Silk denim, developed in India by CSTRI seems to have a lot of potential. With the market of denim in India growing by leaps and bounds, denim silk will give that niche in the minds of customer that can make a company profitable.
There are however lots of challenges that denim jeans made of silk will face in the market. First there is a problem/question of its production viability. Then there will be a question of its wearing performace.
Then of course care of this fabric will be a major challange. Even if this is overcome, cost will be a deciding factor in this recession hit economy. And of course, there will be always a challenge to fight from the spurious fabrics.
Lets talk about parameters. The warp in silk is made from 20/22 denier 6 and 12 ply organzine twisted(Organzine is a thread made by giving the raw-silk thread a preliminary twist in one direction and then twisting many of these threads together in the opposite direction at the rate of about 4 turns/cm ) mulberry silk fiber or eri silk of 2/60s, 2/80s and 2/120s is used. In weft 6 and 12 ply tram twisted (Tram is made by twisting in only one direction two or more raw-silk threads, with 8 to 12 turns/cm). Mulberry silk and eri silk of 2/60s, 2/80s and 2/12s greige yarn is used. All this is OK, the only concern is the avaliability of these fibers. It is then made on rapier looms with 44" width and 3/1 twill weighing 100-300 gsm. The only questions are the production challenges while handling such delicate fibers.
Functionally, twill weaves in silk are prone to slippage of yarn, particulary if two different fibers are used in warp and weft.which might affect the tear strength and seam slippage.
Also the faded look of denim comes from Indigo dye, which is a vat dye, and which is faded differentially as the denim is washed. In Silk Denim, Indigo colored acid dyes are used, which dont fade at all. This will maintain the consistency of shade for years, but surely will take away the joy of fading that is obtained with cotton denim.
Then of course there are issues for the care and maintainenace of these fabrics. These must be dry cleaned and taken care of properly. Also eri silk denim will behave like wool and more suitable in winter.
The biggest issue of all is the cost. Due to limited supply, the quality silk denim would be much much costlier than the normal indigo cotton denim.
Thus all the discussion above will point out to the a very specific market for silk denims. Target audience would be upper class young females in the age group of 25-40. It would be better if the bottoms were to sold with the matching printed or plain silk tops. It would be further beneficial for a marketer if the word 'denim' is taken out of this fabric, as customer will erroneously compare the properties of indigo denim with this fabric. Some surface emballishments can be done like printing or embroidery on these garments.
And then have a look at this.