HIGH DESIGN,LOW IMPACT NO. 14 / WINTER 2021
CAREER DAY My childhood career aspirations frequently flip-flopped, usually influenced by my current obsession. There were the classics like teacher, astronaut and nurse. For a time I was hell-bent on becoming a marine biologist, despite fears of being underwater that kept me from ever learning how to swim. By middle school I set my sights on becoming a lawyer, motivated by the O.J. Simpson trial’s celebrity-courtroom circus that kept me glued to the TV each day. A career focused on the environment, however, never crossed my mind, and I’m not too sure I could have named a relevant job beyond “gardener” or “farmer” back then. The environment, or rather, humanity’s impact on it, was not on the syllabus in the ’90s as it is today. Teachers unfailingly revived the “reduce, reuse, recycle” mantra each Earth Day, but anything that veered toward “sustainability” was a social studies lesson, not one based in science. There was no recycling in my classrooms—a fact that reveals itself anytime I’m face to face with a recycling bin to this day. And I’m not alone in this confusion. I’ve observed one colleague after another pause in puzzlement at the cafeteria bins in our workplace, lacking confidence in their disposal decision. Fortunately, the next generations will have a stronger education in sustainability, and the onus is on the rest of us to catch up. They will also be encouraged to aspire for a green career in almost any industry that piques their interest, including fashion. Sustainability managers are the industry’s new rock stars, evolving the way companies operate from the back office and production floor to the sales floor and catwalk. Zero waste designers are lighting the creative spark denim desperately needs after a decade of sameness and stagnation, and a whole new group of vintage resellers online and in stores is curating some of the most alluring assortments denim retail has seen in years. Admittedly, sustainable habits are difficult to adopt for novices like me. I never bring enough reusable bags to the grocery store and don’t get me started on cleaning reusable straws. This new crop of sustainable experts, however, is responsible for making shopping for jeans fun and exciting again. And the best part? They’re just getting started.
Angela Velasquez Executive Editor, Rivet Peter Sadera Editor in Chief, Sourcing Journal Jessica Binns Managing Editor Arthur Friedman Senior Editor Vicki M. Young Executive Financial Reporter Jasmin Malik Chua Sourcing & Labor Editor Kate Nishimura Features Editor Glenn Taylor Business Editor Liz Warren Staff Writer Chuck Dobrosielski Staff Writer Sarah Jones Business Reporter A R T DE PA R TM E N T
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Executive Editor, Rivet
JENNY CONNELLY SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT, PRODUCT & TECHNOLOGY JUDITH R. MARGOLIN SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT, DEPUTY GENERAL COUNSEL KEN DELALCAZAR SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT, FINANCE
COVER CR EDIT S: FAVORI T E DAU G HTER BRA TOP; THE SERI ES UPCYCLED D ENIM SHORTS; KELSEY RANDALL BOOTS; MI CHAEL MI CHA EL KORS BELT; EL SI E FR I EDA EARRI NGS AND B RACELETS; RINGS BY EMRI STUDIO, ALI N A A BEG G , ANNELE AND BONBONWHI MS ; NECKLACES BY BEA BON GIASCA, JOEY BABY AND ROX ANNE A SSOULI N . PHOTOGRAPHY BY LEXIE MORELAND
LAUREN UTECHT SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT, HUMAN RESOURCES NELSON ANDERSON SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT, CREATIVE RACHEL TERRACE SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT, LICENSING & BRAND DEVELOPMENT
USES LENZING ECOVERO FIBER FOR BIODEGRADABILITY AND TRACEABILITY. 2
CRYSTAL CLEAR 3.0 SALT FREE, WATERLESS LOW CHEMICAL DYEING
TABLE OF C O N TEN TS 05 21 26
GREEN MARKET New collections usher in a new era of sustainable denim design. ZERO TO HERO Designers with all types of aesthetics are finding ways to do more with less. NOTHING BUT NET Companies are rolling out net-zero commitments, but what are they, and why now?
TIPPING THE SCALE Made-to-order denim brands must overcome price barriers to scale their businesses.
SHOW + TELL The popularity of haul videos underscores the voyeuristic and real-life thrill of thrifting.
ANOTHER YEAR WISER Arkun Durmaz, president of Mavi North America, reflects on 30 years of producing jeans.
HEAT IS ON In the fight against climate change, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report sounded an alarm the fashion industry needed to hear.
TURNING ANXIETY INTO ACTION A society experiencing eco anxiety is changing fashion for the better.
Z Gen Z revives Y2K fashion with boundless amounts of energy and individuality.
HIGH DESIGN, LOW IMPACT Recycled fibers and waterless technologies provide mills with the runway they need to reduce denim’s environmental footprint. YEAR IN REVIEW From collaborations to the Met Gala, a look back at the headlines that shaped the denim industry in 2021.
G CDS ONE-PI ECE AND BAG; CONVERSE SNEAKERS; GAR R ET T L EI G H T CALIFOR NIA OPTICAL GLASSES; ROXA NNE A SSOULI NE B R ACE LE TS; RI NGS BY BONBONWHIMS, BEA BONGIASCA, ACCHITTO, A N N A M ACCIERI ROSSI AND MI SHO; NECKLACES BY BEA BONG I A SCA , JOEY BABY AND ELI SE FRI EDA.
GREEN MARKET The latest denim collections usher in a new era of sustainable design.
Mother Earth w o r d s _____LIZ WARREN
A vintage enthusiast herself, model, actress and environmental advocate Carolyn Murphy is the face of Mother’s latest upcycled collection celebrating the Americana aesthetic. Featuring reimagined quilts, bandanas and denim, the women’s capsule consists of 14 pieces made from pre- and post-consumer waste. Named “Homegrown,” the collection transforms vintage finds, rag house deadstock and Mother’s own damaged goods and overstock into jackets, dresses, overdyed T-shirts and more. Standout pieces include color-blocked sweatshirts and sweatpants made of deadstock rag house fabric, as well as a Trucker-style jacket made from hand-selected vintage patchwork quilts. Excess fabric from the jacket also appears in several other pieces within the collection, including a bucket hat. “I love the concept of an American denim brand salvaging and reinterpreting classics like a white button down, embroidery, quilting and bandanas,” Murphy said. “It was incredible to spend time at local rag houses and see how much excess there is, and to work with Mother to find ways to repurpose and give it new life.” The collection follows through on the denim brand’s recent upcycle denim initiative, “60% Mother,” which launched in February. The brand’s first venture included a collection of 21 utilitarian-inspired garments and accessories made from overstocked and damaged fabrics as well as vintage pieces. As part of the Mother x Carolyn Murphy collaboration, the brand is donating $50,000 to the Sierra Club, a grassroots environmental organization, to directly support its 30×30 initiative which aims to protect 30 percent of U.S. lands and waters by 2030. WINTER 2021
Second Chance w o r d s _____ANGELA VELASQUEZ
“Remember, waste isn’t waste until you actually waste it.” That’s the message behind the H&M Recycled Denim collection, its most recycledintensive collection to date. The 10-piece women’s offering spans Gen Z favorites like baggy jeans, loose straight jeans, a Trucker jacket, an oversized overshirt, a bucket hat and tote bag—all made from 100 percent recycled fabrics, threads, labels and pocketing. The collection is also partly made with recycled metal zippers and trims. For the tops and bottoms, H&M incorporated pre-consumer recycled cotton from industrial waste cuttings and post-consumer recycled cotton from collected garments, some with recycled polyester. The accessories are made entirely from fabrics that have been cut and re-used from production rejections. The washing technique used for the garments has a low environmental impact and is free from harmful chemicals, the company added. 6
With a focus on refined patchwork details and ’90s-inspired denim fits and washes, including vintage light blue, “normcore” mid-blues, dark vintage blues, vintage blacks and cool grey, the new women’s collection is about “highlighting the possibilities of recycled materials and providing denim lovers around the world even more choices in sustainability,” H&M stated. The brand describes the Recycled Denim collection as a time-saving alternative to searching for the perfect-fitting vintage jeans. Reusing both production waste and collected garments, however, is a vital part of H&M’s ambitions to move to a circular production system. The company’s 2020 Jeans Redesign collection and its investment in Infinited Fiber Company, the maker of regenerated Infinna fiber, exemplify this effort. H&M Group was recently named a Global Compact LEAD, which demonstrates an ongoing commitment to the United Nations Global Compact and its Ten Principles for responsible business.
Infinity and Beyond w o r d s _____ANGELA VELASQUEZ
Kontoor Brands-owned Wrangler is the latest denim giant to give Infinna, Infinited Fiber Company’s regenerated and recyclable fiber, the green light. Wrangler debuted a two-piece collection that combines the innovative fiber with its own industry-leading innovations including Indigood, a foamdye technology that lowers wastewater by over 99 percent, and an e-flow finishing process that uses “nano bubbles” to distribute chemical products more efficiently during the fabric’s finishing process.
The fabrics used in the collection are made with 30 percent Infinna fiber and 70 percent cotton. Infinna allows clothing manufacturers to bypass conventional cotton production, which is known for its extensive water and pesticide consumption. It is a virgin-quality regenerated textile fiber with the soft and natural look and feel of the cotton traditionally used in denim. It is created from cottonrich textile waste that is broken down at the molecular level and reborn as new fibers. Since it is made of cellulose–a building block of all plants–Infinna is biodegradable and contains no pollutive microplastics. Clothes made with it can be recycled again in the same process together with other textile waste. The fiber landed on Kontoor’s radar in 2015 when Infinna’s commercial viability was first being evaluated. Wrangler’s innovation team worked with the Infinited Fiber Company to provide a better understanding of the industry’s technical requirements and performed preliminary tests and trials on fabrics made with the fiber. “We believe our work with Infinited Fiber Company and the introduction of Infinna once again raises the bar in terms of environmental performance of our denim products without compromising the comfort and quality consumers expect from Wrangler,” said Dhruv Agarwal, Kontoor Brands senior director of innovation, sustainability, and product development. “The introduction of Infinna is an additional fiber complement to cotton and an important step forward in the commercialization and adoption of circularity in the apparel supply chain.” The Fall 2021 Infinited Blue collection includes the men’s Western jacket and jeans. Both are signature pieces from Wrangler’s Icons range, which applies modern modifications to styles from Wrangler’s 70-plus year history. H&M Group’s Weekday brand debuted the first jeans made with Infinna earlier this year with a collection of just 64 pairs of women’s jeans, and more products made with Infinna are likely on their way to market. Patagonia recently inked a multiyear sales agreement to secure access to Infinna. In July, Infinited Fiber Company announced it secured investments of 30 million euros ($35.53 million) in a financing round that added Adidas and Invest FWD A/S, Bestseller’s investment arm for sustainable fashion, to its roster of existing investors, including H&M Group. “We are grateful to the Wrangler innovation team for their long-term support, for being one of the early adaptors of Infinna and for turning our innovation into a beautiful denim that will unlock a new level of circularity in the textile industry,” said Petri Alava, Infinited Fiber Company CEO and co-founder.
