.


ON HER: FRENCH CONNECTION FAUX FUR JACKET; MICHAEL STARS TANK TOP; ETICA DENIM SKIRT; STICK & BALL SCARF; ATHRA LUXE TRIPLE RING; JULIE VOS NECKLACE, EARRINGS AND RINGS (WORN THROUGHOUT). ON HIM: FRENCH CONNECTION SUEDE JACKET AND TROUSERS; LEVI’S DENIM JACKET.


FRENCH CONNECTION WOOL COAT; LEVI’S JEAN JACKET; OAK & ACORN JEANS; PENDLETON SCARF; HESTIA NECKLACE (WORN THROUGHOUT).


ON HER: PENDLETON CARDIGAN; AKNVAS DRESS. ON HIM: LEVI’S JACKET; PENDLETON CARDIGAN; FRENCH CONNECTION PANTS.


THIS PAGE: FARM RIO DRESS AND CARDIGAN. OPPOSITE: ON HER: RAMY BROOK JACKET. ON HIM: GOFRANCK JACKET; OAK & ACORN VEST; OAK & ACORN JEANS; PENDLETON SCARF.


Photography: Jenna Greene; Style director: Alex Badia; Models: Charlotte Stevens / The Lions; Noah Lopez / Wilhelmina; Prop stylist: Colin Lytton; Hair: Taichi Saito / Art Department; Makeup: Amanda Wilson; Market editors: Luis Campuzano, Thomas Waller, Victor Vaughns, Emily Mercer; Editor: Angela Velasquez

DIESEL JACKET AND CANVAS AND LEATHER PANTS; PENDLETON BLANKET.


AQVAROSSA COAT; ETICA TWOTONE JEANS; FTC CASHMERE COLLAR.


A D V E R T O R I A L


A D V E R T O R I A L

SEVEN DECADES OF DENIM

Bossa’s path toward sustainability accomplishments, transformations and leadership.

E

STABLISHED IN 1951, Bossa is one of the largest integrated textile corporations in Turkey, supplying denim to top brands around the world. The company also leads the industry in sustainability, launching RESET, a fully ecological collection in 2006. Today, the focus is on eliminating waste, providing transparency and adopting the latest technologies that promise to deliver an even more responsible product and process. Bossa general manager Onur Duru explains the company’s commitment to furthering sustainability and how efforts like theirs will soon be table stakes. “Currently, the strongest demand from brands is sustainable, and especially, recycled products,” Duru said. “Companies that consider sustainability as an expense will not be able to sustain themselves. Policies such as European Green Deal will also force companies to work in this direction.” On its 70th anniversary, Duru explains the company’s rich heritage, its efforts to close the loop with Towards Zero Waste and Bossa’s ambitious post-consumer recycling project. WHAT HAS DIFFERENTIATED BOSSA OVER THE DECADES? One of our core strengths is our powerful and long-lasting relationships with prominent global designers and brands like Nudie, Kuyichi, Mango, IAM, etc. We are proud to present novelty, trends and outstanding products to all our customers. We are one of Turkey's biggest integrated textile companies in denim and sportswear. All processes from A to Z in fabric production are carried out within our organization. We have a machine park where we can apply all processes such as yarn and fiber dyeing, yarn production, weaving including selvedge fabrics, dyeing and finishing


A D V E R T O R I A L

processes, and we use the latest technology in production processes. By constantly following innovations and following new technologies, it constantly updates our existing machinery to obtain more efficient and higher quality products. We would say our know-how over 70 years,

innovative and flexible production system, our color range, young and dynamic team players, globally widespread and efficient sales network, product quality, collection diversity, advanced production and information system technologies are what differentiates Bossa.

