A VISION IN DENIM by HIBA BASREE

March 28, 2022

"Denim has always been an everyday symbol for style," says Ritu Kumar

If you are ever confused flustered or perplexed about what to wear to the office or for a site visit, denim is always a safe choice. It's been 148 years since the creation of denim and it's truly fascinating to see how this iconic fabric evolved throughout time.

Let's rewind to May 20, 1873, this date is marked as the birthday of the blue jean. This is the day that Jacob Davis and Levi Strauss patented denim jeans as work pants for men. Jacob Davis, a tailor, purchased the fabric from Levi Strauss, owner of a wholesale fabric house in San Francisco, and coming together in their partnership made the first pair of jeans for a factory worker. Later then, jeans had become a standard issue for all war workers during the First World War.

These denim jeans subsequently translated into casual leisurewear, as Hollywood began romanticizing it as a cowboy outfit in the 1920s and 1930s. Female  Actresses started wearing it shortly after too, making transforming it into a stylish unisex fabric which resulted in Denim revolutionizing the fashion industry. In the 1950s, jeans became known as the fabric for the rebellious youth, symbolizing protest movements or/and freedom. Funnily enough, this denim hype even resulted in high schools banning the fabric in the 1960s, which only helped make the fabric the epitome of cool & style. even cooler than before. However, being a millennial myself, the earliest distinct memory of denim had to be when Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake wore denim head to toe on the red carpet for AMA in 2001.

We can all agree now that denim has become timeless, a way of life. A way of life that has etched its way into society for decades, even though the perspective of visualizing it differed from time to time. So today, which perspective do you envision this fabric? As an interior designer, it is interesting to witness denim snowballing its way from fashion to interiors.

Now, denim has become a sustainable alternative to interior products. For instance, Ultra Touch, a product of Bonded Logic, Inc, is acoustical insulation made from recycled natural fibers of denim and cotton. It is a superior alternative to fiberglass insulation as it is an anti-fungal agent which does not irritate the skin and is flame retardant as well. Denim has a multi-dimensional micro-structure with acoustic ratings that are 10-30% better as opposed to fiberglass. It is also LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified.

Another noteworthy mention is Bahia Denim, a material project of Sophie Rowley. It is upcycled denim waste that is molded and provides a marble-like appearance to surfaces. The waste comes from the production textile offcuts of the fashion industry. These textile offcuts are layered on top of each other and are bonded by resin, then carved into shapes and 3D form or produced into flat sheets to make playful furniture pieces. It can be flat sheets or can be carved into 3D form. "The idea of starting with something very worthless and making it into something aesthetic has always been appealing to me," says Rowley. Every piece is unique in its variation as it varies in color, size, shade, and texture. The product is extremely lightweight and durable and can be used diversely such as through automotive interiors, furniture, tabletops, and wall paneling. Personally speaking, "best out of waste" at its finest!

Equally unique, Denimx is a company founded by Marc Meijers, an industrial designer, to repurpose textile waste. He derived a sustainable and reusable composite material through the combination of shredded textile fibers with 100% bio-based plastic. Remarkably, this recycled jean composite can be a partially or fully finished product that is scratch-resistant and UV resistant and whilst maintaining its authentic denim look and feel. The product can be customized according to the aesthetics and technical requirements of the project and can even have logos and prints on the finished products. The application of the product is mainly for furniture, lighting, accessories, and the automotive industry and is available in different shades, textures, and finishes.

In 2013, a brand name, Naked & Famous had launched exclusive color-changing jeans. These were made with thermochromic dyes. The molecule in the dyes would react to the body's various temperatures heat and change colors accordingly from blue to white. Similarly, the Thermochromic denim, which is used/sourced in the products of Sommers Plastic Products Co. Inc. in the form of wall coverings, upholstery, and fashion. When there are variations in temperature of this flexible thermoplastic sheet, it changes color.

Most intriguing of all, Ian Berry collaborated with Tonello to create this stunning/unique Secret Garden Installation in the Museum Rijswijk of Denmark. The idea was to create a sustainable, immersive textile experience within the interiors of the museum, made from recycled jeans. The laser-cut and hand-crafted flowers and vines aim to mimic the garden outside the museum and innovatively hang from the ceiling for visitors to explore.

 

Overall, the lovable factor of denim is its versatility and power to surprise. It is always trending. Denim cannot only be in your wardrobe; it can be your wardrobe!

+ More Blogs
April 21, 2022

Carla Conte shares her insights at Commercial Interior Design Power Panels

Read More...
April 20, 2022

Brand Creative Wins Best Retail Design of the Year for IZIL at the Design Middle East Awards 2021

Read More...
April 20, 2022

Brand Creative Wins Highly Commended for IZIL at the Commercial Interior Design Awards 2021

Read More...
April 20, 2022

Brand Creative Wins Best Retail Design of the Year for Ixora at the INDEX Design Awards 2021

Read More...
March 28, 2022

A VISION IN DENIM by HIBA BASREE

Read More...
June 08, 2021

Brand Creative's Founder & Creative Director Carla Conte Speaks at the Index Design Talks Dubai 2021

Read More...