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certified. Brands can use the GRS hangtag on their garments to help consumers make better informed decisions about sustainability claims and credentials. To advance circularity, ISKO has partnered with Swedish research and development company MoRe Research, to develop new, sustainable technologies made from cellulosic-based materials derived from post-consumer textiles. ISKO will leverage MoRe’s expertise and resources to help repurpose clean and toxicfree cellulose powders created from the decomposed cotton, and reintegrate them back into fabric production. ISKO recently signed an agreement with HKRITA to license its Green Machine—a technology that fully separates and recycles cotton and polyester blends at scale. This ultra-efficient hydrothermal treatment method decomposes cotton into cellulose powders, and enables separation of polyester fibers from blended fabrics. The circular process uses only water, heat and less than 5 percent biodegradable green chemicals. It doesn’t damage polyester fibers, and the non-toxic cellulose powders can be used in a variety of ways.
Tackling Circularity by Technology For decades ISKO has pioneered many initiatives to raise the bar of responsibility for the industry, and 2022 will build on priorities set out in this long-term strategy. New partnerships and activities in the pipeline will further advance circularity in fashion, while increased investments will help develop smart textiles and wearable technologies. “Our recently announced participation in The Jeans Redesign is incredibly important for us,” said Elena Faleschini, ISKO Global Field Marketing Manager. “This is a project established by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s Make Fashion Circular initiative to encourage and guide the denim industry to transform the way jeans are made and move towards a circular economy for fashion.” ISKO has also committed that 85 percent of its entire fabric production will consist of recycled material content made from pre-consumer and post-consumer recycled materials – a production independently verified by the Textile Exchange audit bodies. RIVET: What are some of your latest sustainability initiatives? Elena Faleschini: One of our most important and revolutionary initiatives is our R-TWO™ fabrics made with a minimum of 50 percent pre- and post-consumer recycled blend. The fiber selection reduces the carbon and water footprint up to 45 and 65 percent, respectively, and recycled materials are Global Recycled Standard
RIVET: What are some new denim developments on the fashion/technology side? EF: Every fashion and technology development we make stems from our Responsible Innovation™ approach. ISKO’s latest advancement, R-TWO™, adds circularity into production and minimizes impact at scale to deliver fabrics that rely on a minimum of 50 percent recycled blend. Also, ISKO’s patented yarn spinning technology means these fabrics are stronger and more durable than traditional open-end constructions, with excellent shape recovery, a soft cotton hand feel, and they dry up to 20 percent quicker. We are also proud of our wellbeing product for apparel—ISKO RHEACT™. It is our patented garment manufacturing solution featuring beneficial woven compression, available exclusively to ISKO’s trade partners. It is suitable for a variety of consumer sectors, from lifestyle, to fitness and workwear. Its woven compression technology boosts energy via improved blood flow, with a micro-massaging pressure effect in different areas of the garment. ISKO RHEACT works for up to 12 hours (compared to knit compression’s three), perfect for a long-haul flight, lounging at home or working out. The garment wears like a second skin, is durable, works to focus the mind, sharpens the senses, and energizes the body. ISKO RHEACT products are certified by the independent Hohenstein Institute and acknowledged by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). RIVET: How are you bringing comfort and sustainability together into denim? EF: ISKO’s many patented technologies make use of recycled polyester without compromising on loungewear’s essential requirements: stretch, comfort and durability. By maintaining a comfortable yet authentic denim look, like vintage and selvedge fabrics, the result is the best of both worlds. Standout technologies: ISKO Pop™ (combines comfort with a luxurious finish providing the softest hand feel); ISKO Bluejym™ (delivers comfort 24/7 with a soft, lightweight fabric); ISKO Future Face™ (provides the perfect fit and the comfort of a knit fabric with the shape retention of a woven fabric); and ISKO PJ Soft™ (a soft, luxurious fabric that sits draped on the body, for an all-round flattering silhouette and comfortable fit. At ISKO, innovation is key to make sure we move toward a more sustainable future, while providing fashionable, durable, comfortable fabrics to all denim lovers.
New Beginnings w o r d s _____ANGELA VELASQUEZ
With a stronghold in the teen denim specialty market, American Eagle Outfitters (AEO) is stepping into the premium tier with a brand-new men’s and women’s brand that takes a “planet-first mindset” for design. The company introduced this fall AE77, a denim range “meant to be lived in, repaired and recycled.” “We created AE77 to make the best premium denim in the market,” said Chad Kessler, president of American Eagle premium brands. “The optimistic tension between denim design and sustainable craftsmanship is woven throughout the brand.” All AE77 jeans are made with a focus on lowering their environmental impact through more sustainable techniques and machinery, the company stated. All fabrics are produced using sustainable raw materials “to all extents possible” while all cotton is sustainably sourced through the Better Cotton Initiative. AE77 boasts exclusive use of green chemistry in jeans production to reduce or eliminate hazardous substances commonly used in the washing of denim and works only with factories that meet AEO’s highest water requirements, exceeding requirements for water recycling, water management and wastewater. To further the commitment to the planet, AE77 will pledge 1 percent of annual sales to non-profit organization 1% For the Planet.
Though American Eagle has been advancing its sustainable footprint with circular denim, this attention to sustainability comes at a higher price point. AE77 retails for $168-$188. In comparison, most new American Eagle jeans retail for $49.95-$69.95. The premium denim collection leads with nine fits and heroes, including a classic fit tailored for both men and women. The men’s range, offered in sizes 28-36, includes slim and skinny fits. The women’s range, offered in sizes 23-33, includes western, straight, crop flare, bootcut and skinny fits. Vintage-inspired details, including washes named “5 year medium wash” and “15 year light destroy wash,” are found throughout the denim collection. An assortment of tops that span recycled cashmere, made in L.A. knits, Japanese flannel and vintage fleece complement the jeans. Elevated dresses and tops with feminine touches of lace, pintuck detailing, ruffles and pointelle also pair back to the denim. Nondenim pieces retail from $28 for a bandana to $248 for recycled cashmere sweater. “We are committed to putting our planet and quality first while curating a unique collection with a New York sensibility,” Kessler added. Shoppers in New York City are getting the first taste of AE77. The brand debuted with its first store in SoHo, designed by Stefan Beckman Studio, and a second store will open by year end.
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Strengthening Sustainability Through Fiber, Fabrics and Finishing AGI Denim carries out its sustainability vision through three key product lenses: fiber, fabrics and finishing. The Pakistan-based manufacturer is pushing the envelope to redefine the contents of denim fibers, bringing materials like hemp into the fold and preparing the publication of its upcoming sustainability report to fill the industry in on its progress. Rivet reveals insights from three AGI Denim execs—director Hasan Javed; Henry Wong, vice president, product development and marketing, North America; and global creative director Carl Chiara—on the sustainability vision that makes the denim manufacturer tick. RIVET: AGI recently partnered with Panda Biotech to expand its sustainable hemp offerings. What led to this partnership, and how will it help build a more sustainable supply chain? Hasan Javed: Our partnership with Panda Biotech is one example of us leading the charge to find innovation in the fiber space. Our past success in bringing recycled cotton and other alternative fibers to market has encouraged us to keep pushing forward, redefining what denim is and can be.
Hemp is leading the way in eco-friendly fibers. The biggest benefit that we see from this partnership is for our customers based in the U.S., who can easily trace American-grown product right from the center of their country, ginned in Panda Biotech’s state-of-the-art facility in Texas. The collaboration allows both companies and their brand partners to identify, trace and track the hemp from origin and as it moves across the supply chain, all while bringing peace of mind to conscious consumers. The whole process is backed by the Oritain traceability system. RIVET: How does AGI’s Double Zero technology improve the denim manufacturing process and verify these benefits? Have there been any updates to the process in the past year? Henry Wong: When we first introduced Double Zero, which is a technology that produces denim fabrics without any wastewater, there was no existing certification we could apply for to prove this. Even though our process saves 90 percent of water usage compared to conventional dyeing, we had difficulty showing that off. But we’ve since brought in third parties and now work with them to develop a way to verify these benefits. Today, we are proud to be the mill that introduced this certification to the market with one of the global leaders in testing and verification. RIVET: How has AGI adapted to the recent comfort trend, and what sustainable materials are used to produce a comfortable pair of jeans? Carl Chiara: The idea of comfort has changed because of how we have been dressing during lockdowns. Our relationship with clothing is different and our expectations have changed. Fit platforms have expanded. In the past, people gravitated toward “their fit” and that was what they wore. Now, people are being more experimental with fits and wearing jeans in creative ways to show confidence and personal style. Fits generally are looser and more “lounge-y,” so we are looking at shape, structure, stretch and drape in new ways and working with advanced cellulosic fibers that allow us to build greater softness into the fabrics. In doing so, we are able to achieve the softest denim available in the market, like our Soft-Tech, and keep it sustainable as well. RIVET: How is AGI conveying its sustainability message to consumers? HW: As a supplier focused on product, our job is to develop and bring to market the most innovative denim, made in the most responsible way possible. We believe this is the best way to inspire and enable storytelling by our clients. As transparency in sourcing and manufacturing becomes more important, we see that our link in the chain is becoming more visible and we are responding to that. For example, our HempX fabrics are Cradle to Cradle Gold-certified, which allows the public to see the supply chain from the jeans in the consumers’ hands up to our level, at the fabric manufacturing stage. We are also bringing fibers to market that can be physically traced back to the farms they came from. We think this new era of traceability and transparency will become the norm in denim in the near future.
Au Naturel w o r d s _____ANGELA VELASQUEZ
Natural dyes are the latest eco-friendly ingredients used in the Levi’s WellThread collection, the heritage brand’s product range that serves as a laboratory for sustainable innovation. The men’s and women’s collection offers garments made with organic cotton and cottonized hemp fabrics dyed with a new range of sustainable, plant-based dye systems from Stony Creek Colors. The Springfield, Tenn.based company has developed and validated
technology that enables it to profitably supply the market with indigo plant-based color, enabling a transition from synthetic, petroleum-based processes that rely on toxic chemicals. The dye used in the collection is the product of a multi-year development relationship with Sarah Bellos, Stony Creek Colors founder, Levi’s stated. In March, Stony Creek closed a Series B financing round totaling more than $9 million. The result is a vibrant natural indigo denim woven by Levi’s long-time mill partner Cone (which has worked with Stony Creek since 2015) from 100 percent organic cotton. The fabric is used in the Fall 2021 collection’s new Stay Loose Taper jean for men and a ’70s High Straight for women, as well as a vintage fit Trucker for men and adjustable Trucker jacket for women. Levi’s also applied natural dyes sourced from food waste streams to dye non-denim styles in the collection, including the Stay Loose Coverall that can be worn loose and slouchy or cinched for a more fitted look. T-shirts and sweatshirts in the collection are dyed with plant-based colors that use sound, rather than chemistry, to fix the pigment molecules to the textile fibers. This new sonic dye application method uses less water than traditional methods, and the plant-derived colors reduce the need for synthetic chemistry, the brand stated. “With WellThread, we always craft clothes that you’ll be able to keep in your wardrobe for as long as possible,” said Paul Dillinger, vice president, head of global product innovation at Levi Strauss & Co. “When we talk about Buy Better, Wear Longer, we’re talking about these types of clothes. Subtle, thoughtful, and beautiful.”