BOSSA’S COMMITMENT TO SUSTAINABILITY STARTED EARLY. WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST MAJOR INITIATIVE? Bossa launched the entirely ecological RESET collection in 2006, using organic and recycled cotton plus ecological dyes, chemicals and finishes throughout the entire production. At that time, recycling was not very common, but we did a lot of projects and started collaborations. With our R-PET project we produced 100 percent recycled denim, using r-PET and recycled cotton fibers. Today, sustainability is beyond an innovation, it’s a reality. We’ve taken things to the next level. Today Bossa offers a wide range of products with natural dyestuff, recycled cotton, recycled PET, organic cotton, natural fibers (i.e. linen, hemp, wool), BCI Cotton, African cotton, GMO-free Turkish cotton and naturally colored cotton.

"Companies that consider sustainability as an expense will not be able to sustain themselves." SINCE 2018, BOSSA HAS HAD THE GOAL OF CREATING ZERO WASTE. HOW ARE YOU WORKING TO BECOME A BETTER STEWARD OVER YOUR RESOURCES? Using pre-consumer recycled, post-consumer recycled and post-industrial waste, we have ongoing projects producing zero cotton, zero dyestuff and zero water particles. In addition to new Lenzing indigo modal and naturally colored cotton, we are also using Fair Trade cotton and are working on a special project with naturally colored cotton that uses little water.

COMPANIES ARE MAKING A LOT OF SUSTAINABILITY CLAIMS TODAY. HOW IS BOSSA GOING ABOUT VERIFYING YOUR ACHIEVEMENTS AND PRACTICES? We make our standard production with BCI cotton and Bossa is the main organic cotton denim supplier for almost all brands in Europe. We


A D V E R T O R I A L

MATERIAL MILESTONES A look at Bossa’s accomplishments and accolades over the decades started our traceable organic cotton journey five years ago, and now know the location of our organic cotton fields, farmers, where the farmers buy their cotton seeds, and where and when the cotton is ginned. With our D-Chronicles technology, which we developed with Fibretrace, we provide a QR code that provides all of the information on our organic cotton and hemp blended articles, which several of our brands such as Boyish, Outland Denim and Nudie offer.

WHAT SPURRED THE ‘DENIM IS REBORN IN BOSSA,’ POST-CONSUMER DENIM RECYCLING CONCEPT? More than 15 million tons of used textile waste is generated each year in the United States, and the amount has doubled over the last 20 years. Against this environmental pollution we created “Denim is Reborn in Bossa,” a post-consumer denim recycling concept where 1,000 shredded denim jeans can produce 2,000 meters of 20 percent PCRD blended fabric. In 2019, we used 85,910 kg post-consumer recycled cotton; in 2020 this number is 130,917 kg. Our goal is to use 250,000 kg post-consumer recycled cotton in 2021. We also signed the “DENIM DEAL” together with more than 30 international partners to make post-consumer recycling textile the new norm within the denim industry. All signatories commit to meet certain sustainable standards, including agreeing to work as quickly as possible towards a standard of using at least 5 percent recycled textile in all denim garments.

Bossa Textile Mill opens, producing outerwear, home textiles and towels. Bossa starts producing denim. Completes Initial Public Offering (IPO); shares start trading at the IMKB Istanbul Stock Exchange. Bossa launches RESET, the first sustainable capsule collection. Obtains R&D Centre Certificate and is one of first companies with an R&D Centre. Bossa becomes most profitable textile company among BIST Istanbul Stock Exchange companies. JCR Eurasia Rating gives Bossa “investible” rating on national level.

BOSSA HAS SEEN A LOT IN 70 YEARS BUT NOTHING LIKE THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC. WHAT HAS YOUR COMPANY LEARNED FROM THIS EXPERIENCE? Once again we saw that opportunities can arise from crises. As everything is teamwork; we saw once again how important our employees and agents are. We saw the importance of marketing, online presentation and digital transformation. Due to the pandemic, we saw that human behavior changed, and soft and comfortable products came to the fore. As Bossa, we have products that contribute to these trends. During this period, we were in constant communication with our customers. We have also seen the importance and effect of mutual trust, understanding and working shoulder to shoulder.

