Hands down, denim is the most popular and versatile textile. Invented by Levi Strauss and Jacob Davis in 1873, denim was originally used to create sturdy work pants, but has become a symbol of a wide range of Americans over the past 140 years: the blue-collar laborer, the rebellious teenager, and even the “Casual Friday” worker.
The social and cultural influence of denim is remarkable. With the popularity of clothing products like jeans is only growing, here are five big trends we see for the denim manufacturing industry in 2018:
1) Stretch With Strength
Denim, which historically has been designed for durability instead of comfort, is getting stretchier. In 2018, we’ll see more complex blends of textiles such as cotton, polyester, and spandex come into denim manufacturing to try to achieve the balance of stretch and strength, without sacrificing shape. Manufacturers will continually be challenged to create denim that is durable, comfortable, and has exceptional “stretch recovery.”
2) Improved Washing and Dyeing Techniques
Manufacturers are continually coming up with new denim washing and dyeing techniques to satisfy the consumer demand for unique looks, as well as to lower the costs of current processes. For example, we’re expecting to see more sulfur dying techniques because they’re affordable and eco-friendly. Also, biotechnology will become more prevalent in indigo production and denim washing.
3) Lighter Weights with Higher Sleys
Denim is typically categorized into three weights (with the weight being the ounces per square yard of fabric): lightweight, mid-weight, and heavyweight. Lightweight denim, under 12 ounces, is in demand and we don’t expect that to change this year. It’s easy to break in and more breathable. Manufacturers will be using lighter weight denim with higher sleys – the thread count running lengthwise – to improve the comfort level and quality of denim.
4) Increased Quality
With denim’s increasing popularity and, in the case of higher-end products, cost, consumers are very quality conscious. With both functional and fashionable garments (and the in-between crossovers), this year we predict we’ll see more advanced elements like technical or protective features added to increase the quality of a garment.
5)More Recycling and Eco-Friendly Practices
Businesses inside and outside the denim industry are looking for affordable solutions that also decrease environmental impacts. With denim manufacturing, we’re predicting to more technologies and processes to emerge in 2018 with an eco-friendly goal. For example, manufacturers will come up with practices that reduce water usage when washing garments and increasingly use organic cotton. Recycling denim waste and leftovers will also be a huge priority for this year and beyond.
At All American Clothing, we want to stay on top of the trends, without sacrificing our mission of supporting American families and jobs. Whatever 2018 brings, we’ll continue to produce high-quality, affordable clothing in the USA.