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A Healing Concept for People and Planet Recognizing the traditional water- and chemicalintensive process of traditional denim finishing (stone wash, mill wash, moon wash, bleach, distressed look, whisker effect, 3D effect, PP spray, sandpaper, etc.) Bossa and Strom collaborated to develop the ECO3 concept. This includes Strom’s sustainable washing technology and Bossa’s ozone and specially designed laser-friendly fabrics. Here, lasers are used instead of dry processes (whiskering, sandpaper), ecological spray is used instead of potassium permanganate spray, reusable ecological stone instead of pumice and ozone instead of hypochlorite. “Feel-good fabrics are not only beneficial for the planet but also for our well-being,” said Tayfun Akbay, deputy general manager of Bossa, about the company’s green approach to using less water, chemicals and energy to help save the earth.
RIVET: Explain Bossa’s new sustainable ‘Future Healing’ concept? Tayfun Akbay: New manmade cellulosic fibers are intertwined with natural fibers such as hemp and soybean to create a futuristic blend of denim. High-tech materials such as Repreve, Naia, Ciclo and Smartcell are paired with clean indigo styles that make it the perfect choice for a seasonless style. We also have Dye-Art items, which make a significant impact on denim production by being produced in an ecological dyeing process with reduced water consumption. We also have our HEMPY concept of hemp-blended denims. Hemp is not only the most durable of all natural fibers, but also the most sustainable to grow, requiring no irrigation, fertilization, pesticides, herbicides or chemicals. Hemp requires at least 60 percent less water compared to cotton, besides it has inherent antibacterial properties and is regenerative. For Bossa’s SS23 collection, we have new natural-items for which we used 100-percent recycled chemicals. RIVET: How do Bossa’s newest innovations tackle water waste? TA: Our Forever Fresh Denim stays clean and fresh longer, requiring fewer washes. Just skipping one out of 10 washes shows a reduction in total toxicity and large improvements on CO2 and microplastics. A garment that lives nine months longer saves 16 percent CO2, 20 percent water and 8 percent waste on the environmental footprint. Antibacterial fibers and yarns like Coolmax freshFX and Frescura provide a long-lasting freshness, as do finishing technologies such as Wear More, Wash Less; the Polygiene Finish Technology. We have also SAVEBLUE and SAVEBLUE+ technologies. SAVEBLUE (which saves 85 percent of water in the dyeing stage on regular finish fabrics) and SAVEBLUE+ (which saves 85 percent of water in the dyeing stage and 71 percent of water in finishing process for overdye fabrics). RIVET: How has Bossa been experimenting with new fibers such as TENCEL™ Modal with Indigo Color technology? TA: Rather than dyeing the fibers after the yarn is created—which is a resource-intensive process—TENCEL™ Modal with Indigo Color technology incorporates dye into the production process. We created both rigid and stretch denim this way. Our R&D team is making trials and testing indigo modal in different constructions and finishes. RIVET: What about traceability to provide a window into Bossa’s sustainability? TA: Traceability is so important. At Bossa we have transparently explained our production figures for the last three years with our “Towards Zero Waste” booklet, and we continue to annually report our production values. We collaborate on this issue with brands such as Boyish, Outland Denim, Nudie etc., and put QR codes on our organic cotton and hemp blended articles. Bossa partners with Fibretrace to provide trust, transparency and traceability in the industry. D-CHRONICLES concept is the future. We also calculate and present “cradle to grave” LCAs of our denim, life cycle flows from raw material extraction to manufacturing, use, recovery and end-of-life (EOL). RIVET: The industry has been through a lot lately. What are you most optimistic about in 2022? TA: Although the past 18 months started off with difficulty, opportunities can arise from crises. We responded to customer requests with new concepts and designs, and developed more natural, sustainable products by following customer usage habits. We also saw the importance of marketing, online presentation and digital transformation. We will launch the Bossa app soon, where customers will be able to explore our latest collections and discover future projects and concepts. We are optimistic because orders are strong, and we are increasing our capacity by around 40 to 50 percent.
Neutral Territory Lenzing expands carbon-zero Tencel fibers to Refibra. w o r ds _____ARTHUR FRIEDMAN
As Lenzing celebrates the first anniversary of the launch of carbon-zero Tencel branded fibers, the company is expanding these sustainable inputs to Refibra technology to address the growing industry demand around circular fashion and carbon neutrality. The first carbon-zero Tencel branded lyocell and modal fibers, which launched last year, have continued to gain momentum among industry partners, including fashion brands and mills. The carbon zero Tencel-branded lyocell and modal fibers are produced using renewable energy, which contributes to lower carbon emissions and energy consumption across the supply chain, according to Lenzing. This means the emissions associated with the fibers’ production, manufacturing and distribution have been calculated and reduced through engagement with industry partners wherever possible and offset where not. Now, the broadened reach into Refibra, made using partially recycled fibers, helps give fashion brands the ability to meet carbon reduction targets while enabling consumers to enjoy sustainable products. It also reinforces Lenzing’s commitment to achieving net-zero CO2 emissions by 2050. This pioneering Refibra technology involves upcycling cotton scraps from garment production and transforming them into cotton pulp. The cotton pulp is then added to sustainably sourced wood pulp to produce virgin Tencel lyocell fibers. This innovation reinforces Lenzing’s ongoing effort to the Science Based Targets (SBT) initiative and support of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to limit global warming.
“Although more supply chain partners, brands and retailers are proactively searching for ways to reduce carbon emissions to align with the United Nation’s global climate goals, the textile industry still has a long journey ahead to reach its goal of carbon-zero status,” Florian Heubrandner, vice president of the global textiles business at Lenzing, said. “We hope that, by sharing our latest innovations such as the carbon-zero Tencel branded fibers with Refibra technology, we can make carbonzero initiatives mainstream practices, ultimately achieving a carbon neutral textile industry.” Jack & Jones, a denim brand and a longtime partner of Lenzing, has been championing sustainability with its low-environmental impact products. This is echoed in the brand’s latest range of jeans made with 38 percent carbon-zero Tencel lyocell fibers. “The Jack & Jones team is delighted to partner with Tencel to bring to life more sustainable products that are also comfortable and of high quality, showcasing our unwavering commitment to enhancing sustainability in the fashion world,” said Mikkel Hochrein Albrektsen, creative buying manager of Jack & Jones. In addition, Lenzing is expanding its collaboration with fashion brands across the globe to integrate carbon-zero Tencel fibers in their latest collections. From leading Chinese lingerie brand Aimer, Chinese premium home textile brand Luolai, German fashion label Armedangels, Danish clothing label Selected Femme, Korean fashion brand Cozynet and Portuguese premium fabric producer and intimate brand Impetus to U.S.-based home furnishings retailer West Elm, companies across the fashion and home segments are actively reviewing their raw material usage to go carbon-zero. Through a “reduce-engage-offset” approach, Lenzing is also working closely with supply chain partners such as Al Karam, Calik, Samil and WTS to innovate raw material usage and technologies to bring new sustainable fiber types to the textile market. “As a textile producer, it is our responsibility to enhance sustainability in the textile industry,” said Luis Antonio Aspillaga, CEO of WTS (World Textile Sourcing). “We are proud to collaborate with Lenzing and offer ecofriendly products which uses carbonzero Tencel fibers, thus contributing to the well-being and protection of our planet.” Moving forward, Lenzing will continue to work with industry partners to reduce the product’s carbon footprint and offset unavoidable emissions to ultimately drive decarbonization in the textile industry. WINTER 2021
Modern Heritage Ralph Lauren targets zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2040. w o r d s _____KATE NISHIMURA
Ralph Lauren is augmenting its efforts to combat climate change. The American fashion empire announced the goal of bringing its greenhouse gas emissions down to net zero by 2040—building on its previously stated commitment to lower those emissions by 30 percent by 2030. In detailing the new objective, Ralph Lauren outlined a strategy not only for slashing emissions but also hitting other advanced sustainability targets. The plan involves scaling investments with nature-based carbon removal operations, including a partnership with Indigo Ag, which develops biological and digital technologies to help farmers improve the sustainability of their crops. “Climate change is one of the most complex and challenging issues of our time—one that will require innovation, collaboration, technology and a fundamental shift in behavior to solve,” Patrice Louvet, Ralph Lauren Corporation’s president and CEO, said in a statement. “Our net zero goal and roadmap are anchored in our belief that through deliberate action we can deliver the change required to reduce our climate impact and help create a more sustainable future for generations to come.” The crux of Ralph Lauren’s net-zero approach involves drastic cuts to scope one and two emissions, which include direct greenhouse gas emissions associated with fuel combustion, and indirect emissions associated with the purchase of electricity, steam, heat or cooling, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. The company plans to mitigate these outputs by moving to 100 percent renewable power in its stores, offices and distribution centers by 2025, it said. In order to reduce impact due to scope three emissions, which are the result of operations not controlled or owned by Ralph Lauren, the company plans to collaborate with its factory suppliers through collective actions, implementing strategic programs that will drive down greenhouse gases across manufacturing facilities. The company announced forward-looking plans to expand emissions reduction tactics through further collaboration with its suppliers, ultimately setting forth a standardized approach to carbon reduction at the factory level. The aim, it said, is to empower its partners to establish their own climate strategies. When it comes to raw materials, Ralph Lauren said it would switch to preferred fibers that emit less carbon waste than conventionally grown fibers. 16
Beyond making greenhouse gas-busting revisions to its supply chain, the company said it would offset any residual emissions through the purchase of high-quality and verifiable carbon removals. The Indigo Ag partnership will begin in the 2022 fiscal year, the company said, and through the organization’s Indigo Carbon program, Ralph Lauren can purchase agricultural carbon credits that support farmers looking to adopt more environmentally beneficial farming practices. The program also measures and validates the resulting carbon sequestration and abatement, Ralph Lauren explained. The U.S. officially rejoined the Paris Climate Agreement following a day-one executive order by President Biden, but Ralph Lauren was already committed to adhering to the treaty’s goals and metrics, using the framework to build out its net-zero pledge and its Design the Change global citizenship and sustainability strategy. A year-in-review report shows that Ralph Lauren is on track to meet its 2023 goal of diverting all distribution center, store and office waste from landfills, having achieved 85 percent success within the past fiscal year. The company has achieved one-third of its goal of sourcing all key materials sustainably by 2025, including animal-derived materials, which must be certified to an animal welfare standard and be fully traceable. Within the same time frame, the company is aiming for full recyclability, reusability or sustainable sourcing for its packaging materials. As of the report’s release, 54 percent of packaging meets these standards. Additionally, the company met its objective to train all of its design, production and merchant teams on sustainable, circular and culturally inclusive and aware design during the 2021 fiscal year, Ralph Lauren said. Meanwhile, the company aims to offer empowerment and life-skills programs to 250,000 workers across its supply chain, increasing factory leadership roles for women by one-quarter by 2025. The company said was able to target 19,800 individuals with these programs and advancements over the course of the past fiscal year. “The convergence of the global pandemic, climate crisis and call to action to dismantle systemic racism has been a catalyst for businesses around the world to focus and accelerate their progress toward a more equitable and sustainable future,” Louvet and Ralph Lauren, the company’s executive chairman and creative director, wrote. “Amid all the challenges we faced this year emerged a spirit of resilience, dedication and passion that has helped us to not only make progress on our goals and commitments, but accelerate our momentum.”