Uçurum Family purchases Bossa’s main shareholder Akkardan A.S. Investment boosts annual production from 36 million meters to 48 million meters. Brand Finance names Bossa in its “Most Valuable Brands - Turkey 100”. Bossa receives “A” brand rating in fabric production. Bossa cites growth projections of 25 percent.


A D V E R T O R I A L

CORDURA CELEBRATES DECADE OF DURABLE DENIM ®

A

S HEALTHIER LIFESTYLES re-

quire more performance apparel, CORDURA® has upped the performance of denim. With more than half a century of history creating durable materials for the outdoor, active, workwear, footwear and military/tactical markets, CORDURA® is a registered trademark of INVISTA, one of the world’s largest integrated polymer, intermediates and fibers businesses. Ten years ago, CORDURA® applied its proprietary performance and protective innovations to denim, beginning a “Decade of Denim” full of capsules, collaborations and creativity. The underlying concept was the style and comfort expected from jeans with the built-in durability of CORDURA® fabric. CORDURA® Denim boasts at least four times the abrasion resistance compared to a comparable weight, traditional 100-percent cotton denim fabric. With durability underpinning longevity, it also forms the foundation of CORDURA’s® sustainability ethos. “Extending the life and performance of denim and other CORDURA® fabric offerings continues to drive our innovation pipeline and supports our brand DNA that Sustainability Begins With Products That Last™,” said Cindy McNaull, business development director. Working with a network of licensed mills, CORDURA® Denim features the same INVISTA T420 nylon 6,6 staple fiber that powers today’s global military and tactical uniforms. Since inception, CORDURA® Denims have adapted to meet the ever-changing needs of today’s fashion and functional denim consumers, like the commut-

er, the climber, the motorcyclist, the worker, the skateboarder and more. “We are proud to have partnered with CORDURA® to pioneer the world of performance denim,” said Omer Ahmed, chief executive officer, Artistic Milliners. “Together over the last decade we have pushed the boundaries of denim creativity and transformative change. We are designing for durability, creating jeans that feel great and can be used in many situations and conditions from office to street to outdoor—one jean created for a lifetime.”

"To us, the future of innovation is collaboration." Flexing its creative muscles has been a hallmark for CORDURA®, with a number of denim capsules and collaborations highlighting technological, fashion and sport applications with crossindustry approaches. “To us, the future of innovation is collaboration—whether that’s with an industry leading designer such as Tillman Wröbel (aka, Monsier T) or with our community of authorized mills,” said McNaull. “Orchestrating industry powerhouses together is a gateway to forward-thinking design

and the fusion of advanced fiber technologies in the apparel of today.” In 2016, CORDURA® teamed up with Lenzing, the maker of TENCEL™ branded fibers, to showcase the softer side of denim in its Authentic Alchemie collection. “As denim takes on modern evolution, we’re able to use our denim fabrics in ways that address our lifestyle,” said Tricia Carey, director of global business development at Lenzing Fibers Inc. “CORDURA® brand brings the long-lasting durability and strength, and we help enhance it with comfort and softness.” Spotlighting its creativity, in 2017 CORDURA® celebrated its 50th anniversary with a denim capsule, teaming up with Artistic Milliners for the space-themed X. Venture Collexion designed by Michelle Rose of Struktur Studio. Fusing fashion with function, this performance concept envisioned how today’s innovative textile technologies would impact the future of technical denim, with influences from retro astronaut gear inspired by the brand’s 1967 heritage. The cutting-edge men’s jacket and pant and women’s neo jumpsuit featured latest-generation CORDURA® Combat Wool™ and TENCEL™ fiber denim blends. Another anniversary collection was the heritage-driven Cone Mills x CORDURA® SELVEDGE Denim capsule produced in Cone Denim’s legendary 110-year-old White Oak® mill facility. That partnership has led to other innovative Cone x CORDURA® Denim solutions, like the S Gene® 14 to 32 percent stretch collection in a range of weights from 10.75 to 11.75. Moving to fitness and wellness, CORDURA® Denim products have shown strong growth in


