We’ve just got home from the final Kingpins show of the season and wanted to share some of the wilder denim fabric innovations out there in the market that caught our eye. Whilst key fabric developments remain in the realms of sustainability, stretch innovation and authenticity, we thought we’d lighten it up a bit and explore some of the more visual treats on show. Crazy coatings, technical denims and an array of texture and pattern from the more experimental mills made SS20 an inspirational season.

Coatings and shine were a common theme at many mills, exploring both fashion denim finishing and technical advancements. One of the strongest developments was at Stella Blu who developed a 4oz, featherweight weave with an outerwear inspired technical coating on the inside.

Coated denim by Idea Blue
Outdoors attitude fromTai Yuen Textile
Glassy weaves from Kurabo
Featherweight metallic-looks at Stella Blu

In response to the increasingly outrageous denim on runway, mills have doubled down on novelty and fashion-driven jacquards. Tiger print is trending hard, whilst playful spots and checkerboards also emerged. Jacquard kings 496 Fabriclab took it to the next level though, with an incredible denim-chiffon fabric, pictured below:

Chiffon-look jacquard from 496 Fabric Lab
Tiger and giraffe by Kurabo
Japanese masters Nihonmenpu’s Checkerboard
Nihonmenpu’s  Spot

In the theme of jacquard, many mills explored the concept of destruction through intentional woven textures. Idea Blue from Japan wowed us with their unravelled, exposed warp threads in cerulean blue, whilst others played with floating stitches to create haphazard surface interest.

496 Fabric Lab plays with a thick floating stitch
Tai Yuen Textile’s textured jacquard
Incredible destroyed surface from Idea Blue

Mills used texture as a form of decoration in these soft-focus surfaces, below. Striped flock nodded to a heritage inspired railroad or ticking stripe at Ice, whereas all-over effects from other mills created a tactile, velvety effect. The flocked twill-line at Idea Blue was particularly effective.

All-over indigo from Idea Blue
Elevated workwear from Ice
Flocked twill at Idea Blue
Kurabo showcases a rich indigo flocked face on a classic 3×1 twill

Finally, the classic stripe and plaid enjoyed some beautiful updates. UK weaver, Paul Vogel presented some incredible hand-loomed textures and the advantage of his work is the bespoke element, meaning he can create super smooth, graphic finishes as well as more hand-loomed textiles. Kuroki and Tai Yuen Textile layered on the texture, mixing quilting or jacquard textures with plaids and stripes to create even more tactile appeal.

Graphic color changes from Paul Vogel
Traditional blanket linings get the quilted treatment at Kuroki
Tai Yuen Textile mixes a plaid weave with a jacquard
Variegated stripes from Paul Vogel

As the return to authentic characters continues and the recent obsession with 80’s exaggerated twills hits saturation, we spotted a few interesting takes on the classic 3×1. From purist Japanese dudes, Kurabo, this meant a 38oz jumbo jean novelty, but we also loved the premium appeal of some silky faux-denim looks and a non-fade indigo from Collect.

Jumbo-twill look, in a lightweight drape, from Kurabo
Premium faux-twill at Idea Blue
Non-fade, ‘Shin Denim’ from Collect
Just yer 38oz, commercial twill by Kurabo
Silky drape from Idea Blue
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Trend forecaster, denim designer, industry journalist and author of Denim Dudes.