Cone Denim’s S Gene Stretch Takes A Bite Out of Athleisure

Cone Denim and S Gene superior stretch denim fabrics recently found themselves in the spotlight of a feature on Marketplace Radio, whose portfolio of programs are produced and distributed by American Public Media, one of the largest producers and distributors of public radio programming in the world. Marketplace team correspondent Andy Uhler recently caught up with Cone Denim’s VP of New Product Design and Marketing to learn why comfort is key-

Listen to the full story here.

If you walk into a blue jean manufacturing factory, among the piles of indigo fabric and spools of thread, you’ll find a material that’s a little different. There’s a good chance a lot of that material comes from one of the oldest denim mills in the country — Cone Denim. Kara Nicholas, vice president of product design and marketing, said they’ve been noticing a trend for some time.

Ten years ago, Cone Denim noticed that more women were wearing leggings, so the company invested millions in developing fabrics that would help jean makers compete.

“The way that that’s addressed is: let’s increase the amount of stretch,” she explained. “The technology in the stretch yarn advances for denim fabric and we increase the amount of stretch we put into the jean.

The new denim fabric is a combination of spandex, polyester and cotton that gives stretch while maintaining its shape. It’s been popular. Big manufacturers like Levi’s and Old Navy along with smaller designer brands have picked it up and incorporated it into both women’s and men’s jeans.

After taking a dip for a couple of years in a row, jean sales are expected to rise more than two percent in 2017. Many fashion and retail analysts credit the advanced denim fabric technology. Nicholas isn’t worried about the future of the denim jean business.

“They’re not going anywhere,” Nicholas said confidently. “They’re just going to continue to evolve and keep up with the trends.”