There’s a sense of discovery in the denim market. “New trends have appeared, which have risen expectation among customers,” said Jordi Ballus, creative design director of Textil Santanderina.

Knit-like fabrics and technical textiles, which have been spurred on by the popularity of athletic apparel, are some of the emerging stories Ballus said are gaining traction in the denim space. On the style end, skinny and super skinny jeans remain a steady trend in the women’s market, however, he said there’s a growing acceptance of boyfriend jeans for women, as well as drapey garments with soft lines and fluidity.

“Comfort has turned into a basic aspect for menswear,” Ballus added. As a result, he said there’s more regular stretch fabric in men’s jeans and more skinny silhouettes for men, which is giving way to more power stretch in the market, especially in the young men’s category. He noted, soft washes help keep the garments’ genuine look.

Sporty looks for both genders are also increasing. Special finishes, like coatings and printed denim continue to grow in demand, Ballus reported. “Another important technique is to spray the garments for a technical hand feel,” he added.

Perhaps what the industry lacked during its slowdown in 2014 wasn’t innovation, but patience.

“Denim manufacturers are developing new denim trends constantly,” Ballus said. However, unlike fast fashion, which calls for product that is easy to develop, print and finish, Ballus said the type of quality product the Spanish mill aims for takes time. “The development of new fabrics with all the quality requirements under control needs time, it may even take years,” he said.

For Textil Santanderina, consumers’ willingness to accept new trends in denim is an opportunity to reach for better designs, higher quality and brand new product lines that are not yet on the market. “Denim jeans needs to be authentic, genuine and transmit a clear concept that leads to new ideas of development,” Ballus said. He added, “People’s awareness and interest is increasing a lot about how things are made.”

Ballus said the mill is currently working on “surprising blends” of Tencel with other fibers to create new hands and looks. The mill is also looking into finishes, including a new line of applications of indigo, which Ballus expects to make a big impression in the industry.

He added, “I dare to say that denim will never die. It is a full part of our society and lives, and it has the highest capacity I have ever seen in any fabric to reinvent itself through textures, washes and composition.”

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