Thomas Dislich

With more than 40 years in the market, Vicunha is one of the largest textile manufacturers in the world and a leader in various segments. Thomas Dislich, managing director, Vicunha Textil for Europe and Asia, converses about the trends dominating the denim sector.

What is the global demand for denim fabrics?

We see the demand for denim evolving. It is a strong fashion item everywhere. The problem is an excess in production capacities installed around the world. Unfortunately too many newcomers with basic products keep the market oversupplied.

Which are your major markets in Europe and Asia?

We have been very well established in Europe for many years, with active sales channels from Portugal to Poland and from Turkey to Sweden. As Asia responds for most of the jeans imports to Europe, we are naturally also active in Asia. We cover the market well by “pushing” in Asia and “pulling” in Europe.

What is the annual meterage produced at Vicunha?

In 2016, our five factories, three in Brazil and one each in Ecuador and Argentina, have produced about 200 million meters.

What is the USP* of denims made at Vicunha?

We are a world leader in sustainability and ethical trading with global knowledge of the denim market.

*USP – Thomas Dislich explains: “Our USP at Vicunha is that we make sustainable fashion which we can offer with speed to market due to our Worldwide distribution and warehousing facilities, we are Worldwide and have a unique overall perspective of the denim market.”

What will be the major trends in denims in terms of wash, color, shape, and fabrics for S/S 2018?
In a lot of ways, this season is a rule breaker. There will be unexpected combinations of color, pattern and exaggerated proportions. Shapes are larger and bolder, lightness and fluidity are important as shapes seem spontaneous and quite abstract. On the other hand, there will also be a lot of rigid color blocking and hard lines. What we will see is unexpected combinations of wash color and shape, which at times appear quite random. New blues will bring a brightness and lightness to the palette; marbling and cloud-wash effects with reference to the ’80s are amongst this new breaking of rules.

What blends are popular in denim?

In both ladies and menswear we have seen a huge amount of business in stretch denims. As the consumer calls for comfort, those with the greatest stretch and recovery have led the way. In womenswear, there is definite interest in fabrics with drape and fluidity. This has led to interest in fabrics containing tencel, lyocell or viscose. This feeds into the luxe leisure theme. For menswear in particular, denims that bridge the gap between jogging pants and jeans have done exceptionally well. Rigid, heavier weights with raised twill weaves and surface character have recently become popular, but even in the heavier rigids, those with more softness and drape are preferred particularly for womenswear.

Where do you see denim in 5 years? Will we go back to the roots of rigid denim, or will athleisurewear still be the number one?

I think there are 3 categories of wearers so there will not be no one specific answer to where will denim be in 5 years. I believe there will be more choice and diversity for the end consumer, I hope they will make more educated responsible choices with respect to sustainability.

  • The purist, those that appreciate and value the craftsmanship, authenticity and vintage aspects of denim.
  • The young fashionista, currently wearing open end rigid because fashion dictates this is the look regardless of comfort, fashion takes priority over quality.
  • The loyalist denim wearer who has worn rigid, now really appreciates the comfort of stretch and prioritizes performance and quality and will pay for performance enhancing technology.

Our lifestyle will ultimately dictate how we wear denim and the blurred lines between smart casual and sportswear look to merge further as different yarn mixes and performance technology are accommodated into Denim.

Already we have temperature control denim, denim that keeps the perspiration away from the skin and multi direction stretch denim allowing freedom of movement .

Do you think strong prints will make a come-back anytime soon?

Prints will come and go but with post consumer recycling and more emphasis on buying pieces to last we need to make responsible choices.