Feb 15, 2017 | By Samuel Trotman
Get more Denim insights as a WGSN subscriber
We’re spending a bit of time over in LA, soaking up the denim events and atmosphere over the next few weeks. Last Thursday night we attended a fascinating event held over in the up-and-coming Downtown district of LA. It was held by our buddies over at Denim Refinery, the company who has been taking the re-made denim trend to the next level over the last few months.
Denim Refinery differs slightly from more traditional D.I.Y. inspired, up-cycled denim brands such as Bitching & Junkfood or Runway Dreamz. The idea was started by Janet Sung, whose family has worked in the denim industry for over 30 years. They own a premium laundry in the Longbeach area and have all the latest technology, including state of the art laser machines. It was Janet’s foresight to realize that a laundry doesn’t just have to be used to launder new product for the industry, it can also help to “refine” and give new life to old denim items too.
So Sung used her knowledge from the wash house and started updating vintage pieces using foil coatings, dip dyes, allover prints, and laser-burnt surfaces to create a very modern product for today’s denim customer, as you can see below. What was once a service reserved only for manufacturers, has been made available to anyone. Customers can send in a vintage or outdated piece from their wardrobe and Sung’s team of laundry experts will give it a makeover. They even held a competition recently where fans could take photos on Instagram of patterns they loved and the winner’s print was used to re-work their denim garment.
This concept not only takes the re-made trend to a more sophisticated level, but it also deals with the pressing issue of over-production, wastefulness and environmental factors that make manufacturing denim one of the most damaging processes in the apparel industry.
Janet has not stopped there, as well as the denim side of the business, she has also seen the need for “refined vintage” in the marketplace. So many people love the idea of a vintage garment but hate the process of “thrifting” or of course, the smell and feel of a piece that has belonged to a previous owner. Using the resources they have available, the carefully selected vintage items are laundered and silicone treated to make them soft and fragrant!
We shared some drinks over at the new Denim Refinery studio and geeked out about vintage, while sifting through Janet’s extensive collection of vintage pin badges and patches. It’s refreshing seeing someone do something new with the re-made concept and we look forward to hearing more about the brand over the coming months. If you live in LA or are planning a trip to the city, it’s worth a visit!
The new studio and store is located at The Collection Building, 527 W. 7th St., suite 808, Downtown Los Angeles
Know what’s next. Become a WGSN member today to benefit from our daily trend intelligence, retail analytics, consumer insights and bespoke consultancy services.