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Newness in Denim Innovations Drive Market

According to the Cotton Incorporated Lifestyle Monitor™, the average woman owns 8 pairs of jeans.

One designer accepting and meeting the challenge of offering cutting edge denim is Alexander Wang. At his recent runway presentation during New York's fall fashion week, the internationally-renowned wunderkind debuted garments treated with the STORM DENIM™ technology. "It's the first innovative treatment I have seen and worked with that is remarkable without changing the appearance or feel of the original goods," Wang shares.

The STORM DENIM™ finish, introduced by Cotton Incorporated two years ago, provides water-repellency, protection from the cold and damp, and breathability. While it was created with functionality in mind, whe n applied to denim, the finish also boasts fashionability. "In the jeans segment, it's always about the next new thing," says David Earley, Cotton Incorporated Associate Director Strategic Initiatives, Global Product Supply Chain. "The industry has seen water-repellant denim finishes before, but they are usually applied in fabric form. This has been a limitation since most jeans are garment processed in some way to apply styling effects such as whiskering, localized abrasion or decoloration processes. Applying in garmentform means that the finish is applied as the last step, following any styling effects that are applied to the garments; creating more consumer benefits, more marketability for specific end uses and with that, more sales."

Alexander Wang certainly believes so. In a Nylon Magazine segment currently appearing on YouTube, he demonstrates the performance aspect of his STORM DENIM™ treated jeans by literally putting them in his studio's sink. "Everyone was amazed and couldn't believe what they saw when I put it underneath running water," the designer shares, noting in the video that the jeans remained perfectly dry after their dip. Wang also waxes enthusiastic about the application of STORM DENIM™. "It is basically undetectable but is so exciting to work with something so new, fresh and actually useful."

In addition to finishes, newness in denim also occurs in the form of cut, color and washes. "During the last few tradeshows, I have seen that denim companies are really trying to win over buyers with light washes and destruction," says Scott, the buyer from Tobi. "Denim companies are offering every single leg width since the consumer base is so broad. Even though skinny continues to be the strength for many retailers, in the fall season due to boots, wide legs and bootlegs will continue in popularity because of the wedges and platform sandals."
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