Over the course of the last decades, a massive amount of research has gone into denim, applying revolutionary new techniques to the traditional weave, to widen the repertoire of jeans and make them speak whole new languages. The first major change has been in the elasticity of the fabric, with a huge leap in performance achieved with the introduction of elastomers at the spinning stage. Research on this began at the end of the 70s with LYCRA and, over the years, subsequent improvements have made stretch and comfort denim possible, immediately transforming jeans into a 24/7 garment, ideal for any occasion and always a joy to wear.
The elastan or spandex fibre is incorporated into the cotton during the ring spinning process and the yarn thus produced is used in the weft and it is therefore in contact with the skin, maintaining all the natural appeal of cotton with the added comfort of a stretch fabric. Stretch jeans were originally conceived to complement the female form and to turn jeans into genuine women’s wear, but today they have invaded the territory of the denim purists with their insistence on the classic weave, to the extent that stretch jeans are now infiltrating menswear, a revolution indeed. The goal is to maintain the image of the traditional pair of jeans even when using stretch denim, not only for skinny jeans but also for the classic men’s cut, by using a stretch yarn that is practically invisible.
As research has caused weaving to evolve, it has also brought innovation to the finishes applied to the woven cloth, making possible ever more creative and attractive effects. This leads the main manufacturers of denim cloth, for example Isko, the textile division of the international Sanko Group, to invest heavily in research and development to produce special “recipes” to apply to finishing techniques. This priceless knowledge asset yields the sort of results for the company that makes it stand out on the market and in the collections. The most innovative finishes use certain compounds, usually in the washing process applied to the finished garment, to change or rather optimise the visual appeal of the fabric and to change the way it behaves.
This “new” denim becomes a living entity, a fabric that mutates and transforms with every washing technique the finished garment undergoes, designed to meet ever more ambitious goals in both technical and aesthetic terms. Regardless of the type of denim, the optimum result depends on an approach that takes in the entire supply chain, using top quality fabric for which every step of the way, from spinning to finishing, must be state-of-the-art. This holistic approach has never been so vital for obtaining the very best results in a sector whose constant evolution is driven by a never-ending quest for new materials, techniques and processes.