A D V E R T O R I A L

Mountain Hardwear© featuring Olympic athlete and pro climber Kyra Condie wearing CORDURA® Denim..

workwear, commuter cycling, traditional motorcycling and the rapidly growing sport of rock and mountain climbing. Versatility means easy transitions and cross-purpose styles. “Adaptive clothing is a growing global demand—inspired in many ways by today’s active and cross-functional categories,” said McNaull. “For consumers looking to transition easily from desk chair, to the climbing harness, to the bike seat or simple urban living, they need fabrics with multipurpose functionality and contemporary styling. With this in mind, we have developed an expansive Fashion + Function collection that allows designers to create pieces that look great, yet hold up to the rigors of today’s diverse, high-impact lifestyles.” Levi’s is a big partner for CORDURA® Denim, as evidenced by its Levi’s Skateboarding Collection (designed, developed and tested by skateboarders and launched globally in 2013), with stretch CORDURA® Denim and Canvas fabric technologies, plus extra stitches and bar tacks for extreme reinforcement. To market the durable message to consumers, CORDURA®’s “Live Durable™ Diaries” series featured short spotlights of athletes and everyday

adventurers as they embark on life’s many journeys. They even tested CORDURA® Denim with Olympic athlete and pro climber Kyra Condie. “CORDURA® brand has a strong foothold in the climbing market and we are actively seeking the opportunity to work with brands that share our passion for the outdoors,” said McNaull, noting Mountain Hardwear’s curation of a Hard Denim line of women’s climbing apparel powered by CORDURA® Denim technology. On denim’s fashion end, in 2018 CORDURA® rolled out its SuperCharged Noir collection by Artistic Milliners, which included a no-fade black performance denim with Lenzing TENCEL™ fiber. “By integrating state-of-the art INVISTA nylon 6,6 BLACK SDN fiber technology we were able to bring a new dimension in stay-true color and enhanced strength and abrasion resistance to the collection, while TENCEL™ fibers and Artistic Milliners complemented those attributes with added color fastness, softness, sustainability and stretch,” said McNaull. In recent years, CORDURA® gained traction in motorcycle jeans, straddling recreation and fashion perfectly in line with the rise in e-bikes and focus-

ing on high abrasion resistance, strength and protective performance. The company also introduced “softened strength” protection with a more feminine focus. “Exploring challenges within women’s workwear has been an exciting next chapter for the CORDURA® team,” said McNaull. “Our recent Dovetail x Artistic Milliners collaboration brought the opportunity to leverage our learnings from our legacy in military, work, and outdoor sectors to help develop tough sustainable workpants, just like the women who wear them.” “As the denim company of the future, we are excited to work with the CORDURA® team to advance sustainable denim choices,” said Artistic Milliners’ Ahmed. “In the next chapter of our CORDURA® collaboration, we will be debuting CORDURA® Hemp Denim blends that offer a soft yet resilient combination for today’s relaxed lifestyles.” All in all, CORDURA®’s Decade of Denim has demonstrated that the elemental durability of CORDURA® never goes out of style. Through harnessing the power of collaboration, CORDURA® will continue to push performance so that consumers can demand more from what they wear.


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FALLEN GIANTS

DATABASE

A new landscape is emerging in jeans sourcing. w ords_____ ARTH UR FR I E D M AN

RIVET NO.11 / APRIL 2021

The one-time production powerhouses of e ico and hina ha e lost significant market share in the last year, while others have held their own, or even made notable gains, during the global pandemic that has curtailed demand. Top supplier Bangladesh, which now holds a 20 percent import market share of denim apparel to the U.S., saw its market share dip 5.8 percent in the year though January to a value of $565.82 million, according to the ommerce e artment s ffice of Textile & Apparel (OTEXA). In comparison, No. 2 supplier Mexico lost 40 percent of its market share during the period for a 16.85 percent market share.

