Denim Première Vision innovates in Milan
Following its stop in London last December, Denim Première Vision has set down its suitcases in Milan this season. From 28th to 29th May, the denim trade show has taken up residence in the South of the city, in the bright and airy halls of Via Tortona's Superstudio Più, where it is spotlighting environmentally responsible denim and new innovations in the sector with a well received installation.
Upon arrival, visitors are plunged into unexpected surroundings that put one more in mind of an artistic performance than a conventional trade show. The space is dominated by four giant screens displaying images from an inspirational film shot by the trade show's fashion team. Further in, attendees find themselves immersed in darkness, brightened here and there by glowing blue and green lights.
Here the space is delimited by striped blue plastic sheets hung at different levels, behind which visitors can just about make out clothes, barely illuminated by a halo of light. In places, screens broadcast lists of numbers and other obscure signs to create a futuristic digital ambience.
The idea is to offer attendees a 360 degree experience, presenting the sector's Autumn/Winter 2020-21 trends through a concept dubbed "A20W21 Laboratory". This includes the film that welcomes visitors, a cycle of three seminars and the installation space, conceived by scenographer and director Filippo Maria of London's FLMRS studio and Italian designer Kristian Guerra, co-founder of conceptual brand and creative platform Ice Surface Temperature with his sister Laura.
Guerra has put together a "Smart collection selection", made up of a dozen denim designs highlighting the latest innovations in technology and sustainable development. Indeed, all of the pieces were made by a selection of companies participating in the trade show who work in everything from textiles to accessories and have all been certified for their sustainable methods. The pieces were manufactured in collaboration with FashionArt producer and denim wash specialist Tonello. "It's a very immersive installation. The idea is to show that nowadays we can't separate fashion from sustainable development," commented Première Vision Fashion Director Pascaline Wilhelm.
"In terms of sustainability, denim was one of the first sectors to understand that we could make a difference and that we had to invest in initiatives heading in this direction. It's a question of perspective and we wanted to highlight this approach during our stop in Milan. The darkness of the space is intentional. It encourages people to come and touch the clothes and see them up close," explained Première Vision International Exhibitions Director Guglielmo Olearo to FashionNetwork.com.
Guerra's creations, which include pieces featuring different-textured denim achieved through embossing or the use of rubber, and effects ranging from lacquered to waxed, as well as digital prints, laser finishing and unexpected colours, illustrate the full range of possibilities currently available for jeans and spotlight three major trends for Autumn/Winter 2020-21.
The first of these is the "human connection," which "puts people at the heart of research in order to create strong momentum and shake up the world of denim generously, gently and nimbly." The second focuses on "digital imperfection," where "technology is put to work on rough-looking, characterful designs to create hybrid, augmented denim." The last of the trends concerns "augmented perception," or "the use of connectivity between the digital and the physical to develop blended, high-performance products."
"It's a very creative and interesting installation," was the enthusiastic appraisal given by Cem Güner, whose Turkish denim mill company, Tüsa Group, regularly participates in Première Vision trade shows. "In Milan, the space is a lot bigger than in London. There's a nice atmosphere and we've seen quite a lot of people, even if the quality of visitor is higher in Paris," he added.
Aside from its immersive installation, this Milanese edition of Denim Première Vision has also attracted attendees with a number of conferences and workshops, such as the session led by denim pattern maker Alessio Berto, who has previously worked with Jean Paul Gaultier, Katharine Hamnett and Chanel, among others, or the workshop dedicated to dyeing given by natural dye expert Alessandro Maria Butto. Another new addition is the launch of a dedicated denim section on the B2B e-commerce marketplace set up by Première Vision last September, which will now include denim mills exhibiting at the specialist trade show.
"After London, Milan was a natural choice. We became a travelling show in order to get closer to the market's different players by showing them that denim is an extremely versatile product. Italy is home to a number of companies operating in this sector and we've seen a good level of participation from local businesses. It's also one of the fashion capitals, where many designers have reinterpreted denim," explained Olearo.
Judging by the Milanese trade show's attendance, which rose 27% to 93 exhibitors, compared to 73 in London in May 2018, the organisers have made a winning bet. As pointed out by Michele Cappio, head of Italian mill Cappio Tessuti, "we were among the first companies to frequent Denim Première Vision, first in Paris and then in Barcelona. Then we stopped going. We came back this season because the trade show is in Milan. The location is beautiful and there's lots of activity."
In six months, the show will return to London but will be moving to a new venue: Printworks, a multi-use space in the East End's former Docklands. "It's a marvellous space which has lots of surprises in store," promised Olearo.
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