Many of today’s consumers are literally doing it all. From work, to yoga to celebrating with friends at a brewery or an impromptu rendezvous at a café, they are accustomed to staying on the go – and needing gear and apparel that can keep up. Long gone are the days of garments that only have one purpose. That pair of pants you wear to work is comfortable and breathable enough for the gym, durable enough for the daily commute and stylish enough for the workday and evening outings.

These changing lifestyles are driving textile innovation of go-to fabrics that are the foundation to making apparel, footwear and accessories cross-functional. One prime example is the rise of stylish, performance denim. From an authentic feel to versatile fabric technology benefits, we see the future of denim in 2017 manifested in the following trends.

The Future is Real

As we continue to see more ties to technology in our lives – from smart watches to fitness apps to intelligent homes and more – many are seeking an escape from all the noise. This leads to a desire to return back to the basics. This season of denim embraces that desire with a spirit of simplicity – classic denims geared towards off-the-grid adventures.

The key to this category of seasonal denim offerings is the experience. How can your new pair of jeans help take you further, last longer and help keep you more comfortable? In today’s retail landscape, consumers are looking for more than just a pair of pants – but a constant, reliable companion for their daily adventures.

Luxury in Lifestyle

Consumers are also seeking value in their purchases. Quality is key – from purchase experience to the garment itself. Lifestyle garments are becoming the new luxury and today’s denims are honed to integrate the “best of both worlds” – softness with strength, fashion and function, durability with definition.

By incorporating these qualities, consumers no longer have to make a choice between comfort, durability or style. New denim fabrics are pushing the envelope on unique, new and innovative garments.

“Di-Versitility”

A combination of diversity, versatility, and utility – or “Di-Versitility” – is also important in this consumer landscape. Today’s world allows us to be who we want and live as we like. As such, we demand the same versatility from our clothes and fabrics. We do not want to miss a beat and we expect our apparel and fabric choices to keep up too.

Today’s denim fabrics are incorporating hidden science capabilities – such as moisture-wicking, temperature regulation and quick-dry to help create a long-lasting garment that is versatile enough for a variety of uses.

The diverse capabilities of these fabric benefits allow designers to create unique solutions pertaining to key consumer end uses – for example, the urban commuter, the motorcyclist, the climber, or the young professional.

The Bigger Picture

As the latest performance denims – such as the new Cordura brand “Authentic Alchemie” Collection – begin to hit the market, manufacturers and designers will have more choices than ever to introduce cross-functional, wearable solutions. Long gone are the days of only heavy-duty, hard-duty denim. With consumers seeking real products with combined attributes to take them through their varied day to day activities – workwear to motorcycle apparel, commuting and skateboarding, and everyday adventure living – designers and manufacturers are creatively harnessing technical fabrics to help fulfill consumer demands.

From hidden fabric benefits to simple designs and cross-functional capabilities, new denims are designed to make your favorite pair of denim jeans, shorts, jackets or skirts comfortable and long-lasting (because we all know denim will never go out of style). The future for denim is about keeping it real, taking time to experience the good things in life and maximizing the durable, versatile, and technological performance that can be engineered into this utilitarian textile. We continue to explore the past to reinvent the future.


Cindy McNaull is the Global Brand and Marketing Director for INVISTA’s CORDURA® brand, a registered trademark for durable fabrics. With more than 25 years of experience in the specialty chemical, textile and non-woven industries, she has served in both sales and marketing management positions and acquired multiple technical patents.

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