The recently closed edition of the show, held on 19 and 20 April 2017, in Amsterdam’s Westergasfabriek saw very busy halls and a highly positive and collaborative networking atmosphere.
The show gathered a record number of 90 exhibitors – including accessory manufacturers, garment manufacturers, laundries and full-package providers - for the first time under the same roof while enlarging its exhibition space by practically adding two new halls to the main Gashouder building, a historical industrial hall.
Andrew Olah, founder and organizer of the Kingpins Shows, commented: “One of the possibilities when coming to Amsterdam is finding grey skies and even some rain. Our industry often sends off sad dark vibes. Our good fortune this week was that the sun shone brightly and the Kingpins sponsors, exhibitors and attendees were full of smiles. Everyone seemed to have a great week and attendance was fabulous.”
For many exhibitors and visitors, this show continues to be the place to be and be seen. Other insiders, especially some exhibitors, expressed some discontent about Kingpins becoming larger and including more and more worldwide companies from the value chain: “We preferred when the show was more exclusive in admitting companies and its atmosphere was more intimate”, said an exhibitor.
Back to the ‘80s and ‘90s
The show disclosed quite some inspiring trends for the f/w 2018/2019 season.
Most influencing seems to be a return to ’80s and ’90s silhouettes and fabric optics. Oversize jackets and tops, cropped, boxy or boyfriend cut jeans will characterize the evolution of the market. More and more open-end denim with flatter and more regular surfaces (Bossa, Calik, Cone Denim, Orta Denim, Tavex) will be the must have for seasons to come. Artistic Milliners presented various fabrics including a very open construction, relaxed and slouchy hand denim.
Innovating with softness
In tough times softness is a must. Among some of the most striking innovations launched at Kingpins there is US Denim’s new Duvet Denim. This new authentic looking fabric incorporates leftovers from bird feathers and offers higher insulation from cold, a very soft touch and an interesting nap surface. Part of their new collection is also Fluff Wear, a denim fabric that integrates natural and regenerated fibers – remains from the weaving process - blended, spun and woven into new extra soft denim.
Berto continues offering indigo fabrics that mix wool and cotton while reminding of home decor fabrics. Their newest fabrics are made from elaborate weaves, mix bouclé yarns with chenille and velvety touches while creating new optical effects.
Orta is betting strongly on new softness by developing fabrics that have a silk touch. Bossa is launching Ruco Fin Lan, a denim treated with wool wax (lanolin), a natural and sustainable grease covering wool fibers that guarantees soft touch fabrics.
Crescent Bahümán, a Pakistani vertically integrated manufacturer, producing from fabric to garment, has developed a warming denim with a very soft hand that incorporates both wool and abrasion resistant Dyneema fiber.
Workwear – and vests - are back
As part of the return to the ’80s and especially ‘90s, workwear gets cool again with pieces like workwear jackets and comfy trousers. Berto reinterpreted an evident salt&pepper denim in new jacket versions. ITV adapted the idea of a highly abraded flock denim to be employed for boxy jackets.
Cordura, celebrating its 50th anniversary, has revamped some key workwear outfits as part of a collaboration with denim expert Monsieur-T - the “Re/Mastered Collection”. Together, they reinterpreted some traditional workwear outfits employing modern denim – aged, overdyed and empowered with Cordura fiber. Parts of the initiative were also Arvind, Artistic Milliners, Cone Denim and Kipas manufacturers.
Many companies also offered more and more fabrics treated with sulfur dye blues, duck brown and ochre effects (Cone Denim, Berto, ITV), leaning on the workwear trend.
A revamped item that is also connected to work apparel is the vest. ITV, for instance, presented new matelassé padded indigo denim vests. Santoni, circular knitting machine manufacturer, and Lenzing developed a new double-face reversible jersey fabric that employs a natural fiber for the inner side and an indigo-dyed Tencel-mix on the outside that carries new high-tech matelassé effects – also perfect for new reversible high-tech indigo vests.
Customizing is a must
Customized denim continues to be a hot trend. Within the show, Italian technology and treating machine manufacturer Tonello presented their new "Tonello: Denim Gallery" exhibition. The initiative, born as a collaborative project with designer and denim guru Piero Turk, reproduced the ideas of ten international designers who interpreted a pair of basic five-pocket jeans. The ten garments all look different from each other while all are highly imaginative and inspiring - from almost raw jeans to widely decorated ones with embroideries, handwritten elements and wavy surface scrapings, just to name some aspects. All pieces were obtained employing Tonello machines and can be reproduced on an industrial scale.
Vintage with a twist
The reinvention of authentic fabrics is in the air. Vintouch, a line of Tavex denims, looks like an authentic fabric, though has a softer, silkier and warmer feeling. Orta considered how denim pieces are worn today and developed a new authentic blue denim fabric that can be kept raw while its color matches well when worn with black pieces. Artistic Milliners has developed a new slouchy, soft-touch and floppy relaxed denim.
