Having just appeared for her Class X exams,Shivani Singh,16,is gearing up for college. As she puts together a new wardrobe with repeated visits to Mumbais Linking Road,shes sure about one purchase denims in the colour red. Blue and black jeans are staple pieces but its the red ones that will make me stand out from the rest, she reasons,as she scours through denims in bright pop colours such as pink,red,orange,yellow and purple.
Singhs choices are only a reflection of new trends in denim. A rugged cotton twill textile thats traditionally coloured blue with indigo dye,denim today denotes much more. Be it the varied colour palette or the organic fabrics being used,
it has got a glamorous and environment-friendly makeover. Almost all major denim brands have recently rolled out a coloured denim range right from Calvin Klein and Mango to Lee and Levis. We introduced a range of colourful denims early on because we wanted to break the monopoly of indigo blue and black. Moreover,we havent restricted the colour play to womens jeans,jeggings and shorts; even mens denims are in bright hues such as bright red,steel grey,mint green and forest green, points out Sujal Shah,CEO and founder of the lifestyle apparel brand,Freecultr.
Designer Narendra Kumar Ahmed,a fan of coloured jeans,believes the colour burst was long due. A pair of coloured denims frees one from the prospect of wearing blue denims all the time. So when I showed them two years ago at the Lakme Fashion Week,the colours represented non-conformity. The trend has taken its time to pick up but has now percolated to the street shops the lowest denominators, he says.
The coloured spread aside,another denim revolution is brewing that of the eco-friendly denim. A notable example are several environment-friendly options from Levis. While the recycled denims (made using recycled cotton) will be launched in India by September,the Levis Water<less collection has already got an encouraging response. Levis claims it has reduced the number of washing machine cycles by combining multiple wet cycle processes into a single wet process and removed the water from the stone wash for this line. Much less than the average pair of jeans which uses 42 litres of water in the finishing process. Also worth a mention are khadi denims introduced by Rajkot-based Saurashtra Rachnatmak Samiti (SRS) last year to promote khadi. Our khadi-denims have been a hit in Gujarat. Now,one of the biggest denim players in the country,Arvind Mills,has contacted us for their mass-scale production. This will help us widen our reach, says SRS and Khadi Gramodyog chairman,Davendra Desai. When you add to all this the water-repellent denim range from Wrangler it has a coating that protects the wearer from moderate rain,snow and even a muddy slush a cohesive picture of the new denim emerges. The question,then,is of how durable and sustainable these varieties are. Often the high prices act as a major deterrent. While the Water<less range starts at Rs 2,599,there are several other denim companies toying with the idea of launching similar eco-friendly lines. The coloured variety,on the other hand,is not as expensive but theres always the fear of the jeans bleeding colour. Priced at Rs 1,899 for a pair,the Freecultr range is also checked for quality by independent agencies, says Shah. The only way forward,agree industry experts,is creating greater environment awareness and balancing it with rising fashion consciousness.