"Not all that's indigo dyed is necessarily denim, even though it may have a characteristically denim-like colour," says Spainish producer Tejidos Royo. Its collection for summer 2003 centres around double dyed indigo tinted fabrics in linen blended with manmade fibres.

"What we are aiming for particularly is fabric which will retain its fresh look and 'as-new' colour even after frequent laundering," the company comments.

Denim specialists are also heavily into more complex dyeing techniques as well as the more widespread use of stretch yarns. Typical of this approach is the latest Textil Santanderina collection, which offers both pigment and over dyed denims.

By Sonia Roberts.