20% Bangladesh’s import market share of denim apparel to the U.S. But Mexico did see a slight gain in January, and some feel a resurgence could be afoot for the United States southern neighbor. Patricia Medina, director of Aztex Trading, and Graham Anderton, the company’s president, expect a strong turnaround for Mexico’s jeans manufacturers that supply U.S. brands and retailers. The husband-andwife team said mills and factories are all back open with safety protocols in place after Covid-related shutdowns, and demand is slowly returning. “One of the problems we’re seeing is the increase in the price of cotton,” Anderton said. “That’s made the mills reluctant to or-


der the cotton until they ha e a firm order in hand. It’s a Catch-22 because you don’t know how to cost for a customer until you know the price out of the mill, so it’s a guessing game in placing orders.” Medina said the Mexican mills are totally dependent on U.S. cotton, and that the issue of farmers choosing to grow crops that are easier to cultivate and perhaps more rofita le is also affecting rice, although organizations such as Cotton Incorporated and Cotton USA have forecast a strong crop year coming up. Anderton said Mexico’s advantage over Asian production is shorter lead times and the ability to produce quick replenishment goods that can absorb higher labor rates. Medina said right now there has been lots of activity in product development and sampling, with expectations of fall ordering coming soon. Anderton noted the problem is that the many of the big-order retailers have gone out of business, so the jeans landscape is more spread out and reliant on smaller, customized orders. No. 3 jeans supplier Vietnam saw its market share fall 7.62 percent in the 12 months to a value of $355.05 million and a 12.74 percent market share, OTEXA reported. Sourcing executives have pointed to a potential capacity crunch of facilities and labor that could be slowing Vietnam’s momentum.

40% how much of its market share Mexico lost in denim apparel imports to the U.S.

Then there’s China, with geopolitical turmoil like no other country having a severe impact on its apparel production. Denim apparel imports from China plummeted 49.37 percent in the year through January to $326.34 million and an 11.71 percent market share. However, Dr. Sheng Lu, associate professor at the University of Delaware’s Department of Fashion & Apparel Studies, said, “U.S. fashion companies are not giving up on China as one of their essential apparel-sourcing bases, although companies continue to reduce their China exposure overall.” Among the top 10 jeans suppliers showing some strength were Pakistan, which now holds a 9.2 percent market share after its shipments dipped 1.15 percent to $256.4 million; Cambodia, with a 5.08 percent market share after posting a 5.78 percent increase in the year to $141.54 million, and Lesotho, with a 2.14 percent market share after its imports rose 1.61 percent to $59.65 million in the year through January. Among the major suppliers losing ground in the period were Nicaragua, with shipments down 20.9 percent for the year to $102.71 million and a 3.68 percent market share; Egypt, with imports falling 43.74 percent in the 12 months to $99.49 million and a 3.57 percent market share, and Sri Lanka, with shipments declining 23.03 percent to $48.3 million and a 1.73 percent market share. Among smaller producers making strides were Madagascar, with its imports up 24.75 percent in the period to $37.66 million; Ethiopia, with a gain of 29.44 percent to $23.89 million; Macua, jumping 228.18 percent to $21.26 million, and Tanzania, with a 15.23 percent hike to $14.69 million. Nate Herman, senior vice president for policy at the American Apparel & Footwear Association, (AAFA) feels Africa’s nascent industry and future are “still bright,” and “one of the initiatives we’ll be starting early on is trying to get early renewal of AGOA (African Growth & Opportunity Act) and that will help give Africa traction.”

RIVET NO.11 / APRIL 2021

Denim apparel shipments from the Sub-Saharan countries that are part of AGOA rose 2.5 percent in the period to $158.5 million and a 5.69 percent overall market share. In the end, sourcing executives point to di ersification and risk a ersion as key, as well as developing strong relationships in the supply chain.

