Last week was a busy week for the Stylesight Denim team! We headed over to the inspiring city of Istanbul to visit one of Turkey’s leading denim mills and finishing specialists, ISKO for their Denim Seminar. The event, named ‘Washion’ was a specialist denim academy aimed at educating, collaborating and networking with a hand-picked group of denim-heads from in and around Europe. As well as Stylesight, the event was attended by design teams from Acne, Bershka, Zara, Esprit and Escada amongst a huge team of ISKO experts to teach and inspire.
We started the day at the ISKO headquarters in their vast fabric showrooms for 5 in-depth lectures covering hot topics in denim innovation. The classes were led by ISKO’s professional alumni of denim specialists including Hamit Yenici, product development director at ISKO, Moreno De Anglesis, washing manager at ISKOTECA, Nuria Stape from eco dye house Clariant, and Umberto Brocchetto, from Creative Room.
Being specialists in the ever expanding stretch market, one of the key focuses of the seminar was stretch innovation. Interestingly 80% of ISKO’s sales are stretch fabrics and almost 100% of the global women’s denim market is now taken up by stretch. Hamit touched on some of ISKO’s latest product developments in their stretch category:
Reform: with 4 times more hold than their traditional Jegging fabric, this super stretch denim incorporates a hidden synthetic inside the cotton yarn which creates a spring-like construction, transforming the silhouette. It uses what they are calling Re-Call technology that enables much faster recovery than conventional fabrics, limiting loss of shape and ensuring minimum restriction with high stretch performance ranging from 30 to 50%.
LoomFX: This fabric debuted at the most recent Denim by Premiere Vision and appeals to the menswear market. This denim replicates a premium raw denim with visible twill lines and grin-through and yet contains comfort stretch capabilities.
Hamit also highlighted ISKO’s hugely successful FF (Future Face) revolutionary patented product which is the first woven material that replicates a knit, combining perfect fit, 360 degree stretch and lightness with exceptional shape-retention. This took the denim world by storm last year with the Diesel Jogg Jean range and their Hudson x Equinox campaign, as previously blogged on the DDD.
We also learnt all about their TurboTech range, plus finishings and laundries with ISKOTECA’s amazing Moreno De Angelis who shared his expert knowledge on the hundreds of varieties of resin coatings and their capabilities. He also explored the future of Eco-friendly finishes to replace damaging sandblast procedures including C02, Ozone and laser technologies.
Clariant are an amazingly inspiring company who aim to save 92% of water and 30% of energy from the traditional indigo dying process. Instead of indigo, their Pad/Sizing-Ox process uses a new eco-friendlier generation of concentrated sulfur dyes such as Diresul® RDT. For more info check out their PDF or head over to our recent full report on the company.
In the afternoon we headed to Sik Makas Group’s Cross Jeanswear, a major manufacturing plant and jeanswear brand who’s customers include Topshop, Zara and River Island amongst many others. They have two plants, one in Istanbul and one in Egypt, employing over 3500 employees and producing 11 million units per year and they specialize in the fast-fashion market with a 3-4 week lead time. The experience was more practical than the morning, with us getting our hands nice and indigo. Research and development manager, Peter Lantz took us on a guided tour of their plant, exploring wet and dry processing and their laser and G2 machines. We all tried our hands at sanding whiskers (and smiley faces, see above!) and permanganate spray.
All in all it was a very fun day but also packed with plenty of learning. Factory visits are an essential part of being a denim designer but we really herald these practical training courses, involving the designer with the product they are creating, it leads to a better understanding of denim product which in turn leads to a better product. Denim training is definitely becoming more of a focus within the industry, with projects such as the House of Denim Jeans School opening recently in Amsterdam and we feel this is a very positive step for the industry.
Thank you ISKO and Cross Jeans!