Despite denim mills reporting 2014 to be the most difficult trading period in 10 years, the global jeans market is projected to reach $56 billion by 2018, according to Global Industry Analysts, Inc. At the ready to drive growth are four key themes, which are shaping up to be prevalent in Spring/Summer 2016 collections.

From silky smooth chambray to new blends that offer unparalleled softness, here is a recap of the fabrications featured at the latest edition of Denim by PV, Barcelona, inciting interest from the likes of Calvin Klein Denim, Gap, Levi’s, Ralph Lauren, Target and more.

Soft • Consumers’ ongoing soft spot for comfort will be satisfied with a crop of new blend variants emerging in the market. Supersoft Tencel with stretch and recovery using Lycra dualFX has expanded into more mill collections, including Artistic Fabric Mills, Berto, Calik, Orta, Toray and US Denim Mill, while cloudy washes, like pale gray and faded bright blues, reverberate the materials soft hand. New blends of Lenzing Modal Color deliver an autumn/winter aesthetic, but with added benefits of comfort and softness.

Indigo Knits • Cotton indigo knits are featured throughout common jersey stitches, novelties and bottomweights. The fabrications spill over into activewear, where there is a strong influence on denim structures as indigo knits take on the same shapes as their woven counterparts. In particular, knit constructions in woven silhouettes are seen trending up in the menswear market.

Chambray • The lightweight classic returns with stronger consumer acceptance than previous seasons. This time around, chambray is used in styles beyond traditional button-down shirts, including athleisure garments. Novel blends with wool and linen, as well as dobby and jacquards are prominent. Look for Tencel chambray——distinct to other fiber blends for its unique hand, drape and luster——to act as a blank canvas for all wash and treatments by Bossa, Calik, Kipas, Matesa and others.

Details • From subtle to bold, new textures and prints key into a number of Spring/Summer ’16 trends highlighting the various degrees of light blue and gray washes being implemented into collections. While fine herringbone pattern denim offers sportswear alternative to traditional tweed fabrications, light wash denim gets a pop of leopard and text print fit for the junior market. Partial coatings create activewear-inspired stripes. Neckline coatings add a vintage-like effect to tops.

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