ISKO is a denim supplier based out of Turkey that supplies a whopping 35% of the denim used in premium brands. I was able to chat with ISKO Senior Marketing Executive Kutay (Koo-tye) Saritosun. While talking with Kutay I found myself being blown away (I don't say that lightly) by the level of research the company puts into producing the highest quality denim fabric. Just as a denim designer, a Bluemaster, delves into the fine details of construction when creating a garment, ISKO journeys just as deeply into the textile design and finishing process.
A combination of statistical research, qualitative analysis and trend research have led to a strong Research & Development team. One of the most high profile products to recently come out of R&D is the soft, fleece-like denim used in Diesel's Jogg Jean. The fabric is true woven denim that performs like a knit. Diesel cheekily promotes it with images of ballet dancing and other forms of kinetic movement to highlight the comfort and flexibility. When visiting Diesel's showroom I always find myself fawning over the Jogg Jean because of its super soft hand (see In the Showrooms: Diesel Spring/Summer 2014).
The Jogg Jean is an amazing product, but it is just one of many products using ISKO denim that will hit, or are already on, the retail floor. According to Kutay, innovation is part of ISKO's DNA and every season a new technology is introduced. In the future, expect to see knit-like denim hit the market. It's sure to be used to make more comfortable skinny jeans and may prolong the current sportswear trend. Also, coming down the pipeline are stretch denim products that are softer, more flexible and have greater recovery. With product like this, it's no wonder premium brands want ISKO to become a part of their supply chain.
When you break down ISKO's numbers at retail, roughly 1 out of every 3 pairs of premium jeans are made from ISKO denim. That's a pretty sizeable chunk of the market. Therefore, when the subject of sustainability arose I was curious as to how the company approached it. Kutay explained that ISKO was well aware of the importance of having minimal impact on the environment. One of the initiatives he discussed with me was ISKO's use of pre-consumer recycling. Pre-consumer recycling is the use of discarded cotton and cotton yarns collected throughout the production process. These yarns are spun again into recycled-cotton yarns that are then woven into recycled-cotton fabrics.
As consumers we aren't always aware or frankly even care about where our favorite brands source their denim, but ISKO is gearing up to change all of that. In an effort to gain more consumer awareness, the company is co-branding with some of their partners. For example, Inside of the Jogg Jean you can see ISKO's logo sharing space with Diesel's brand name. At first that may seem odd, but then consider the Gore-tex model. Gore-tex is the name of a company that produces waterproof fabric technology. However they have branded themselves in such a way that many of us don't realize that it is not a clothing line, but instead a supplier of this special fabric. We often speak of our Gore-tex jackets or Gore-tex boots without even thinking of the actual brand name. Those of us that do know the difference equate the Gore-tex logo with high quality waterproof garments and accessories. This strong brand association has led many of Gore-tex partners to co-brand with them and leverage that association. Now imagine always seeing ISKOs logo inside of most of your favorite premium jeans.
Could it be that one day we will be shopping at 7 For All Mankind or J Brand and asking for the ISKO denim? I think yes.