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Making Eco-Friendly Investments Where It Counts Artistic Milliners knows results are pivotal to the success of any sustainability or circularity initiative. In fact, the denim manufacturer takes on an unpopular opinion that many sustainability certifications are just questionable paperwork. Instead, the industry should prioritize real work that is visible and validated by technology. The manufacturer is putting its money where its mouth is, currently investing $370 million in two hydropower plants and even developing its own traceability platform to promote greener denim production. Omer Ahmed, CEO of Artistic Milliners, details the manufacturer’s collaboration with Lee Jeans, the company’s work within the blockchain and its massive investments in renewable energy products. RIVET: What are some of your latest sustainability initiatives? Omer Ahmed: At our mills, we are taking a holistic approach to sustainability and circularity, be it our investment in a brand-new fiber recycling plant on site or our partnership with regenerative recycling partners. Our resource-saving innovations like Crystal Clear 3.0 and Icebreaker replace traditional chemicals with more organic chemicals and replace conventional process with more moderneco approaches like finishing fabrics with ozone. We have also made investments to recycle caustic used at plants and recover black sulfur dyes besides indigo reuse. It’s also relevant to mention our circularity partnerships with expert organizations such as Cradle-to-Cradle (C2C) and the Ellen McArthur Foundation, because circularity ultimately means that we aren’t using any virgin resources such as water or energy for making our products.
RIVET: This fall, Artistic Milliners brought a Cradleto-Cradle certified denim collection to market with Lee Jeans. How have these jeans impacted your denim manufacturing process? OA: The Cradle-to-Cradle standard is the world’s most rigorous for sustainability and circularity, so we had to make these jeans 100-percent recyclable, down to the last component, while keeping their five criteria in mind: material health, material reuse, renewable energy and carbon management, water stewardship and social fairness. We feel we more than measured up: They were crafted using 100-percent organic cotton, and the fabric is dyed during a process using 58 percent less water than traditional dyeing processes. Even the buttons are raw, virgin metal that have not been finished with treatments, eliminating additional, unnecessary energy consumption. They were also made in a facility generating 524,000 kWh of solar power per year. RIVET: How has your partnership with sustainability software Retraced assisted your companywide traceability efforts? OA: We are developing a blockchain-enabled traceability platform with Retraced to track the movement of raw materials/goods right from the farm to the final garment. The unique aspect of our co-created solution is that we are working ground-up from cotton pickers, farmers, ginners and brokers. These are the areas where the real challenge lies. Most solutions in the market adopt a top-down approach where the app design is driven by the top tier players and ignores the complexity that lies upstream. With Retraced, we are able to create a platform where immutable data ensures that there is no counterfeiting, and the complexity of supply chain is de-componentized. RIVET: Why is Artistic Milliners investing $370 million in hydropower projects, and what does that entail for the future of the manufacturer’s sustainability projects? OA: Artistic Milliners is among the first companies in Pakistan to sign up for Business Ambition to 1.5 campaign. We are also signatories of SBTi (Science Based Targets Initiative) and Fashion Industry Charter for Climate Action. Our hydropower plants, Hydro I and Artistic Hydro II, will contribute a combined 521 GWh per year— that’s enough energy to meet the demand of more than 133,000 homes. We ventured into renewable energy because we want to fundamentally influence the global transition towards a green economy. There is a disconnect when companies and industries talk about “net positive” or “zero carbon emissions,” but transformative solutions to help them make these transitions simply do not exist. Problems like finding feasible and alternative fuels for boilers, or clean energy in the grid can only be solved when we work cross-sectoral with energy, transportation industries. With Artistic Energy, we are setting up clean energy projects in Pakistan to help the country achieve its targets of 60 percent renewable energy by 2030.
Driving Change Coach owner eyes net-zero status no later than 2050. w o r d s _____JASMIN MALIK CHUA
Coach’s parent company is ready to become part of the climate solution. Tapestry announced that it has joined the Science Based Targets initiative’s (SBTi) Business Ambition for 1.5°C platform, which encourages companies to set net-zero emissions targets that will help limit global warming to a further 1.5 degrees Celsius. The fashion conglomerate, which also owns Kate Spade and Stuart Weitzman, has pledged to set emissions-reduction targets across all scopes in line with Paris Agreement goals. Tapestry has also promised to set a “long-term” target to achieve netzero value-chain greenhouse-gas emissions by no later than 2050. “At Tapestry, we are committed to leading with purpose and embracing our responsibility as a global house of fashion brands to effect real and lasting change for our industry and our stakeholders,” Joanne Crevoiserat, CEO of Tapestry, said in a statement. “Signing the Business Ambition for 1.5 degrees Celsius represents an important step forward in our journey to reduce our climate impact and make our planet more sustainable.” 18
The move, Tapestry said, dovetails with its “people-centered, purpose-led” strategy. In July, the company poured $50 million into establishing the so-called Tapestry Foundation to promote equality and tackle climate change. It has also vowed to procure 100 percent renewable electricity for all its stores, offices and fulfillment centers, reduce water use across Tapestry and its supply chain by 10 percent and achieve 95 percent traceability and mapping of its raw materials supply chains, all by 2025. Since 2017, Tapestry has reduced Scope 1 and 2 emissions by 57 percent and Scope 3 emissions from freight shipping by half, though it admits that a slowdown during the pandemic resulted in a smaller carbon footprint. Companies that have thrown their support behind Business Ambition for 1.5°C commitment have 24 months to have their targets approved and published by the Science Based Targets initiative, which will accept only submissions of scope 1 and 2 targets that are in line with either a “well-below” 2-degree or 1.5-degree Celsius trajectory. Other companies that have signed up to the scheme include Auchan, Boohoo H&M, Inditex, Target and Tchibo. The Covid-19 crisis was a turning point for Tapestry, Crevoiserat wrote in the company’s latest corporate social responsibility report. “Tapestry’s transformation to become a more resilient company and integrate corporate responsibility into all that we do is well underway,” she said. “The pandemic has given us an imperative to accelerate our transformation and further strengthen our business and commitments. It forced us to be bold and made clear that we had much more work to do.” Climate change would imperil the fashion industry. Rising sea levels over the next decade could leave thousands of suppliers in Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, Indonesia and Vietnam underwater, according to a recent study commissioned by the International Labour Organisation has found. “It appears some of apparel’s production centers representing a significant percentage of current output will not escape the projected acceleration of the climate crisis,” the report’s authors noted. Another study concluded that all six of the top cotton-producing countries—Brazil, China, India, Pakistan, Turkey and the United States—will face increased dangers from wildfire, drought and extreme rainfall. Some 40 percent of cotton-growing regions could also experience a decrease in growing season as temperatures surge past optimum temperatures for agriculture. “This analysis is a wake-up call for the cotton industry, on which much of the apparel sector is currently hugely reliant,” said Sally Uren, CEO of Forum for the Future, the sustainability think tank that commissioned the study. “In order to build resilience for a highly disrupted and uncertain future, the widespread shifts to sustainable forms of cotton production must be bolstered by ambitious and aligned action to reduce carbon emissions while also preparing the industry to operate in a very different world.”
Award-winning denim for Millet In 2012, we were proud to be a part of Millet’s Outdoor award for it’s innovative Crag Denim Pant and Capri – made from stretch CORDURA® Denim fabric.
DOF DECADE N I M ‘Supercharged Noir’ by Artistic Milliners and the launch of Dovetail ‘No Fade’ Denim
Engineered in collaboration with Artistic Milliners, this innovation helped power a new evolution of “No Fade” black pants for Dovetail, a brand specialized in workwear for women that provides the toughest performance combined with great fit, softness, stretch and comfort.
Durable advanced fabric technologies that stand the test of time
Mountain Hardwear’s ‘Hard Denim’
THE AUTHENTIC ALCHMIE COLLECTION
In need of denim designed for people who push the boundaries, Mountain Hardwear selected CORDURA® Denim to create its ‘Hard Denim’ collection which set a new standard for climbing-inspired apparel by offering added longevity and abrasion resistance.
In 2015, we launched an exciting capsule collection of CORDURA® Denim powered by high tenacity nylon 6,6 and blends of Lenzing TENCEL®, making a creative and stylish range of technical denims.
The ‘X Venture Collexion’
Artistic Milliners and designer Michelle Rose collaborated with CORDURA® Denim, Lenzing TENCEL® and advanced performance coatings from Schoeller® to create a futuristic space-themed concept envisioning how today’s innovative textile technologies would impact the future of denim with influences from retro astronaut gear.
Cone White Oak x CORDURA Selvage Denim
The ‘Remastered Collection’
CORDURA® brand and Cone Denim collaborated on a first of its kind selvage denim for the 50th anniversary of the CORDURA® brand.
CORDURA® Denim brought to life heritage workwear by Paris-based avant garde designer Monsieur T’s – featuring an authentic denim look with enhanced levels of comfort and durability.
Levi’s Skateboarding Collection Featuring pants made with comfortable and durable stretch CORDURA® Denim fabric technology, this collection provided enhanced abrasion resistance to the mobility and freedom of movement skateboarders demand.
