Apr 29, 2015

Posted by in Style, Trends | 0 Comments

Reinventing Denim: A Look at 5 Designers Innovating with the Fabric

Denim is a staple in most wardrobes, but is there any way to take this fabric to new heights? Well, that is exactly what five designers are doing to the so-called “everyday fabric.

Throwback to Denim’s Heritage

Katie Green, a former Net-a-Porter buyer launched a denim line called Keji. While admirable, she was also up against market space being dominated by notable brands such as Acne, Frame and J Brand. But despite that, she still saw an opportunity in it.

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Green, a Hong Kong native, apprenticed in bespoke tailoring on Saville Row and her vision for denim involved bringing it back to its roots. She took inspiration from 1800s workwear as well as the WWII-era American sportswear designs of Claire McCardell. Green was also inspired by the sharp lines of shunga, which are Japanese erotic woodblock prints, to create crisp cigarette pants, A-line dresses and round-shoulder jackets in heavyweight Japanese denim. He collection debuted at London Fashion Week for the fall/winter collection of 2015.

For Green, she sees it as an interesting challenge to see how far she could push the fabric as well as take it back to what it once was before becoming such a fabric seen almost everywhere.

Grunge Inspiration

Marta Marques and Paulo Almeida of London-based Portuguese fashion shop Marques’ Almeida are both shortlisted for the 2015 LVMH Young Fashion Designer Prize and they also love working with denim.

Marta Marques says, “Denim is something you own for ages, and it transforms with you and changes and gets a bit frayed.”

What both designers did for their brand was to build a collection of hand-frayed denim shirts, collarless jean jackets and boyfriend jeans which were inspired by the grunge theme of Corinne Day’s shoots with Kate Moss in the 90s for i-D and The Face.

Hand-Dyed Denim

Central Saint Martins alumna Faustine Steinmetz makes use of artisanal techniques to make copies of denim. She hand-dues yarn using natural indigo then weaves it on large wooden floor looms. Steinmetz then uses traditional Japanese pleating techniques to hand-knot the fabric into intricate shapes before steaming it.

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Beyond the Norm

At the New York Fashion Week in Manhattan in February, an anonymous designer for 69, a “nondemographic” denim brand based in Los Angeles, staged an event at Gavin Brown’s Enterprise, an art gallery. It was attended by 45 friends from art, fashion and music who all wore denim pieces, including one which was a 20-foot-long knit denim scarf.

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