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Key denim trends for Spring/Summer 2021

By Huw Hughes


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Amsterdam - Kingpins is back. The bi-annual trade fair, held in the Dutch capital as well as in New York, Hong Kong and China, is once again bringing together denim professionals for two days between 23 and 24 October.

As always, one of the key topics during Kingpins is, quite unsurprisingly, which trends consumers will be shopping in coming seasons. So, to answer that question, Amy Leverton and Sam Trotman of Denim Dudes presented their Denim Trend forecast on Wednesday, guiding an audience of denim professionals and aficionados through the four key denim trends for Spring/Summer 2021. Here are FashionUnited’s main takeaways from the talk:

Eco Wanderer

Sustainability is a dominant theme in the fashion industry and it is set to remain that way into Spring/Summer 2021 denim trends. The Eco Wanderer is all about the conscious consumer’s interest in wellness and eco-fashion, reflected through earth-friendly natural textures, patterns and colours, with tie-dye, floral patterns and washed looks playing key roles.

The Eco Wanderer story is about marrying the old with the new, looking back and embracing 70s pre-modern technology hippy-vibes while embracing new technologies which allow high-performance fabrics for longer-lasting items. Natural dyes will also be key to this trend as consumers become more aware of the damage the dyeing sector causes on the environment. It’s about using natural dyes to create a natural look. The colour palette is bright and nature-inspired, with blues, greens, lavender, sunshine yellows and earthy browns.

Off-White SS20, Catwalkpictures


Inspired by sports and advances in modern technology, this forward-thinking trend gives denim a hyper-modern twist in the wake of the fourth industrial revolution, exploring future fabrics and survivalist themes - themes that Leverton and Trotman predict will shift more towards adaptable designs and lighter weights.

This story is bold and playful and digital-focused, again drawing inspiration from 90s and 00s style. It can look crude and experimental; a digital missmatched aesthetic, embracing bold designs like Chinese dragon motifs, flames and bright clashing colours, prints and textures. Shapes are oversized while the colour palette consists of synthetic looking bright colours mixed with darks, silvers and greys.

Off-White SS20, Catwalkpictures


Though it’s nothing new to look back to the 90s to inspire modern trends, Faded avoids the traditional go-to denim icons, instead drawing inspiration from less familiar denim pins for a more dishevelled and authentic attitude. Think less Saved by the Bell or F.R.I.E.N.D.S and more obscure cultural references. Denim Dudes used the example of the cult classic denim jacket of ‘Tweeky Dave’, a famous runaway youth from LA who passed away in the 90s. Other inspirations come from TV documentaries, physical magazine libraries and the archives of notable 90s photographers.

The counter-culture trend draws inspiration from 90s grunge and skater looks, with loose and effortless fits combined with gradient plaits and repurposed utility silhouettes. Boxy shapes, destroyed hemlines and big utility pockets are also expected to be popular. The colour palette includes lots of traditional indigo shades and washed-out colours as well as mid-tones that include reds and greens.

Gucci SS20, Catwalkpictures

Gentle Blues

This trend is all about deconstructing traditional dress codes based on gender and cultural constructions, inviting men to explore a more romantic and elegant fashion theme as soft tailoring and comfortability take over recent menswear collections. The trend boasts luxury-inspired minimalist looks, with louche and languid shapes but retaining an elevated attitude as luxury meets streetwear. The colour palette is a reflection of the soft shapes and materials used, playful and soft indigos, near-neutral pastels and washed-out shades with a few punchy brights.

Max MaraSS20, Catwalkpictures

Photos credit: FashionUnited

Denim Dudes
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