The circular economy is one of many eco-conscious innovations that are emerging. Fashion industry has a long history of linear production that ends in garments being thrown away. Many changes have taken place over the years to provide a more sustainable and ethical approach for a product’s lifespan.
According to the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNSEA), it takes 3,781 litres water to make a pair of jeans. Circular denim is necessary in order to develop a more responsible industry. A circular production aims to reduce the use of denim and be more mindful of the materials used. This allows products to be reused and recycled throughout their entire lifecycle. Indeed, the manufacturing process is still mostly based on a ‘design-sell-wear-dispose’ system.
Circular denim is a new way to make jeans and other pieces of denim, but it must be started from the beginning. Mud Jeans understands the challenges: their design process is circular, and uses materials that can be repurposed or recycled. However, eco-consciousness is not limited to the manufacturing process and fabrics. But buttons, tags, and pocket linings are also important.
Guidelines for Jeans Redesign
The Ellen McArthur Foundation released guidelines called The Jeans Redesign Guidelines to help brands make informed decisions. These guidelines include requirements for garment durability, traceability, and material health. Numerous brands have signed up for the program, including Reformation, Tommy Hilfiger and C&A.
A wide range of brands, from high-end designers to fast fashion labels, are shifting towards circular denim. NU-IN, Unspun, and Frame all support conscious production.
Nudie, a Swedish brand that encourages consumers to return old denim pieces, but Armedangels is concerned about the product’s long-term viability. The brand uses 20% of its recycled organic cotton offcuts and second-choice fabric for its collections. This results in zero waste production.
HNST is an Antwerp-based denim company. Their collections are 100% circular. They’ve just released their first non-denim item – a Tshirt made with the same criteria.
The industry is also seeing new materials: Taifun and Samoon from Gerry Weber manufacture jeans made of 39% of coffee yarns.
Manufacturers are also changing gears. Offuel(r), the first denim finishing agent made from renewable materials, was introduced at Premiere Vision by Itema. It allows denim weavers up to 1000kg per loom per annum.