Zeitung Heute : „A good pair of jeans is made of pure cotton“

Trade magazine Sportswear International presented its Fashion Awards – and insiders gave their tips for success

By Jakob Wais
A bunch of winners. Clarissa Labin won the award for Best Newcomer (2nd left), e-commerce pioneer Jacques-Antoine Granjon, founder of the groundbreaking shopping community Vente Privée (4th right), won the prize in the category Best Online Shop.
A bunch of winners. Clarissa Labin won the award for Best Newcomer (2nd left), e-commerce pioneer Jacques-Antoine Granjon, founder...Photo: Thilo Rückeis

A good pair of jeans is the foundation of every wardrobe. Established at the end of the Fifties as a symbol of protest, it lived through the wild Seventies, Brad Pitt made it sexy in the Eighties and at the end of the Nineties it became an absolute fashion statement. Reason enough to dedicate a whole day to the blue material. On Denim Day representatives of the industry, retail and distribution met to discuss the next chapter of denim history.

Trend scouts Amy Leverton and Helen Job from the Stylesight agency kicked it off. They gave an outlook of what the future could look like and announced the Rebel Youth, who can be imagined as: Seventies protest meets Nineties rave. But above all, Metal is back. The scene is growing fast and with it a return to its symbols. The jeans of the future have holes and are embellished with sewn-on rock-band patches. Used patches are already achieving much higher prices on websites such as Ebay than they were two years ago.

Another trend is light bleached jeans with whitewash and also the skinhead look is back in fashion. But denim also has to be increasingly functional, a warming sheep skin lining might be a possible response to the growing demand. Everything stays colourful, too, the camouflage-look is back and is a continuing trend.

A general trend in the textile industry is getting more and more important for the denim business: Ecologically correct production is becoming a crucial issue for jeans brands, too. Enrique Silla, CEO of Jeanologia, said: „We need 100 litres of water to produce one pair of trousers. It is impossible to continue like this!“ New laser technology could offer a sensible alternative, which should be used in the future. The look does not have to be compromised and using this technology would incur no further costs. This technology is the future and big companies such as Uniqlo and Abercrombie & Fitch are already celebrating their success with it. His colleague, jeans producer Jason Denham, a known expert in historical technologies, was not entirely sure whether he could completely do without the old method of washing and French industry legend François Girbaud also commented on it sceptically.

Who is going to be my next consumer? that was the question keeping Axel Dammler, CEO of Iconkids & Youth International Research GmbH, busy. Right at the beginning of his lecture, he explained: „Most online activities of a brand are a pure waste of money.“ Only part of the audience was willing to accept this, but Dammler went further and even more provocative: Most consumers were not interested in blogs at all, only three percent read them regularly. Facebook fans were not customers but simply bored. So his advice was: It is better to position yourself in a good shop.

The biggest problem of the business sector is currently the ever-rising price of cotton. A development that has to be passed on to the consumer in the long run, said Augusto Romano, owner of Italian denim brand Meltin’ Pot. An alternative could be to switch to synthetic fabrics, he suggested. But for the attendees it was clear that „A good pair of jeans has to be made of 100 percent cotton“. They would rather do without too many playful details instead.

The highlight of the day was the Sportswear International Fashion Awards ceremony. The readers of the special-interest magazine had made their choices over the internet and a jury chose the winners.

This year’s award in the category for Best Denim went to Vivienne Westwood’s Anglomania line for Lee. The label Scotch&Soda was delighted to receive the Best Fashion award while the award for Best Sports and Streetwear went to the collaboration between Adidas and Burton. Some of the attendees reacted with disappointment to the fact that the industry giant Nike won the award in the Best Sneaker category. Best Shoe was won by a collaboration between Dr Martens and Stussy.

A beaming Clarissa Labin accepted her award as Best Newcomerin person. At the end the editors of Sportswear International handed out three prizes in the Editors Choice category. The Spanish company Desigual, famous for its brightly coloured collections, won the award for Best Retailer, the Best Online Shop is being run by Jacques-Antoine Grayon with his Vente-privée.

Klaus N. Hang, the long-standing Sportswear editor-at-large, honoured a special person and friend: Karl-Heinz Müller received the Special Award for his lifetime achievement, despite his relatively young age. By founding Bread & Butter he created the most important meeting place for the whole industry.

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