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Zero to Hero By working in more efficient ways, designers with all types of aesthetics are finding ways to do more with less. w o r d s _____LIZ WARREN
ZERO CREATING ART FROM ‘NIENTE’ It’s a founding story commonly shared by sustainably focused designers: The inspiration for launching zerowaste apparel brand Zerobarracento came after founder Camilla Carrara learned of the industry’s startling waste problem. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 11.3 million tons of textile waste ended up in landfills in 2018. “I was always passionate about visiting textile mills,” she said. “Once I found out about the huge amounts of waste produced annually, even by premium companies, it was a turning point for me. I decided to focus all my work on optimizing the textile and fashion supply chains.” Through her calculated approach, Carrara aims to pave the way to a healthier industry—one that uses only what’s needed and pulls from what already exists. She works with certified suppliers to source recycled materials that can eventually be put back into the circular process at end of life. Each piece is comprised of simple, monofiber fabrics and avoids accessories that are difficult to disassemble. Carrara also makes it a point to choose factories situated close to their raw materials to mitigate the pollution generated during transportation. Zerobarracento, the Italian phrase that translates to “0/100,” uses organic and recycled wools from the Biella and Prato districts in Italy, which Carrara considers to be the top regions for sustainable wools. For denim, the brand works with Italian denim mill Berto and utilizes its Ecotec yarn made up of pre-consumer waste cotton that uses between 60 to 80 percent less water than conventional cotton. But the sustainable philosophy is not without its obstacles. Carrara says the inherent challenge of zero-waste design is deciding how to bring together the luxury fit, feel and aesthetic within its strict constraints. “Working with zero-waste requires time and a commitment to ongoing research,” she said. “Zerobarracento was born with the aim of improving the current production processes, but this requires a real mind shift from both designers and manufacturers.” The brand often uses deadstock fabrics intended for limitededition products or custom-made pieces. According to Carrara, her approach is so refined that “not even one inch of fabric is wasted” during production.
Presenting two seasonal collections per year plus some custom pieces, the brand keeps a lean assortment. Its signature designs include gender- and agefluid outerwear best demonstrated by its March drop which introduced the Ebi, a midi vest with an oversized collar, and the Kimono, a structured robe with voluminous shoulders. At just five years old, the brand has earned awards and recognition such as Designer for the Planet by the National Chamber of Italian Fashion, a nonprofit focused on amplifying young designers, and was selected to participate in the Worth Partnership Project, a European initiative that brings together the fashion supply chain to develop innovative business ideas. In May, the brand was also profiled by Vogue Italia. With these credentials, it’s hard to remember that Carrara was a student not too long ago—she graduated from the Politecnico di Milano in 2014 and completed her master's studies in sustainability in fashion at Esmod Berlin in 2015—and a part of the growing community of young designers on a mission to completely disrupt the fashion industry. Fueled by the growing awareness of fashion’s impact on climate change, this new wave of designers working together toward a shared goal could be exactly what the world needs. “I think by networking, we can avoid some mistakes and reach our goals faster,” she said. I always try to be transparent about our zero-waste technique and I hope that our example will inspire others to adopt more sustainable lifestyles.”
Elsener mostly uses deadstock fabrics from high-quality American manufacturers to create her designs. While zero-waste collections may seem to carry challenges related to consistency and sourcing, Elsener says the biggest obstacle is just changing people’s perceptions of sustainable apparel. “One often thinks of something boxy and ‘ecochic’ when hearing ‘zero-waste’ for the first time. I aim to break that association,” she said, adding that she often consults with brands to redesign one or two of their pieces to be zero-waste while remaining within the confines of their design language. “Zerowaste design can be used to make literally anything, and it can fit any aesthetic.” Elsener strives to inspire others with her designs and education, and recently co-founded Zero Waste Design Online (ZWDO) alongside other designers and educators to create a go-to resource for zerowaste design information-sharing. She’s also working to establish the first zero-waste manufacturing facility, Decode MFG, as an extension to her already established design and consultancy practice. The goal of the facility is to not only design zero-waste garments but manufacture them at an industry scale. All of these initiatives are intended to bring people together to fight climate change together. “You do not have to fix everything all by yourself,” she said. “The weight of the world may seem heavy at times, but there are others working towards a better future.” Danielle Elsener
ADDING PLAYFULNESS TO ZERO-WASTE DESIGN At not even 30 years old, Danielle Elsener has launched her own zero-waste denim brand, started a consultancy service, initiated a group of other zero-waste designers for informationsharing, and attracted the attention of industry heavyweight Virgil Abloh, who awarded her the industry’s first “Activate Movement” award and grant for young sustainable designers. But despite these accolades, she’s far from finished. The young designer says she’s on a mission to bring accessibility, open conversation, and playfulness to zero-waste design. “So often, conversations around sustainability get bleak quite quickly, and it is important to feel empowered to make steps toward positive change,” she said. The sentiment is one felt throughout her generation, with an increasing number of young people experiencing eco anxiety, a term mental health professionals use to refer to the dread and helplessness associated with climate change. Many young changemakers like herself have stepped up to help alleviate these feelings and make improvements to the world’s most destructive processes. During her time at the Royal College of Art—from which she graduated in 2020 during the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic—she started a meaningful conversation through her designs. Rather than simply showcasing the sustainable garments she produced, she shared her methods of production to demonstrate how they came to be. According to Elsener, “being able to see the ‘why’ behind a design is so much more impactful in practice than in explanation.” To this day, she carries the same ethos in all her pieces. Featured prominently on her zero-waste brand Decode’s website is a graphic of her latest piece: A varsity jacket made in partnership with American heritage brand Settlemier’s. The photo links to a blog post detailing exactly how the zero-waste varsity jacket was crafted, with anecdotes from the Settlemier’s workspace tour and a collection of images that invite the reader into the production process. 22
CREATING WHAT ALREADY EXISTS— AND NOTHING MORE At the root of upcycled denim brand Blue Of A Kind is a joke: When determining which garment was the least environmentally impactful, founder Fabrizio Consoli stated “the one that already exists.” That philosophy became the brand’s foundation, and in 2017 launched with a niche focus that was unheard of at the time. “Sustainability and circularity were not hot topics like they are today,” he said. “We didn’t even know our process was called ‘upcycling’ until sometime after we started.” Today, the brand approaches denim with the same artistic eye it had at launch, sourcing discarded jeans from old stocks throughout Italy and France and transforming them into entirely different pieces of art. It also incorporates post-industrial fabric leftover from Italian denim mill Candiani for a different line of denim originally launched in 2019 that combines upcycled denim and fabric scraps. It began as a capsule collection of jeans made with the mill’s sample fabrics that consisted of three styles for women and the brand’s first for men.
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How Eco-Friendly Fasteners and Buttons Complete Sustainable Denim Much of the chatter surrounding denim focuses on the product itself, the materials that comprise it, as well as the look and fit it gives the wearer. But no denim product can be complete without the final components that make the garments functional. Morito Scovill Americas (MSA) has this part of the manufacturing process covered, offering products such as Duramark® tack buttons, Duramark® burrs, Mighty Snaps® snap fasteners and Pearl Snap fasteners—all aimed at keeping a denim wearer’s jeans nice and snug. Beyond the product, MSA operates as a service provider to help brands throughout the fastener selection process. For example, the company delivers in-house product testing and quality control to ensure all components meet high standards for quality and safety. Additionally, the company boasts a selection of automatic, semi-automatic and manual attaching machines to meet the specific needs of denim clients, and offers responsive global technical support in the field to help best utilize the machines. As consumers demand more sustainable apparel, MSA has since taken additional steps to make these manufacturing processes increasingly eco-friendly. Richard Sanderson, director of sales and marketing, apparel, Morito Scovill Americas, told Rivet about the company’s C.O.R.E™ initiative, and highlights where the company’s partnerships with denim brands has continued to evolve.
RIVET: How has Morito Scovill Americas sought to further the sustainability conversation internally, and what initiatives has it taken thus far? Richard Sanderson: Sustainability in manufacturing continues to be a large focus for the denim industry. In 2020, Morito Scovill Americas (MSA) followed the lead of some of the world’s largest denim brands and launched our eco-friendly initiative—C.O.R.E.™, which is our promise to be Committed to Our Resources and Environment. C.O.R.E. is composed of eco-friendly manufacturing methods, products and partnerships that greatly reduce our manufacturing impact. For example, C.O.R.E. manufacturing methods will never use processes such as electroplating, sandblasting, color filling and paint baking, which, although needed to achieve certain finishes, are less environmentally friendly. RIVET: How has working within the Sustainable Apparel Coalition helped Morito Scovill Americas improve on its manufacturing capabilities? RS: MSA’s partnership with the Sustainable Apparel Coalition drives environmental and social responsibility throughout the supply chain, and allows us to have a positive impact on product sustainability and eco-friendly manufacturing processes. Through this partnership, our brand and retail partners have visibility into our sustainability efforts. Some of our partners are often now requiring membership in the Sustainable Apparel Coalition and verification within its Higg Index, further motivating us to continue to reduce unnecessary environmental harm created throughout the supply chain. RIVET: What role does Morito Scovill Americas have in communicating with denim brands to ensure they are producing sustainable garments? RS: MSA is focused on continuous improvement and providing innovative eco-friendly products and processes. We work closely with our denim customers to anticipate, understand, and meet their sustainability goals and I feel the denim industry will continue to move toward a more casual, comfortable style. We feel denim has benefited from the evolving shopping habits of the consumers and will continue to successfully fulfill their needs, both from a style and sustainability standpoint. As a global supplier in over 25 countries, our extensive supply chain network allows us to provide customer-centered solutions by offering an array of eco-friendly trim options, from tapes to drawstrings and more.
Consoli first met Candiani Denim owner Alberto Candiani at Kingpins Amsterdam in 2018 through a common friend who recognized synergies between the two sustainablyminded Italian brands. Since then, Consoli says working with other brands and finding inspiration from them is an essential part of the process. “Design has always been a collaborative work—one brand’s product is another brand’s inspiration, and I do not see this changing anytime soon,” he said. Though currently only available online and in select stores in Italy, the brand has visions of expanding internationally and spreading its zero-waste ethos abroad. Though its fits are consistent, its washes and materials are not—a result of working from materials that already exist. “We believe that in an era of mass production, these inconsistencies should be seen as a plus,” said Consoli, adding that the brand serves as a temporary solution to fashion’s supply and demand imbalance. “The Blue of a Kind brand was born adaptive, and will remain that way should things change again.” The label offers free repairs for life and designs through a circular lens, not only creating pieces from existing jeans, but intentionally designing them to be deconstructed and redesigned at their end of life. “We try to work in a continuum, meaning that we as a brand place ourselves at the end of a product lifecycle, reusing as much as possible and at the same time focusing on creating something that could eventually be easily dismantled and discharged.” Next up, the brand is expanding into different categories and doubling down on its other offerings across jackets, T-shirts and tops. “Although denim is in our DNA—and part of our brand name—we want to keep an agnostic approach to fashion, applying our processes and philosophies to the widest range of products,” Consoli said.
