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Experts at Kingpins: 4 biggest myths about denim

By Caitlyn Terra


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What do we really know about the denim industry and about the products themselves? As with every topic, the denim industry is full of its own myths or facts that are mistaken to be false.. During the fifth edition of Kingpins, Stefano Aldighieri from the Design Studio, Bart van de Woestyne from Superblue and Andrew Olah from Kingpins, acted as mythbusters for topics surrounding denim. In the seminar 'Busting Up Denim Myths', the experts discussed various myths about denim. FashionUnited lists some of the misconceptions discussed.

Also read: Denim for dummies

1. Denim originated in France

"Everyone always says that denim was developed in the town of Nimes in France. I have also heard people claim denim originally come from Germany. The truth is: nobody exactly knows. Denim has existed in different forms for hundreds of years,” says Aldighieri. "The first form of denim was much lighter than what we now know. It was first used in workwear, so it became firmer, making it heavier.” Aldighieri himself believes that denim was originated in Great Britain or Italy. He adds that the earliest forms of denim he has seen was from London and was not a pair of denim jeans from France or American Levi's. "The substance has been around for much longer than Levi's has been working on it."

2. Stretch denim fits better

"If you ask me, stretch denim is a lazy solution," says Aldighieri. “If the regular denim you have has a good pattern, then it will fit much better, in my opinion." He points out that more work has to be out into a pair of denim jeans versus a pair of stretch denim jeans. Due to the stretch, a pair of denim jeans can often be worn by several people, while unprocessed denim must be made to fit the buyer with more care,” says Aldighieri.

3. The use of organic cotton is more sustainable

Van de Woestyne indicates that he is often asked by customers to work with organic cotton instead of normal cotton. "Many believe that that is the solution to becoming more sustainable." Van de Woestyne, however, points out that according to the figures, less than 1 percent of all cotton is biologically produced. This makes it difficult to incorporate organic cotton in the product. "I therefore believe that there are many alternatives to producing sustainable denim, in addition to the use of organic cotton." Experts mention examples of reducing chemical use in production, the number of washings jeans go through (more than 12 times dipping in indigo dye is unnecessary according to Van de Woestyne) and the use of stones to give the denim an aged look.

4. Japanese and Italian denim is the best in the world

According to Olah you often hear: "I only buy Japanese or Italian denim." Nowadays almost all of the denim industry uses the same raw materials, according to the Kingpins creator. He shared that the looms come from the same place, there are only five companies in the world that make indigo and almost everyone uses cotton from the same areas. "What makes jeans different is the intellectual property that is attached to it." Aldighieri adds: "In the beginning, the Japanese were mainly concerned with creating the best copy of American denim." In addition, Olah and Aldighieri both admit that they were wearing Japanese denim at the seminar, but that it is almost impossible to separate them from another country because the raw materials and production techniques closely match.

This article was published earlier on FashionUnited.nl. Translated and edited by Kelly Press

Photo credit: FashionUnited