Gen Z Designs Stretch Denim for Gen Z Based on Fibers by LYCRA


In partnership with The LYCRA Company, students from House of Denim’s Jean School were tasked with creating stretch denim jeans that encompass and reflect the core values of Gen Z, which includes sustainability and biodiversity, gender freedom, body positivity and making decisions based in those values.

In an effort to push the denim industry forward and further into sustainability, 30 design students have created a new denim collection that offers a glimpse into the future of the denim industry through the eyes of Gen Z.

The 14-piece collection, entitled Stretch Yourself, was produced by students from House of Denim’s Jean School in Amsterdam in partnership with The LYCRA Company and displays the future of stretch denim through pieces created by Gen Z for Gen Z. The products use fabrics from seven denim mills around the world: Advance Denim from China; Bossa Denim, Calik Denim and DNM Denim from Egypt; Soorty Enterprises from Pakistan; and Naveena Denim Mills and Orta from Turkey based on fiber innovations by The LYCRA Company. The collection was showcased at the recent Kingpins show in Amsterdam and allowed those in the denim industry to get a look at what’s in store.

A global fiber producer, The LYCRA Company has been working with Kingpins since the show first broke into the denim world. Kingpins Amsterdam has traditionally held a space for the Amsterdam-based Jean School to showcase works and pieces created by students. The new show venue, SugarCity, afforded a larger space for the students to truly display their pieces in the collection. Attendees were impressed with the craftsmanship and creativity shown by the students.

“They [the Jean School] have a really technical course that lasts three years where students learn how to make jeans in a really technical way and then they populate the industry going forward,” said Helen Latham, senior strategic accounts manager at The LYCRA Company. “The reason why we collaborated with them this year is that we’ve noticed Gen Z is really reacting against the skinny-jean trend. Obviously Millennials wear skinny jeans, so Gen Z wants to be completely different from that, and every generation tends to show its personality through its jeans.”

Latham said the students were briefed on the properties and functionalities of LYCRA fibers and innovations and then were given free rein to design what they felt really reflected the core values of their generation, which include sustainability and biodiversity, gender freedom, body positivity and making decisions based in those values.

“They are the future, thank goodness, so listen to them and make sure what we’re producing as an industry reflects these new, more positive values. Sustainability has been front and center in the denim industry for a good few years now,” said Latham. “I think the denim industry is one of the most polluting industries in the textile industry, but it has also spearheaded the reversal of that. So in terms of all of the garment categories, I think the denim industry is the industry that’s really focusing on sustainability, and that’s really a value for Gen Z.”

The LYCRA Company continues to create innovations in the textile industry and displayed two such innovations at Kingpins that aim to help the denim industry continue to create high-performance stretch denim in a sustainable way.

“We were proposing two new innovations at Kingpins. One is a completely new fiber that we’ve called LYCRA ADAPTIV, and it’s a new fiber we’ll be putting into denim. It has a softer, longer and easier stretch to it while maintaining good recovery. It allows for these really body-positive fabrics to be made—really high-stretch denims that have a really soft and easy fit so you’re not being sculpted or forced into a shape that’s uncomfortable for you,” Latham said.

“For the looser body fits we’ve launched something called LYCRA DUAL COMFORT, which uses our LYCRA T400 yarn to create a stretch denim that has no elastane in it. So it has our LYCRA T400 yarn, which is a sort of stretchy polyester, and it creates a very matte, cotton-like aesthetic but with no elastane at all so you can mechanically recycle that garment and get the polyester back out and the cotton as well.”

All the fabrics used in the Stretch Yourself collection are available at Denim City in Amsterdam for design and sample purposes. The Stretch Yourself collection will also be on display through June.

Photos by @sirconrads.