Fashion

15 sustainability efforts of the denim industry in 2019


When it comes to garment manufacturing, the denim industry is the one
putting the most strain on the environment due to the washes, dyes and
chemicals used and the overall water consumption needed to make just one
pair of jeans (currently around 2,000 gallons or 7,600 liters of water).
All the more heartening to see that the industry is taking serious efforts
to reduce its footprint through sustainable lines and products, more
efficient manufacturing processes and techniques that reduce water
consumption. FashionUnited has put together 13 such efforts for 2019.

15 sustainability efforts of the denim industry in 2019
Photo: Fast Retailing

Sustainable products

15 sustainability efforts of the denim industry in 2019
Photo: courtesy of Denham and Candiani

In November, Dutch jeanmaker Denham announced a partnership with
Candiani, leaders in responsible denim production, to launch the world’s
first biodegradable, stretch denim created using plant-based yarns as
consumers demand blue jeans to be greener. The new stretch fabric denim is
made from organic cotton wrapped around a natural rubber core and is free
from plastics and microplastics. By replacing the common synthetic and
petrol-based elastomers with a new, custom-engineered component, Candiani
has created an innovative biodegradable stretch denim fabric, “without
compromising elasticity and recovery properties”.

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15 sustainability efforts of the denim industry in 2019
Photo:Levi’s Off the Cuff blog

In May, American clothing company Levi’s announced a new feature on its
website that allows shoppers to customise their own pair of “greener” jeans
using laser finishing technology. The feature enables online shoppers to
design their own products from a pair of plain blue jeans – or a “blank
canvas” – as a starting point. Shoppers can then choose the colour, overdye
and levels of wear and tear on the jeans. The new feature was made
available online for US customers in autumn of 2019. The company announced
in July that it has partnered with the International Finance Corporation
(IFC) on a 2.3 million US dollar cooperation agreement to meet corporate
objectives regarding reducing greenhouse gas emissions and water usage,
specifically a 90 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, 100
percent use of renewable energy throughout its facilities and reducing
greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent throughout its global supply chain
by 2025.

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Sustainable denim lines

American jeans brand Wrangler has launched The Rooted Collection in July
2019, a premium menswear line using 100 percent sustainable cotton. The
line uses “farm to fabric” cotton, meaning that each state’s design was
grown, milled, cut, and sewn in the U.S. and feature a unique wash, cut,
and embellishment. The family farms used in the collection provide best
practices for soil health, reduced water and energy inputs, as well as
lower greenhouse gas
emissions.

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15 sustainability efforts of the denim industry in 2019
Photo: Liu Jo

Italian denim label Liu Jo has taken its first step on the
sustainability road with the brand’s Better Denim collection, which was
introduced in January 2019. Like many other fashion brands, Liu Jo is
exploring the best ways to make its operations more sustainable in the
years to come. FashionUnited has spoken to CEO Marco Marchi about the new
collection and the next steps.

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American clothing brand and retailer Guess’s Guess Eco collection is a
part of the brand’s goal to develop its denim from a more environmentally
friendly production output. The collection, which includes clothing for
both men and women, is made up of sustainably-sourced materials. The Guess
Eco collection has been available online at Guess’s website as well as the
company’s retail locations from September
2019.

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American online shoe and clothing retailer Zappos has joined the
recycled denim bandwagon. The retailer’s community outreach program, Zappos
for Good, has partnered with Cotton Inc. on the latter’s Blue Jeans Go
Green program to help consumers recycle denim. The program offers a free
shipping label downloaded from the Zappos website, to send a box of denim
weighing no more than 50 pounds to the
company.

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Manufacturing

15 sustainability efforts of the denim industry in 2019
Photo: Tommy Hilfiger

American heritage brand Tommy Hilfiger announced its plans for a new
line of 100 percent sustainable denim in January 2019. The Tommy Hilfiger
denim centre where the brand is pushing its sustainable denim initiative is
located at the PVH HQ in Houthavens, Amsterdam. The centre is split into
four sections: The denim fabric library, the in-house denim atelier, the
denim lab and the denim
academy.

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15 sustainability efforts of the denim industry in 2019
Photo: Fast Retailing

Fast Retailing, the company behind fashion brands such as Uniqlo, J
Brand, Theory and more, hosted a global media event to unveil its Jeans
Innovation Center (JIC) in July 2019. The JIC includes four stations that
will reduce water waste, time and manual labour: the Laser Engraving
System, the Nano-Bubble, the Ozone Washing and the Water Recycling System.
The JIC is slated to create over 18 million pairs of jeans for the
Fall/Winter 2019 season, thus reducing water consumption by at least 90
percent compared to traditional
methods.

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15 sustainability efforts of the denim industry in 2019
Photo: Saitex

Saitex, the Vietnam-based sustainable denim manufacturer responsible for
the production of denim lines for 18 brands including Everlane, G-Star Raw,
Polo Ralph Lauren and Target, has been described as the “world’s cleanest
denim factory”. Saitex aims to resolve costs of US-produced denim through
creating an automated process in its upcoming American plants. The company
is also the only apparel manufacturer in Asia to join the list of 2,500 B
Corp-certified companies around the world, of which only 95 operate in the
fashion
sector.

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Water Consumption

American heritage denim brand Levi Strauss & Co. launched a new water
action strategy in August 2019. The company hopes to focus its reduction
efforts where they are most needed and increase access to clean drinking
water for communities in its sourcing locations. The company has set a goal
to reduce its cumulative water use for manufacturing by 50 percent in
water-stressed areas by
2025.

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15 sustainability efforts of the denim industry in 2019
Photo:Wrangler Icons Indigood
AW19

American denim company Wrangler has launched the first denim collection
using its new Indigood foam-dyeing technology in June 2019, which
eliminates almost 100 percent of the water typically used in the process.
The technology uses foam to transfer dye onto yarns, therefore entirely
replacing the water vats and chemical baths that are needed in the
conventional indigo-dyeing process.

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Spanish fashion company Mango has introduced new techniques in the
production of its SS19 season jeans that have cut down water consumption by
up to 10 litres per garment. The consumption of water, energy and
chemicals has been reduced through the introduction of the ECOWASH
technology. Mango also announced the launch of its Committed 2019
collection in May.

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15 sustainability efforts of the denim industry in 2019
Photo: Gap Inc.

American premium clothing and accessories company Banana Republic has
partnered with Spanish denim mill Tejidos Royo to bring to market a line of
denim through an innovative indigo foam-dyeing technique that allows the
Gap Inc.-owned brand to use a drastically decreased amount of water.
Tejidos Royo calls its process Dry Indigo.

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15 sustainability efforts of the denim industry in 2019
Photo: Vicunha

Brazilian denim specialist Vicunha together with Ecoera, H2O-Company and
Initiativa Verde, has introduced a pioneering project to measure water
consumption – from cotton cultivation to the end consumer. In July 2019,
Vicunha announced that it wants to define new targets for reducing water
consumption and compensation through socio-ecological projects such as soil
recovery, water protection, carbon stocks and the formation of habitat
corridors for biodiversity throughout the entire jeanswear production
chain.

Read more…

Photo: Wrangler



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