11.71% China’s import market share of denim apparel to the U.S. e really elie e our di ersified su ly chain enefits us as we manage through this time,” Rustin Welton, executive vice president and chief financial officer of ontoor Brands, the maker of Wrangler and Lee, said during a conference call with analysts. “With approximately a third of our production in this hemisphere and two-thirds of our source production coming from 225 facilities and over 20 countries around the world, we can be a little more creative…in navigating some of the challenges.” Herman added importers will also be able to make decisions in 20021 based on greater certainty. “We believe the Biden administration will take a much more steady, predictable approach to trade,” he said. “While there might still be tariffs, we’ll know way ahead of time. That part of the uncertainty that has dogged the industry over the last four years will not be there.”

85


New fabric choices for jeans give a twist to traditional price formulas. words_____ ARTH UR FR I E D M AN

It used to be a benchmark in the denim industry that as raw cotton prices went, so did the price of jeans fabric. While cotton is still a key ingredient, the advent and now prevalence of blended materials and non-cotton fabrics has changed that equation. That’s not to say that denim makers don’t follow cotton prices and aren’t now concerned about a fairly sharp rise in the price of the commodity in recent months. At press time, U.S. spot cotton prices averaged 86.90 cents per pound at the end of February. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), this is the highest price since June 14, 2018, when the average was 90.27 cents per pound.

42.8%

how much February cotton prices increased from a year earlier

USDA said the end of February price was up 42.8 percent from 60.84 cents a year earlier. Cotton Incorporated stressed in its monthly analysis that cotton prices continue to trade at levels above those that global supply and demand estimates suggest may be appropriate. “Along with cotton prices, values for crops that can compete with cotton for acreage have also been increasing,” Cotton Inc. said. “Global economic growth is expected to accelerate as the world moves beyond the pandemic. The corresponding increase in economic activity could

RIVET NO.11 / APRIL 2021

support further growth in mill-use and lift global demand several million bales. A net result could be that world production and consumption in 2021/22 could be near parity.” The International Cotton Advisory Council said ending stocks for the 2020/21 season are now estimated at 24.5 million tons, “potentially easing pressure on prices.” ICAC’s price projection for the year-end 2020/21 average of the Cotlook A Index average of global cotton prices is 75.7 cents per pound. Robert Antoshak, CEO of Textile Projects LLC, said the price of cotton is being impacted by a variety of factors. “Covid, of course, is a major factor, contributing to a weak and erratic supply chain, and relatively sporadic consumer demand,” he said. “There’s been a clear shift to online selling and along with it has come a shift in product mix— people buying a lot more knits such as sweatsuits compared to wovens, such as jeans. And that has a direct impact on cotton demand.” Another factor that could hold down cotton prices is that there are still relatively high stocks of cotton, he said. “I see a lot of this having to do with the uncertainty over sourcing product out of Xinjiang,” Antoshak said. “The typical mill in China and Asia will blend cotton due to performance or costing

THE

86

CALCULATING

DATABASE


24.5

million tons

estimated stocks for the 20/21 season by the International Cotton Advisory Council Also impacting cotton prices is “intercrop competition,” he said, with farmers making decisions for greater rofita ility during difficult times.

Impactful innovations The Lenzing Group is enhancing sustainable offerings for the denim industry with the introduction of encel odal fi ers with ndigo technology. The technology behind the new offering incorporates indigo pigment directly into Tencel branded modal fi ers using a one ste , s un dyeing process. Lenzing reports that this delivers superior color fastness relative to conventional indigo dyeing, while using substantially fewer resources. Tricia Carey, director of global business development for denim at Lenzing, noted that Tencel odal fi ers with ndigo technology are inherently versatile and enable implementation in a range of multifi er lends. Pierette Scavuzzo, Cone Denim’s design director, noted that the denim mill has developed a pro-

VARIABLES

reasons. The cotton market, since the Xinjiang reporting has gained momentum, has excluded it from the price calculation. As a result, you get these price increases that aren’t necessarily in line with the economics.” ynthetic fi er rices ha e also started to increase, Antoshak noted, because historically, cotton prices and polyester staple prices have tracked each other. The Bureau of Labor Statistics roducer rice nde for synthetic fi ers was up 0.7 percent in January and had risen for four straight months.