Blue Of A Kind
DESIGNING TO INSPIRE Despite their reputation for being damaging to the environment, jeans were once very close to being a zero-waste garment. According to educator, Endrime founder and Rivet 50 member Mohsin Sajid, jeans were once made slowly and intentionally—concepts designers are just now attempting to reclaim. “If you dive back into jeans’ history pre-1922, you’ll see they were made extremely well,” he said. “Jacob Davis, the father of the jean and the rivet patent, was a tailor, so clean ways of making garments were the norm.” Sajid has applied this philosophy to his denim designs since his time as a student at University of Westminster, and throughout his storied career has introduced more and more sustainable elements that nod to jeans’ original design. In 2011, he began implementing the “continuous one-piece fly,” an 1877 method of sewing jeans’ front pieces that provides a more
Endrime x Cone
simplified construction and lower manufacturing cost. He has since shared this knowledge with hundreds of designers and students to promote a higher level of quality and sustainability throughout the industry. Using his own sustainable designs to inspire others is the basis of his career. At Kingpins24 in October, Sajid debuted a sustainable denim capsule collection in partnership with his denim brand Endrime, American denim mill Cone Denim and Spanish technology company Jeanologia. Within the Cone Denim “Nothing Goes to Waste” collection, denim is crafted using fabrics that meet the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s Jeans Redesign guidelines for circularity and are meant to inspire the denim community to adopt a zero-waste philosophy. As part of the project, Sajid created more than 10 different patterns using many different widths of fabric from selvedge and regular denim. Though he has 20 years of experience with sustainable denim design, he was still able to learn something new in the process. “I had a realization that I can now fit any basic five-pocket denim in any width fabric with no waste,” he said, adding that fabric widths have always been his biggest challenge in zero-waste denim design. “Even a few centimeters can knock you sideways and force you to re-think the entire pattern again.” He was able to develop a “denim algorithm” that’s expected to make zero-waste design more approachable for designers. His goal is to publish his findings and have the industry’s biggest players like Levi’s and highstreet labels put them to use. He also worked with industrial thread manufacturer Coats on a project called the Denim Visualizer, in which designers can determine exactly how a pair of jeans will look with a variety of different washes and thread color combinations. Using the soon-to-be-launched platform, designers can choose a thread color and denim wash and visualize a new pair of jeans. The tool also creates a PDF of the thread tech pack, which they can place directly into their own design documents. While working on each of these projects, Sajid was also hosting and planning Transformers events, teaching at Ravensbourne University and Central Saint Martins and working on two denim books slated to publish in summer 2022. “It’s been groundbreaking summer, with more to come,” he said.
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Walking the Sustainable Walk, From Legwear to Denim Relatively new to the denim industry, hosiery manufacturer and recent denim mill Interloop has a unique vantage point. “This gives us an advantage and a fresh perspective,” explained Feroze Ahmed, vice president, denim, at Interloop. “Our history of operational excellence, our manufacturing scale, and investment in the latest equipment has gained us credibility and enabled us to envision and build a sustainable plant from the ground up. We didn’t have legacy infrastructures holding us back.” As a result, Interloop has one of the largest setups of laser technology, and PlaceTech has cited Interloop's LEED Platinum denim facility as one of the greenest buildings in the world.The company is also able to invest in state-of-the-art equipment that greatly minimizes the impact on the environment and build a conducive and safe workplace for its people. Here, Ahmed offers Rivet his perspective.
RIVET: The industry has been through a lot in the past 18 months. What are you most optimistic about in 2022? Feroze Ahmed: We believe a few major shifts will accelerate, including consolidation of demand across a few large players and investment in backward integration for supply chain security. We plan to invest in our own denim fabric mill as well as increase our yarn spinning and yarn dyeing capacity which would mean an end-
to-end solution for our customers. We are particularly optimistic about the surge in denim demand and with our digital design capability, integrated ERP and sustainability credentials, we are all set to be a responsive, high-quality partner of choice. RIVET: Where does denim fit into Interloop’s Vision 2025 commitment? FA: Denim is a key part of our multi-category strategy, enabling us to become a full family clothing supplier while bringing Interloop’s responsible ethos into the denim supply chain. We have deep and meaningful relationships with leading brands and retailers around the world (Guess, NYDJ, Diesel, Hugo Boss, Mustang, Target, INDITEX, to name a few). We continue to build credibility with our customers and leverage our relationships offering authentic denim products for all ages, genders and abilities. RIVET: How does your hosiery business give you a leg up, so to speak? FA: We are a leader in the hosiery category because of our commitment to our customers, our planet and our people. We have a number of public commitments including being a signatory to the UN Global Compact, Fashion Industry’s Charter for Climate Change, Fair Trade, UN’s Women Empowerment Principles and more. We believe in creating strong, lasting partnerships where iron sharpens iron. These characteristics carry into all our categories, which will allow us to reach our goal of being a responsible business and become the Full Family Clothing, Partner of Choice. RIVET: How are you working to make your denim factory in Pakistan more sustainable? FA: We are tackling this from a few different angles. We are working with materials which are more sustainable including BCI cotton, organic cotton as well as PCW, PIW, recycled cotton, and more. We recently joined Jeans Redesign and with our C2C hosiery products our next step would be to elevate our denim portfolio. We are also focusing on improving our processes and reducing waste like water, energy consumption, chemicals, etc. to become more sustainable. We are leveraging technology to reduce our carbon footprint with an in-house digital design center of excellence, real time tracking, integrated ERP and other industry 4.0 based initiatives. To minimize impact, we’re using vegetable dyes, eco stones, ozone washing, a robotic spray system, laser pigments, zero-chemical finishing, etc. On the comfort front, we’re using cotton-rich fabrics, Tencel, modal, nylon contents along with Lycra combinations, to name a few. RIVET: How can the industry better get a message of sustainability across? FA: Transparency! We are also working on ensuring transparency and traceability of our materials through the supply chain and will be launching two very exciting projects. We are working on direct-to-farm projects for BCI cotton and organic cotton. We are also contributors towards the Organic Cotton Accelerator (OCA)—a global multi-stakeholder platform committed to unleashing organic cotton’s potential for positive impact, from field to fashion, for people and planet. Both projects focus on ensuring material integrity, farmer wellbeing and supply chain security enabled by our proprietary technology establishing traceability to the farm level.
Nothing but Net Companies are rolling out net-zero commitments, but what are they, and why now? words _____ KATE NISHIMURA
As fashion continues to contend with its well-documented environmental impact, many firms are trotting out terminology to underscore their efforts. From “carbon neutral” to “waste-free,” brands are readily adopting catchy claims about sustainability. The latest piece of eco-jargon to hit the sector is “net-zero,” often used to describe the aspirational state of a company’s carbon emissions. While the idea of bringing ecological output down to nil is undeniably appealing, it’s considerably less clear how brands might hope to hit that target—or even what it really means. “When brands commit to ‘net-zero,’ they generally mean they are only going to emit as many greenhouse gases as they offset through other means,” Jason Kibbey, CEO of sustainability insights platform Higg, explained. “They achieve this in a variety of ways, such as using renewable energy sources, using manufacturing technologies that reduce emissions, and sometimes using carbon offsets—purchased credits earned from carbon-sequestering actions like planting trees.”
Achieving net-zero emissions and reaching carbon neutrality are two sides of the same coin, with the goal of mitigating climate change. The Paris Climate Agreement stipulates that global warming must be limited to well below 2 degrees Celsius compared to pre-industrial levels to achieve a climate-neutral—or temperature-stable—planet by the middle of the century. While achieving net-zero emissions is an admirable, if not necessary, goal, Kibbey stressed that brands “can’t offset their way to a better future or buy their way out of a crisis.” Maintaining the status quo operationally while purchasing credits toward reforestation projects and clean energy won’t ultimately undo the damage they continue to inflict upon the world’s ecology, he argued. “In fashion, offsets are not a substitute for value chain emissions reductions, and we encourage companies to prioritize targeting and eliminating their direct and indirect emissions.” Companies must broaden their influence beyond their own operations if they hope to achieve net-zero status. Stakeholders throughout a company’s value chain must be pulled into the conversation if a brand hopes to have a true impact. “Any fashion company that isn’t measuring and reducing their Scope 3 emissions, regardless of offsetting measures, isn’t doing enough,” he said. The Environmental Protection Agency defines Scope 3 emissions as outputs from contracted factory operations, transport of goods, business travel, fuel and energy for production and end-of-life treatment of goods. Higg’s stance is that brands shouldn’t stop at promising to zero out their emissions but aim to set “climate positive” goals that “renew and replenish earth’s resources” rather than relying on offsets. Objectives might include transitioning to renewable energy, revamping manufacturing operations for maximum energy efficiency, recycling water and limiting water waste, and recycling waste rather than sending it to landfill. “This would lower the risk that net zero commitments are seen as a marketing ploy and contribute to the well-being of communities around the world,” Kibbey said. “There are so many of these terms out there right now—there’s zero carbon, carbon neutral, climate positive, and net zero emissions,” said Cindy J. Lin, Hey Social Good founder and CEO. According to Lin, a former EPA ecologist who launched her platform to help verify brands’ sustainability and ethics claims, the idea behind reaching net zero emissions is essentially to balance global carbon output with the greenhouse gases that are removed organically—and through human intervention—from the atmosphere. “We’ve been spilling so much more carbon into our ecosystem than it can naturally remove,” she said.
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While she believes that “most brands are genuine about wanting to solve this problem,” Lin believes that homing in on nebulous claims could end up doing more harm than good. “They love to talk about [net zero] because it feels like a simple, digestible concept,” she said. “But I think for the consumer, it’s super confusing because they’re couching their efforts in these terms that mean nothing” without proper context, she said. To explain the significance of a net zero commitment, brands must first level with shoppers about the environmental impact of their operations and what their carbon output looks like. Few have taken that step. What’s more, Lin said, “As a scientist and someone who’s been in this space working on the regulatory side, I do feel like just focusing on net zero emissions is not sufficient.” Carbon emissions are just one of “hundreds” of ills that the industry needs to right, from wasting water to dumping tons of material waste into landfills each year. Like Kibbey, Lin believes brands are relying too heavily on carbon offsets to mitigate their impact, rather than making changes to the ways they and their supply chain partners operate. “If we focus on eliminating pollution and stop actions that emit outward discharge, then we can truly —CINDY J. LIN, HEY SOCIAL GOOD get to net zero, but we can’t get there if we only focus on one tool,” she said. Adam Taubenfligel, founder and creative director of Los Angeles-based denim brand Triarchy believes that making a concrete commitment to curb waste is the best bet for denim-head designers looking to do good. Triarchy has signed onto Jeanologia and Cone Denim’s Mission Zero program, which aims to eliminate wastewater, toxic chemicals and fabric waste from the denim supply chain by 2025, as well as offsetting all remaining carbon impacts through environmental programs and renewable energy credits. According to Taubenfligel, Triarchy has long been repurposing its factory scraps, sending any fabric cuttings back to their mill to be respun into yarns to produce more fabric “That's something we implemented a while ago, and we're really strict about it,” he said. “We just keep repurposing whatever would become waste.”
