Israfil Alam Rana, Assistant Manager (R&D)
Sister Denim Composite Limited – Thermax Group
The history of Denim begins in the mid-19th century. Nîmes in France, where the fabric itself was created, so-called “Serge de Nîmes” which led to the name “denim”. Genoa in Italy, where the color comes from, called in French “Bleu de Gênes” which led to the expression “blue jeans”. The fabric and color come together to become the jeans, denim. But the question is in 21st century what denim is now? Let’s have a look.
In the 1800s, in the time of the Gold Rush, American gold miners needed clothes that were strong, lasted longer and did not tear easily. Denim was first used for clothes worn by workers because of its high durability. Then it became widely popular in the 1930s when Hollywood started making cowboy movies in which actors wore jeans.
Basic denim is a type of cotton twill textile, in which the weft passes under two or more warp threads. Warp threads are dyed in indigo while weft threads remain plain white. That is why denim is blue on the one side and white on the other. But the time changes a lot to denim. It’s not a work loader wearing now. It’s everywhere, from Sahara desert to Greece. It’s crossed from counterculture to fashion in the 1960s and 1970s when manufacturers started to make different styles of jeans.
In the beginning cotton was the only material that used both warp and weft. Now different compositions using in both way to meet global requirement. Beside 100% cotton lots of modification did instead of cotton such as 100%tencel, modal, T400, viscose, cotton blending and mixing. Day by day cotton itself also changed like Open End, SIRO, combed yarn, slub, multi slub effects, mix counts, PC, ring ply yarn, reverse twist etc. But the significant change happened in weft material and still happening. Most diversified denim creates from changing weft material like Cotton with elastane, poly cotton elastane, spun polyester, viscose, crimped nylon, tencel, modal, viscose, linen, rayon, textured filament yarn, loop yarns, corkscrew yarns, rope yarn etc.
As structural arrangements twill weave is still like a king for denim for its better durability and long lasting use. But now there are different twill structures, dobby, jacquard, fake knit weave using in denim revaluations. Remaining warp indigo dyeing many weave patterns like twill direction, satin, chambray, zigzag, herringbone, double cloth weave, cord, matt, box twill, elongated twill etc. Not only woven structures, indigo dyed yarns using in knitting for making Polo shirt, T-shirt, Trousers etc.
Original denim was dyed with indigo dye from plant Indigofera tinctoria. Modern denim is dyed with synthetic indigo. Denim dyed with indigo dried many times over to get a stronger color that will not fade quickly. Advanced denim is based on the substitution of the indigo dye state of the art sulfur dyes, which are very versatile and allow obtaining a great variety of shades. It can be also combined with each other. Different sulfur and vat dyes are invented which give nice fade effects like indigo tone after wash.
In modern denim finishing lots of application arrives basically known as mechanical and chemical finish. As mechanical part heavy singeing, raising, calendering, sanforizing, stentering etc. are mostly used and over dyeing, printing, coating, mercerizing, silicon treatment etc. are known as chemical finish. There are lots of diversified process added in coating and printing like foam coating, air coating, spray coating, hot melt coating, roller coating, screen print, transfer print, digital print, 3D print, Laser print etc. As per demand of wearing, hand feeling and fashion trend finishers trying their best in denim surface. Chemical manufacturing companies inventing more eco-friendly chemicals day by day to keep green environment.
Denim is now a universal wear. You can tear it, you can re-use it, but it’s really pathetic to leave a jeans now. It’s a part of life. So wear it. Change it.