RIVET NO.11 / APRIL 2021

totype fabric with the Tencel indigo blended with hem , gi ing styles a fresh hand and look, and fits into the looser silhouettes in demand today. This ty e of fa ric can fit into designer le el s ortswear, ca u o said, or dresses or loose fit trouser. “We also did a stretch, textural fabric with has e i le and that can e unise , she said. Denim mills such as Isko, Orta and Calik are moving into using more post- and pre-consumer cotton and cellulose fi ers such as en ing efi ra. “There’s a huge shift from conventional or virgin cotton and other fi ers to recycled ersions, said Ebru Ozaydin, former vice president of sales marketing of Artistic Milliners. Vivian Rivetti, vice president of global design for rangler, said the use of stretch and fi er blends are important because people who wear Wrangler want to be comfortable in whatever activity they are doing.

75.7

cents

the 20/21 year-end average of global cotton prices per pound according to the Cotlook A Index “Comfort is important to the consumer and in order to deliver comfort stretch in our products, fi er content is key, she said. rangler continues to elevate our product sustainably through the consideration of articular fi er lends. ew erformance enefits are im ortant as they allow the consumer to enjoy climate-sensitive, soft and stretch technologies and get more use out of their apparel, she noted. As for price consideration, Rivetti said the decision to use a articular fi er is not always ased on cost. “Our team makes the decision to use a fi er to deli er our rangler consumer the est product in a reasonable price range,” she added.

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ETERNALLY COOL

In recent years, the popup shop has become a musthave for brands introducing new merchandise to loyal consumers. But the concept has its roots in a small but revolutionary retail outpost that began with a pair of jeans and a vision that came to embody California’s effortlessly cool aesthetic. Fred Segal, the father of Southern California, aka “SoCal” style, introduced this retail concept when he opened his first eponymous shop on Melrose Ave in 1961. Segal had a new vision for denim, and by 1968 he bowed the first “Jeans Bar” in his second Fred Segal store. The “Jeans Bar,” a curated shop-in-shop, sold his infamous low-rise jeans alongside coveted basics and other denim styles at higher-than-average prices. For more than 50 years, his West Coastonly stores became the go-to for young hipsters and trendy celebrities.

l_____ MODE L I N FR E D SE GAL PLASTIC JE ANS

l_____FR ED SEGAL IN 1983

88

RIVET NO.11 / APRIL 2021

Segal would attribute much of his success to the store-in-store concept. His creative retail spaces transformed the shopping experience. By the 1980s, he would pioneer another first. He moved on from the retail side to become an umbrella organization, creating opportunities that led to multiple employee-owned and licensed Fred Segal brands. He retired in the early 2000s, but stayed in tune with his businesses and the changing retail landscape. Fred Segal stores remained a California concept until 2012 when he sold the worldwide rights to the brand to Sandow Media of New York. Being sold at the retailer, however, continues to be a badge of honor for notable American and European labels. Even with global expansion, it has stayed true to the laid-back SoCal style Segal created. Segal died on Feb. 25, 2021, at the age of 87. — Tonya Blazio-Licorish

Photo: Fairchild Archive/Penske MEdia

FRED SEGAL’S LEGACY IN DENIM RETAIL LIVES ON.


EXCEL ALONG THE BLUE WAY It started in 2000, with an idea for a responsible textile industry. The idea became the Bluesign mission: to provide service-based solutions that help the industry realize responsible manufacturing, globally. THE BLUE WAY is a mindset towards advancements for supply chain inputs and outputs. From improvements in resources and chemical usage to emissions and waste reduction – THE BLUE WAY creates a positive impact and better textiles. As global society begins to catch up, we are taking our momentum into the next 20 years. We look forward to walking the walk together with you.

bluesign.com/business

managing inputs. responsible actions.


Profile for Sourcing Journal

Rivet Magazine: April 2021  

Rivet Magazine: April 2021  

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