Jun 19, 2013
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What does the future hold for denim?

Jun 19, 2013

How to revamp jeans in this era of major economic crisis in an increasingly competitive market? On June 14, some of the industry’s major names gathered near Treviso, one of the most important regions in Italy in the history of denim, to brainstorm ideas and solutions for a revamp of the sector. The event was organized by the Turkish group Isko, a major denim fabric manufacturer, in partnership with Denim by Première Vision. Round table participants included Fiorucci founder Elio Fiorucci and the pioneer of Italian jeans, Adriano Goldschmied.

From left to right: Elio Fiorucci (on the screen), Katharine Hamnett, Scott Morrison and Vladimiro Baldin

Today's market is dominated by vertical chains and different market segments. Besides young consumers, there are also more sophisticated customers with a higher spending power. Environmental responsibility has also become an important element. These are all challenges we have to meet by creating new emotions and drawing power through a new generation of products,” said the founder of Genius Group, Adriano Goldschmied, who views research and development as “the fundamental key to giving shape to the future of denim.”

“Today, manufacturers and designers are not enough by themselves. We have 65 chemical pollination. We see the major future trends in denim to be finding ways to offer more comfort in women’s jeans and the use of stretch in men’s. The other frontier is anticipating market needs,” said Marco Lucietti, marketing director of Isko.

Along these lines, the denim manufacturer has revolutionized its strategy by broadening the focus of its customer base beyond brands to include retail consumers. The company is investing hundreds of thousands of euros in market research to understand this demographic.

“Research is the foundation, but the biggest challenge is to stay connected to the youngest generation, the so-called cool kids, and take inspiration from them,” said Vladimiro Baldin, product development and style coordination director at Diesel. The arrival of the group’s new artistic director Nicola Formichetti is pushing this new creative process to the extreme.

The poster for the denim event organized by Isko in Treviso

“Before, we tended to protect our creative context. The last few years, we have discovered the power of sharing by opening ourselves up to all kinds of extensions, from furniture to the subculture of motorcycles, etc. The most fascinating aspect is to allow an idea to emerge from this chaos. The most difficult thing is to manage this chaos gently,” he said.

For Vladimiro Baldin, work and design processes in the denim industry have changed dramatically. “It is not enough to study fashion or to travel. The world is changing too quickly. We have to remain permanently connected,” he says. Another angle was voiced by the British designer Katharine Hamnett, who called upon European countries to reinvigorate their local manufacturing sites.

“This would preserve manufacturing in some countries such as Italy and avoid the loss of its considerable expertise while also creating jobs. If brands were to hire, they would increase the purchasing power of young people who today cannot afford to buy a pair of jeans,” she said.

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