“We’ve been spilling so much more carbon into our ecosystem than it can naturally remove.”
The denim brand has also been a pioneer in managing chemical and water usage, eliminating the polluting acids and potassium permanganate used to create coveted commercial washes from its repertoire altogether. “That's why our wash library is so much smaller than other brands,” he explained, noting that the brand is working on developing sustainable methods for achieving the looks buyers desire most. But both buyers and consumers invested in sustainability must adjust their expectations, Taubenfligel opined, in terms of brand offerings as well as pricing. Creating more eco-friendly options requires significant investment, and some washes may prove to be an impossibility without the use of archaic and environmentally damaging methods. The fight for sustainability won’t be without sacrifices—and it’s not just up to brands to make them. While the company works to slash material waste and cut its use of chemicals, it is also engaged with Green Story, a platform that measures environmental impact and aids brands in offsetting their carbon footprint. “They do an analysis of all of our production, literally per garment,” Taubenfligel said. They calculate emissions based off how our cotton is grown, how much water is used, how we process our denim, how we cut, sew and wash the final garment and ship to the consumer— and then we offset the carbon for each pair,” he said. Currently, Triarchy is donating to carbon offset projects like a water treatment facility in Cambodia, a wind power plant in Turkey, and a reforestation effort in California. While Taubenfligel believes offsets are a positive and necessary part of the brand’s sustainability roadmap, he also insisted that taking “small, actionable steps” within the supply chain is necessary to moving the needle on environmental action. Mission Zero has laid out a concise set of goals for the industry he said—“an applicable way for denim brands to be mindful of their consumption and to work towards common goal.” “It’s not making claims and statements about who we’re going to be and what we’re going to do,” he said, avoiding the use of terms like carbon neutral and net zero. “We all know the only really sustainable brand would be one that doesn’t exist.”
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Hard Goals With a Soft Touch “Open up any news source today and you can be sure to come across terms such as carbon and net zero, and this has become a major focus for the Lenzing Group,” said Michael Kininmonth, business development project manager, Lenzing, best known for its environmentally responsible TENCEL™ fiber portfolio. “The world needs to transition to a zero-carbon economy, and Lenzing is one of more than 1,000 businesses that are working with the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) to reduce their emissions in line with climate science.” Here, Kininmonth tells Rivet about its initiatives and timeline.
RIVET: What are you goals for Lenzing’s Carved in Blue blog, now in its fifth year? Michael Kininmonth: What started out as a platform to highlight initiatives of the Lenzing Denim Team has taken on a life of its own for the denim community as a whole. More recently, we added our YouTube Channel—Blue Lenz—for videos as well as our Blue Cast podcast highlighting the best of the industry. We just held our first annual Blue Lenz Denim Video Awards at Bluezone Munich Fabric Start. Our expert panel of judges selected nine winners in the various categories from more than 300 videos amassed on Blue Lenz. Hopefully the 2nd annual awards will be even bigger! RIVET: TENCEL™ has always met demand for softness and comfort. What’s new here? MK: The fundamental physics of TENCEL™ has not changed since its launch. Due to the manufacturing process, TENCEL™ has a fibrillar structure, a smooth surface and circular cross-section all of which contribute to fabric touch and fabric drape. The word “softness” is actually quite complex both to describe and measure. TENCEL™ is smooth and lean, whereas Modal is spongy and bulky. Both may be described as “soft.” What is new is all the sustainability issues that Lenzing is trying to address. RIVET: What are some of your latest sustainability and technology initiatives? MK: Apart from carbon there is a whole host of issues and initiatives that we are involved with including SAC, ZDHC, Canopy, SBTi, EU Ecolabel and Accelerating Circularity. Since 2019, Lenzing has been using the blockchain technology powered by the Hong Kong start-up TextileGenesis™ to ensure the traceability of textiles from fiber to production and distribution. Following several successful pilot projects, the digital platform was launched in November 2020 for TENCEL™ and LENZING™ ECOVERO™ branded fibers. The platform provides customers and partners as well as consumers with an overview across the entire textile supply chain. A follow-up program and field trials are being held with four leading sustainable brands (H&M, ArmedAngels, Mara Hoffman and Chicks) and supply chain players from 10 countries in three regions.
RIVET: What’s in the pipeline for Lenzing? Michael Kininmonth: September 2021 sees the first anniversary of the launch of carbon-zero TENCEL™ branded fibers, and to their credit, several fabric mills have completely converted their sourcing of TENCEL™ over to the carbon-zero variant. This will be a major focus for the denim team in 2022, and a further incentive for the denim industry is that the carbon-zero TENCEL™ branded fiber concept has been expanded into REFIBRA™ technology, in order to address the growing industry demand around “circular fashion” and carbon neutrality. Other projects directly relevant for the denim industry in 2022 will be TENCEL™ Modal with Indigo Technology and TENCEL™ Matte.
RIVET: Do you think that consumers will increasingly expect—and demand—an emphasis on sustainability from fashion brands and that circular business models will be mandatory? MK: Yes, but more than consumer recognition, it is greenwashing that is now under the spotlight more than ever before. Even governments, such as Germany and UK, are starting to act. UK regulators have warned businesses they have until the New Year to make sure their green claims comply with the law. Those that don’t, risk facing fines and other penalties as part of a clamping down on greenwashing by the authorities—with fashion and textiles a priority sector under the microscope. For too long there has been too much talk and too little action. Or action that goes unrewarded. In our industry, sustainability is still widely misunderstood, misinterpreted and misevaluated. So, I am optimistic that this type of dialogue is now front and center.
A NEW SPIN ON DENIM
Tipping the Scale Made-to-order denim brands must overcome price barriers to scale their businesses. w o r d s _____KATE NISHIMURA
The apparel sector at large has long been guilty of overproducing, resulting in massive amounts of textile waste being dumped into landfills each year. Even in the 21st century, gauging consumer demand is more an art than a science, and most companies tend to overshoot the mark rather than risk missing sales. While unsold goods spell bad news for brands’ bottom lines, the damage being done to the world’s ecology is becoming impossible to ignore. Shoppers have cottoned onto fast fashion’s waste making ways over the course of the past decade and are eager to become a part of the solution, rather than perpetuate a broken cycle with catastrophic environmental ramifications.
As the denim industry looks to make less waste, purveyors of made-to-measure jeans are becoming a bigger part of the sustainability dialogue. In recent years, the idea of bespoke apparel made on-demand has gone from a quaint idea to a potential antidote to the industry’s longheld toxic M.O. The philosophy essentially eliminates fashion waste by producing only what shoppers order, and promises a better, more personalized product that they’re more likely to enjoy for years to come. The issue? Scale. If it were easy and affordable to create the perfect-fitting pair of jeans for every shopper, off-the-rack shopping would likely become obsolete. But denim brands are still in the early stages of made-toorder jeans becoming a reality for the masses.
UNSPUN San Francisco and Hong Kong-based madeto-measure denim brand and manufacturer Unspun relies on a proprietary algorithm and digital fit technology to generate its custom-
fitted jeans. According to co-founder and CEO Walden Lam, the four-year-old company aims to provide a scalable solution to solve one of the biggest issues leading to apparel waste— poorly-fitted pants. Bottoms are often a pain point for shoppers, he said, as mass-market options consider just a few measurements, rather than a shopper’s true shape. Using the Unspun app, which relies on TG3D’s fit technology, consumers can generate a personalized avatar that pinpoints multiple measurements, ensuring that the jeans they receive are tailored to the nuances of their bodies. As of this spring, they can even virtually customize a pair of jeans with preferences for drape, hem length and more. While the company’s value proposition seems obvious, Unspun did face initial headwinds, Lam said. Consumers have been conditioned to expect instant gratification from their shopping experiences, which simply defies possibility when it comes to made-to-measure jeans. In the beginning, it took between three to four weeks to produce a pair and ship them to a shopper. Lam said that time has been cut down 31
to about two weeks, which shoppers seem much more willing to abide. It has also been consistently challenging to find manufacturing partners willing to work to the company’s comparatively demanding specifications, with so many more measurements to factor in than the average off-the-rack pair of jeans. “The initial barriers were definitely supply chain related—finding manufacturers who were willing to do this and commit resources and invest in it,” he said. “I think the perception of on-demand is that you can turn on a switch overnight” and see the supply chain transformed, Lam said of brands’ initial expectations for Unspun’s technology. But with multiple seasons under its belt and a growing interest in sustainability pervading the industry at large, savvy brands now “self-select” to work with Unspun, Lam added, often leveraging their existing manufacturing infrastructure to facilitate the partnership. “When they commit to this, they already know that this is not just about changing a button on a website—it involves multiple stakeholders, from retail to the user experience to the back-end supply chain, and even ordering fabrics for production,” he added. Now, the biggest hurdle the company faces is in readying a firm’s supply chain for the different needs of on-demand production. While the made-to-order system means that there’s technically no product waste, demand planning and coordination is still a must, as brands can’t be caught flat-footed when orders roll in. “Obviously, it's not as rigid as the original system where you produce hundreds of thousands of units, but there’s still quite a bit of nuance in forecasting demand and ensuring supply chain readiness,” he said. One successful—and ongoing— partnership Unspun has forged is with Swedish global fashion firm H&M, which leveraged the company’s made-to-measure technology for its Weekday brand’s denim collection, releasing four styles that shoppers could customize. Now, Unspun is collaborating with the fast fashion titan once again on an undisclosed project in Stockholm. “H&M is special and unique in that they have a close relationship with their suppliers, and are therefore able to influence their manufacturers to try this out,” Lam said. “I think culturally, they’re quite open-minded, and open to collaborating with multiple stakeholders.” A behemoth like H&M also has the wherewithal to bring in technology vendors to help scale the on-demand system, where smaller brands that are interested in partnering with Unspun often rely on the company to help manage supply chain tracking, he said. 32
When it comes to Unspun’s in-house brand, Lam said one of the company’s biggest learnings has been that when it comes to personalized products, less is more. “I think in the early days, we were probably emphasizing the customization aspect a bit too much,” he said adding that “When the technology is there, there’s a temptation is to use it.” But in offering shoppers scores of washes, fits and details to choose from, the company learned that what they were actually craving was curation. “Most layman customers want your guidance,” Lam said, so that they don’t end up purchasing a skinny jean in rigid Japanese selvedge denim, for example, not knowing that the style would be virtually impossible to wear. Shoppers might have preferences on cut and color, but they’re coming to Unspun chiefly
“We just realized that for a lot of customers, custom sounds great but it’s so much work.” —RAY LI, SENE CO-FOUNDER & CEO
because of the guarantee that their jeans will be built for their bodies and designed for them alone. While a shopper might know that skinny jeans flatter their figure best, it’s up to Unspun to manage the nuances of fit and deliver a product that removes the guesswork. “It’s all about living up to their subjective expectation, and what a style means for customers,” Lam said.
