The 5 Key Denim Trends to Watch for Pre-Fall 21
Mid season collections have become increasingly important for retailers and pre-fall is one that remains at retail the longest each year so it's no wonder why brands and retailers put so much emphasis on these drops. Despite the slowdown of the pandemic, pre-fall 2021 gave us a lot to digest. Comfort is still king, as people continue to stay at home amid an ongoing global pandemic — and that translates to both the silhouettes we see come up again and again as well as key fabrics.
Surprisingly, designers have been backing denim as a way to transition consumers out of sweats and back into fashion. This isn’t just happening on the catwalks either. Recent data by global fashion search platform Lyst reveals that demand for jeans and denim pieces has grown since the start of January. Searches for denim increased 23 percent, with women on average purchasing twice the number of jeans as men. With denim regaining some of its pre-pandemic mojo, we take a look at the top five trends that are set to impact the category for Pre-Fall 2021:
Nostalgia provides a sense of comfort
Nostalgia has been a major theme that designers have been leveraging as a way to give consumers a new sense of optimism and security in shopping. "At a time when we're all determined to reach the other side of this challenging period but are unsure what that looks like or how exactly we'll get there, this collection is about momentum—being propelled by personal strength and glimmers of hope," said Khaite creative director Catherine Holstein. "I wanted to explore the notion of 'getting through,' of making your way by surrounding yourself with what you feel you need. The instinct to seek comfort and to retreat into nostalgia is tempered by a craving for escape and by moments of pure joy." The 70s were key era’s of reference for designers like Etro, who offered up a new take on bohemia through flares that were laser etched with floral patterns. Elsewhere, Philosophy’s Lorenzo Serafini said he found himself captivated by British royalty - Princess Diana’s off-duty looks to be exact. Here he reimagined her throwback style with faithful reproductions of 80s high-rise jeans in retro open-end character and stonewash finishes. Achieve this look by looking to Calik’s DENOVATED fabric which offers an authentic, vintage character with distinctive twill lines that are synonymous with 1980s denim. While it features a rigid look, the comfort and power stretch technologies give extra functionality without compromising the look.
Despite the focus on comfort and stay at home style, many designers looked to pretty and romantic feminine style as a way to add a fresh spirit into denim. For Pre-Fall labels like Red Valentino, Ganni and Cinq à Sept turned to delicate flounces like ruffles and frills as a way to inject shirts and jackets with a feminine attitude. Items like the denim dress and skirts also made a big appearance for the season, signalling a more dressed up, party-inspired mood. Authentic look denim keeps the look grounded, as do fabrics that are all about comfort. Calik’s SKINLITHE AND SELFSIZED fabrics are the perfect match for this trend thanks to its high performance stretch which are ideal for body contour fits that are usually synonymous with dresses or slim-fitting skirts. Fabrics within the Selfsized concept features stretch technology that enables a one-size to fit a wide range of different sized wearers. The concept aims to minimize the risk of buying the wrong size, especially online (which is what most people are doing due to the Covid situation).
The Biggest Pants of All
There’s no arguing that skinny jeans are losing their market share to classic and wide-leg jeans which are fast becoming the fashion-forward fit for millennials and gen-z. Relaxed and wide-leg silhouettes have been a big callout across pre-fall collections and reflect a greater market wide shift. Lyst’s recent data report noted that popular jeans styles currently trending in searches are slouchy, wide-leg, ripped as well as patched pieces. Catwalk designers continue to invest in these 80s and 90s-inspired fits by offering updates like cropped hemlines, extreme distressing and unconventional details like asymmetric waistbands as seen at R13. Combine these big fits with super soft, vintage-looking fabrics like that of Calik’s DLEISURE fabric to achieve an authentic look with the same comfort as well-worn vintage jeans. The fabric concept is ideal for loose fitting jeans and jackets that can be worn for daily and home office life. The softness of the fabric is achieved through TencelTM Lyocell fiber and TencelTM Modal fiber blends which provide further fluid and supple hand. CBD oil treated fabrics as well; CBD has important features such as pain relief, calming effect besides being powerful antioxidant. Rigid and comfort stretch articles are included.
As brands continue to pledge their commitment towards more sustainable denim practises, laser becomes a key tool for customisation. Mass market brands like Levi’s have already proven the commercial success of laser with their FLX Project, but catwalk designers are just waking up to the endless possibilities the technology offers. Used mostly as an alternative to print, designers use laser etching as a way to create decorative tonal patterns on jeans and jackets. MSGM has been using the technology for some seasons now, and for Pre-Fall they perfect the application with stunning allover floral patterns. Elsewhere, designers like Alberta Ferretti showcase the diversity of laser through novel plaid patterns that seek to replace traditional woven looks, while Versace looked to their iconic geometric patterns as a way to add statement to trucker jackets and wide-leg flares. Develop these types of laser applications using Calik’s E-SENSE technology, which are created specifically for the use of laser in order to limit energy consumed whilst achieving the most vivid and authentic finishes.
The growing concerns around waste has inspired runway designers to explore new ways to manage deadstock or idle fabrics. Upcycling is one way that brands are tapping into this movement by repurposing old fabrics and apparel to create something new. Creative patchwork techniques have been an ongoing trend for denim and offer endless possibilities to cut-and-paste contrast fabrics. Designers like Jeremy Scott literally spliced together old season collections with mixes of leather and denim, while Red Valentino looked to more delicate touches with toile accents against more grunge-inspired silhouettes. Designer Nili Loton looked back to 70s boho style with a range of retro-inspired patchworks in bright cast blues. Circular design has become a key priority for Calik, who have developed a special yarn technology as part of their E-DENIM collection which maximizes recycled fiber content in the composition of the fabrics. As a result, this exclusive yarn structure supports high quality production and achieves more premium look fabrics.