Presented by forecasting firm Denim Dudes, the Spring Summer 2024 trend presentation for denim which kicked off the Kingpins NY fair held at Pier 36 in Manhattan on Wednesday is decidedly retro. It is divided into four easy-to-digest stories with distinctive moods, textile suggestion, detail and color palettes.
This is a youth driven and edgy take on the by-now inescapable Noughties revival. A focus on debauched and decadent exhibitionism and self-expression with a palette of acid brights and greencast, the process in which the garment is dyed with green sulfur followed by indigo to give the item a bluish green appearance. Hyper-individualism and social media have created an army of “bedroom makers,” a term for the style-hungry who customize and create looks at home often with humble materials but for maximum impact. This is high design minus the usual gatekeepers. The mood of indie sleaze evokes club culture after the turn of the millennium which saw starlets falling out of London cabs or stumbling from Hollywood nightclubs. Advocates for the style include Instagram sensation Thought We Friends with their overworked labor-intensive denim treatments or cyber experimenters Space Paradiso with their artful spraying and airbrushing. Representative of the trend is the work of British youth photographer Ewen Spencer who was tapped by Diesel to shoot the campaign for their new range Track Denim. Time to dig out of the closet pieces from True Religion, Guess, D & G and Von Dutch.
The world is on fire but we’re still buying shoes, as Alec Leach put it, or in this case, jeans. While XS celebrates Nero fiddling while Rome burned, the second story, Burned Out, centers around a much less fun-loving vibe. It is a reaction to the dark times we’re living through, reflecting studies that happiness is declining in both the US and UK, amid a movement against capitalist values and the fetishization of productivity and the hustle culture. The vibe is dark, layered and casual, the styling is protective, and the palette lis limited to every shade of black, shot through with inky blues and greys. Mineral washes give a dirty effect, upcycling is now a staple, and couture textures in denim such as in the delicate crafted pieces from Paradoxe Paris countered with muted comfort items from brands such as Fear of God recall the tonal and columnar layering of 90s Helmut Lang.
The Last Tourist
Prepare for a cultural explosion from countries across the globe whose heritage is being reflected in fashion perhaps for the first time. With renewed post-Covid interest in travel comes a cultural sensitivity which results in more authentic storytelling. Brands such as Kardo from New Delhi, Bode from NYC, England’s SS Daly, and Indian-Canadian Norblack Norwhite all occupy this field. The once defunct West African airline Air Afrique has been reclaimed by a Parisian collective committed to reintroducing the world to the airline’s Pan-African philosophy which touched fashion, art and film. A new preppy look reframes those elite, European, typically white pursuits, such as golf, to break the status quo. Denim adorned with souvenir patches are popular while Indian block printing, hole-punched denim, expressive laundering, and hand adornments are other features of this story.
Probably the most commercial of the four stories Ethos highlights the resurgence of authentic holistic garment production that moves towards spirituality and nature in a way that early capitalism and the dawn of the industrial age turned us against. Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard’s decision to give away his company to fight climate change is a recasting of capitalism, the impact of which remains to be seen. But this search for a new equilibrium is reflected in loose and languid practical workwear with themes of durability, peasant styling and humble Americana, lightweight raw denim in sun-faded hues, sand and stone-inspired washes and natural overdyes. Denim is styled with the ease of crumpled jacquards, lived-in dobbies, rustic sheers, hemps and linen blends.