If there is one issue affecting any kind of industry today, Moreno De Angelis, Isko research and development washing and treatments manager, said it is “green sensibility.”

The good news, De Angelis noted, is that the jeans industry is gradually moving toward a more conscious approach to finishing and washing. “I’d say that all those treatments involving polluting agents or needing too much energy are doomed to decline,” he explained.

For example, De Angelis said formaldehyde-based products, which are still popular in industrial laundries, and resins that need high temperatures to be polymerized (some need a 90°C polymerization) have all but diminished for regular denim processes.

De Angelis added, “As happened to sandblasting, a finishing method that has been banished, we can assume that the same will happen to the potassium permanganate (KMnO4) used in laundry houses. This is the reason why we are truly committed to research in this field.”

Isko’s research is paying off. Case in point: stone washing. Today, De Angelis said there are a number of cellulase enzymes that can erode cotton, producing effects comparable to stone wash, adding that the near-extinct process is “not a handy method.”

“What’s more, who can even think of using stones in a washing machine at home? What we really want to achieve is to reproduce the usual life cycle of a pair of jeans, thus obtaining a natural vintage look,” he stated.

While the need for more sustainable practices looms over denim, versatility, flexibility and comfort continue to be category buzzwords. As a result, denim manufacturers are on the chase to recreate a natural denim look, be it vintage or new, to knit. However, De Angelis said Isko has done one better with BLUEJYM, its 100 percent denim fabric designed to look like knitwear and be used as knitwear, but is made as pure traditional denim.

He said, “Isko BLUEJYM is two products in one. On one hand, it has the comfy look of knit; on the other hand, it has all the advantages that denim can offer both in the phase of production and wash, and once the consumer wears it.”

Plus, it holds no creative restrictions for designers. Through Isko’s research on yarns and fabrics, De Angelis said they’ve managed to develop the product to be high performing in laundries, too. “It can resist all the treatments usually applied to traditional 3/1 rigid denim,” he said.

A blank, malleable canvas may just be what the denim category needs with trends becoming as difficult as ever to nail down. De Angelis said, “Talking about trends is always tricky. Every market has its own characteristics and needs. I’d rather say, while a few years ago there were macro trends everybody tended to, nowadays the market offers such a huge variety of products, that everyone can find his or her own way.”

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