Sustainability as lifestyle
Sustainability continues to be a hot topic, challenging many companies to be less harmful when producing their fabrics and garments.
Orta has analyzed a series of consumers’ behaviors from all over the world and picked some of most inspiring ones for its collections. Orta’s Remakers fabrics follow the trend of recycling material for new uses, garments or material mixes. This group of fabrics has a time-worn look and very authentic character.
Lenzing has developed its new Sustainable Denim Wardrobe made up of about 20 looks employing Tencel-cotton denims, designed by seven students of the Valencia College of Art and Design and treated with Jeanologia earth friendly technology.
Evo, a 100% bio-based component obtained from castor oil seeds has been employed ever more. Within Kingpins, both Berto and Crescent Bahümán offered denims featuring this component. Crescent Bahümán also developed a new denim made with up to 35% post-consumer cotton (PCW), mixed with virgin cotton and aim at producing fabrics that may incorporate up to 80% PCW eventually.
Italian Chemical substance producer Garmon has developed Geopower NPS (No Pumice Stone), a special compound that requires almost no water but can be directly poured into the washing machine. It provides the same effect as stone washing but without stones. Garmon also signed an agreement with the Only Blue Denim brand which will offer a denim capsule collection finished with their Geopower NPS available for f/w 2017/2018.
Candiani, the self-proclaimed “greenest mill in the blue world”, is also strongly committed to sustainable matters. They presented their Kitotex and Indigo Juice innovations. Kitotex is a patented ingredient (derived from Chitonsan, a naturally occurring polymer obtained by recycling the exoskeleton of shrimp, a waste product of the food industry), which reduces the consumption of water, chemicals and energy in the fabric production process. Indigo Juice is a dyeing technology which keeps the indigo dyestuff only very superficially on the yarn so it takes less water and energy to wash it down in the laundry process. When employed together, Kitotex and Indigo Juice can reduce the water consumption by 75% (from 90 to 22 liters) and the chemical use by 65% (from 0.62 kg to 0.2 kg) per jean, compared to traditional processes.
Candiani is putting a focus also on the tailored communication of its sustainable efforts, offering their data and research in three different packages: In-depth technical reports for CSR managers, less detailed versions for brands and manufacturers and very easy-to-understand information (such as a newly made explanatory video) for retailers and consumers.
More performance denim
Adding more functions to denim is a must for every manufacturer. Tejidos Royo developed a new series of fabrics that are equipped with special high-tech membranes and functions and can become multipurpose in every condition and for every sports activity.
Stretch continues to represent a key aspect in functional denim. Invista presented more results from a consumer survey they have recently carried out in key markets such as Germany, Spain, The US, China and Brazil. “Thanks to this study we are discovering a number of unfulfilled consumers’ needs that still exist,” commented Jean Hegedus, global segment director for denim, Invista. “Key needs are centered around the areas of fit, appearance, garment durability and comfort. By solving their particular issues, we can drive interest, satisfaction and ultimately: purchase intent,” she added.
Vicunha, who also welcomed guests at their newly opened Amsterdam showroom with a cocktail party, launched three new hi-tech fabrics containing Nilit fiber. These denims have antibacterial, moisture and temperature-controlling properties: they can keep wearers fresh throughout the day, preventing the growth of bacteria that cause body odor. The fabrics can maintain their antimicrobial properties for at least 50 washes.
The Chinese denim manufacturer Seazon also took part in Kingpins. This company whose productive capacity is 72 million meters per year is specialized in producing bi-stretch denim for all major denim brands worldwide. Their number one market is China followed by the US. They aim to further expand in Europe soon.
A blue surrounding
Once again, the fabrics trade show was beautifully embedded into the Amsterdam Denim Days. After its two show days, Kingpins concluded with its Transformers summit on Friday morning, circling around the Cost of Sustainability. (Read more here)
Afterwards, the industry participants happily moved over to the open-to-the-public Blueprint festival (also on the Westergasfabriek grounds), where local and international denim lovers united. In the Zuiveringshal West, visitors could engage with some of the most renowned denim brands (Nudie Jeans, Wrangler, Hilfiger Denim, Calvin Klein Denim, Scotch & Soda etc.) and mills or take a look at the workshops by Jean School students and other denim artisans.
The adjacent Machinegebouw explored the future of denim with exhibitions by G-Star, The Global Denim Awards, Soorty and more, while the Ketelhuis hosted a schedule of Denim Lectures and the Westergastheater held a cozy denim market, giving attendants the possibility to shop new and vintage pieces by industry favorites, including Atelier de l’Amrée, Benzak Denim Developers, Butcher of Blue or Indigo People.