ICYMI: Denim has always been revolutionary

“Then Covid-19 hit.

Consumers stopped having any need for fashionable clothing. Retailers scrambled to cancel and return orders… Designers were unable to cover basic expenses like rent and payroll, let alone upcoming collections. Suddenly an industry that was already on the brink ground to a complete halt.” – That article in The New York Times Magazine that everyone is talking about

How did the week treat you? We had a pretty good one… all things considered.

Since the future is so tenuous, we’ve spent the week thinking about the past, going through our photo and video archives, reminiscing about our denim community. We posted a gallery of monochromatic street style from our Kingpins New York shows on our site. Take a peek, if you’re into that sort of thing.

Plus, Levi’s and Re:newcell have collaborated on what they’re calling the “most sustainable jeans” using a new fiber called Circulose. Re:newcell has joined several of our events and they are an inspiration. Learn more here.

But enough about us. Here’s some of the denim news that caught our eye this week:Wishing you a lovely, safe and socially-distanced weekend.

-The Kingpins Team

The British designer paying tribute to the immigrant experience

In June, Denim Dudes’ Amy Leverton wrote about designer Priya Ahulwalia’s modern approach to menswear for our website. This week she was profiled by the New York Times as part of a series of articles about creative women.

For Ahulwalia, politics and social justice are guiding forces in design. Some of her designs are inspired by the elevated “snappy” garments immigrants wore to show racists they were “acceptable.” Her brand’s commitment to deadstock and reworked fabrics is another decision guided by a sense of responsibility.

She told the Times: “If I’m going to add more clothes to the world, I can use materials that already exist,” she says of her work, which she makes with the help of a core team of about three people. “Everyone knows it’s the right thing to do, so why am I being asked why I do it, rather than other brands being asked why they don’t do it?”
Read More: The British designer paying tribute to the immigrant experience

Denim’s roots in black activism

Important stuff, folks. The Zoe Report is the latest to tackle the topic of denim’s role in revolution and the struggle for civil rights. 

From the article: “Denim represented an ode to the African American experience,” says Darnell-Jamal Lisby, a fashion historian and curator. In fact, when you chart how denim transitioned from its early workwear incarnation to wardrobe essential, you will find that it intertwines seamlessly with the Black experience. And, moreover, it was Black activism that helped make the concept of the everyday jean mainstream.

“Denim served not only as a rebellious uniform to the culture of the middle class activists, but also as a soul tie to the Black laborers,” offers Miko Underwood, sustainable denim designer, historian, and founder of Oak & Acorn. “The significance of the SNCC denim uniform or ‘SNCC skin’ served to connect with and advocate for the Southern Black sharecroppers. In adopting the clothing of Black laborers, instead of the attire worn by the Black middle class, SNCC was consciously reevaluating the politics of respectability.”

Read More: The History Of Denim & Black Activism: America’s Uncredited Fashion Revolution

Fashion week, but make it digital (and virtual)

It seems like everyone, everything, everywhere is going digital. Which for a lot of us feels like we’re getting less of an experience, less access, less connection. 

But for Helsinki Fashion Week, going digital wasn’t enough. They dipped into virtual reality.

“Fashion brands tried just streaming a runway show, and it didn’t work. So now they’re faced with these new ways of using technology to appeal to the customer,” Robert Burke, founder and CEO of retail and fashion consultancy Robert Burke Associates, told Vogue Business. 

Click through to see some of the ways designers are fusing fashion and virtual reality. 
Read More: What an inspiring digital fashion week looks like
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