SENE Los Angeles-based lifestyle brand Sene is both a tony boutique and a cutting-edge, technology-driven startup. Grounded in the idea of democratizing custom apparel, the company’s denim-focused business relies on a 60-second “Smart Fit” quiz on its website to determine a shopper’s perfect fit. When shopping online, consumers need only add items to their cart, and the site takes care of the rest. Once a design is purchased, it takes two weeks to arrive at a shopper’s doorstep.
According to the company’s co-founder and CEO, Ray Li, “Traditional custom clothing is really expensive, it’s really just for men, and it’s dress clothes.” Sene aimed to simplify the process and cut costs while they were at it. “We just realized that for a lot of customers, custom sounds great but it’s so much work,” he explained. “If it’s appointment-based, you have to go somewhere,” he said, and there are labor costs baked into that process. Meanwhile, “if you try to do it from home, you need expertise with a tape measure—and that can be pretty prohibitive.” The Smart Fit quiz relies instead on basic information provided by the shopper, from height and weight to standard sizes in apparel, and an assessment of fit issues they tend to experience. The brand employs a “less is more” mentality in its conceptualization of products and collections, Li said, only putting out designs that feel both essential and functional. Denim is a wardrobe staple, and Sene has steeped itself in the heritage of the iconic fabric in the creation of its Airjeans line. “Most people consistently have fit issues, and denim in particular can be extremely frustrating, so it just made sense for us to go after the category,” he added. With a Japan-based mill partner (which also produces goods for brands like Prada and Acne), Sene developed a lightweight, stretch-denim fabrication that refuses to bag out after multiple wears. “It sort of has the comfort that you would want out of jeggings, but it actually feels like authentic denim,” he said. The Airjeans line, developed with a technology called Memory Stretch, has been a hit with on-the-go consumers who love to travel, he added. The fabrication is 90 percent cotton, 8 percent polyester and 2 percent polyurethane, Li said, and it is made with a dual-core weave to maximize recovery. The fabric serves as the optimal canvas for Sene’s denim selection, which features four styles for women—a skinny, a mom jean, a straight and a wide-leg fit—and one straightleg style for men that can be customized for a tailored or very slim fit. The small range is intentional, Li said, and a necessity for custom-tailored, on-demand brands to make the model viable. Limitless options would bog down Sene’s operations and overwhelm shoppers. While keeping the assortment tight ultimately means that consumers have fewer choices, it’s more important to be able to pinpoint the pair they need, rather than saddle them with countless options. “A lot of the time with custom shops, you can customize your thread and everything,” he said. “With us, the design is not customizable— only the fit is. We have a super-curated collection and focus on a thoughtfully limited set of options, just the best of the best.”
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How Size-Inclusive SELF-FIT Denim Reduces Returns and Unsold Items Naveena Denim Mills wants to amplify the positive impact it has on the denim industry with the launch of its Holistic Denim concept, knowing that the success of sustainability is still tied to understanding customer needs. While protecting the environment is the first priority, Naveena knew that it needed to deliver a product that would be relevant to the “here and now” of what consumers want. Aydan Tuzun, executive director of sales and marketing, Naveena Denim Mills, tells Rivet more about the Holistic Denim launch and how Polygiene anti-microbial treatments help its fabrics “stay fresh.”
Complementing the sustainable materials are low-impact processes. Our HORIZON process, which combines Ecolean and Aqualter dyeing and H2NO finishing, saves 80 percent more water, 50 percent more steam and 50 percent more energy compared to conventional processes. The process also reduces effluents and recycles and reuses wastewater. Per pair of jeans, 12 liters of water are saved. Holistic Denim materials are also laser-friendly with no back staining and improved crocking. Additionally, the denim achieves a 40 percent better Environmental Impact Measurement (EIM) score. RIVET: How does the Stays Fresh technology help reduce denim’s impact on the environment? AT: Consumer use stands for the majority, approximately two-thirds, of the environmental footprint of a garment. We had been looking for a way to have a positive impact on this important part of the lifecycle of garments, and discovered Polygiene along the way. The Polygiene technology that we use in our Stays Fresh fabrics makes clothes stay fresh and odor-free so they can be washed less frequently. It is a treatment based on a silver-salt solution that can make it impossible for bacteria to multiply. The result—it stops the odor at the source to make your items stay fresh, and it works for the lifetime of the garment. There are several benefits. If we all wash less, we reduce our carbon footprint, extend the life of our clothing and save energy, water, time and money. We calculate that with Polygiene, by only skipping three washes, a consumer can save 40 percent water, 45 percent energy and 1.5 hours per week, which totals nine days in a year and nearly $500 in annual cost savings. All while getting a longer-lasting item.
RIVET: What are you looking to accomplish with the Holistic Denim concept launch? Aydan Tuzun: Holistic Denim brings together several low-impact materials and processes in a new line that leverages today’s sustainable technologies. It reflects our mill’s comprehensive approach to sustainable development. Today, we are convinced that we really need to find ways of amplifying our impact, in the sense that our products should really be relevant to "here and now" to accelerate change. The end products are sustainable and relevant to our market realities—bridging the gap between design and real-life experience. The low-impact materials we are using include organic or postconsumer waste (PCW) cotton, Tencel, CiCLO or LYCRA(R) Ecomade. Hemp is also an important sustainable fiber, as it grows two-to-three times faster than cotton, has no need for pesticides and requires 70 percent less water. Additionally, it provides anti-bacterial properties.
RIVET: On the fashion/technology side, what are some of the newest denim developments at Naveena? AT: We recently launched our SELF-FIT technology, a part of WRAPTECH 2.0 fabrics, offering products that fit different body types and sizes. At the same time, they guarantee comfort, help prevent product returns, and decrease the number of unsold items sent to landfills. This technology offers a very effective cure against returns due to sizing issues, saving retailers a lot of money but also giving them more flexibility and foresight in terms of inventory management. The fabrics are adaptable to any silhouette with excellent shape-retention and recovery. For brands, this means fewer product returns, lower restocking expenses and a better inventory management for the environment. It also means lower carbon emissions from transportation and more durable, long-wear garments.
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SHOW & TELL The popularity of haul videos underscores the voyeuristic and real-life thrill of thrifting. w o r d s _____CHUCK DOBROSIELSKI
First popularized on YouTube, thrift haul videos, which take viewers on a thrifter’s shopping journey and usually end with a recap of what they purchased, found a new home and audience when TikTok entered the scene a few years ago. There, the videos have become “a major trend” with the platform’s younger-skewing audience, according to Hana Ben-Shabat, founder of the research and advisory firm Gen Z Planet and author of the recently published book, “Gen Z 360: Preparing for the Inevitable Change in Culture, Work, and Commerce.” 35
“If you want to look at the broader population, you could still argue that it’s some sort of niche, but it’s a niche that is growing very quickly,” Ben-Shabat said. In the short few years since TikTok’s launch, secondhand sales have soared. By January 2018—months after its launch the prior September—the video-centric app had surpassed 11.2 million active monthly users in the U.S., according to the lawsuit it filed against then-President Donald Trump last year. That number more than tripled by October the following year. By August 2020, TikTok said, it had reached roughly 100 million monthly U.S. users. Approximately half of that base were daily active users. As TikTok soared to relevance, so did secondhand shopping. From 2018 to 2021, ThredUp and GlobalData estimate, the sector has grown from $24 billion to $36 billion. By 2025, they forecast it will reach $77 billion. Much of this projected growth they attribute to gains in resale, the sector that includes more curated assortments, rather than traditional thrift and donation. Still, establishing a causal link from TikTok’s rise to secondhand sales is an inevitably fraught exercise. Importantly, appetite for thrifting and resale were on the rise long before TikTok. According to ThredUp’s 2021 Resale Report, the secondhand sector stood at just $12 billion in 2013, half of what it reached in 2018. What is clear, however, is that the younger generation is leading the way on both fronts. Fifty-three percent of millennials and Gen Z said they’ll spend more on secondhand in the next five years compared to 42 percent of all consumers, ThredUp said. In 2020, 42 percent of millennials and Gen Z said they were shopping secondhand apparel, versus 32 percent and 16 percent of Gen X and Boomers, respectively. Likewise, younger users dominate TikTok. According to a report put out by the Pew Research Center in April, 48 percent of U.S. adults ages 18 to 29—a cohort that includes elder Gen Zers and young millennials—say they use TikTok. Of those ages 18 to 24, 55 percent said the same. Just 21 percent of the overall adult population use the platform. Twitter, by comparison, is used by 23 percent of U.S. adults and 42 percent of those ages 18 to 29. According to Buffalo Exchange, a resale retail chain with more than 40 stores, Gen Z “definitely” makes up a large portion of its customer base. “As both Instagram and TikTok have grown, they’ve definitely helped to spread the good word about thrifting,” a company representative said. A good thrift haul, they added, “absolutely [has] the power to inspire
people who are unfamiliar with secondhand shopping to go check out their local thrift or resale store.” At the same time, Buffalo Exchange also attributed the mainstreaming of thrifting to customers’ desire to mitigate their impact on the Earth. “Back when we first started in 1974, we had more of a niche customer base and there was more of a stigma against secondhand clothing,” the company said. “Nowadays, people are more aware of their impact on the environment and are looking for ways to lead a more sustainable lifestyle.” Ben-Shabat highlighted thrifting’s sustainability as well. “The massive social and environmental impact of the fashion industry,” she said, is a “major driver” for Gen Z. “There is no doubt about this,” she said. “People recognize that there is a high cost for the low-cost garments that we are buying and that fast fashion is a slow killer of the environment.” However, Ben-Shabat acknowledged that altruism is not the only factor motivating Gen Z. For a generation “obsessed with individuality and being unique,” she said, thrifting provides a perfect answer. “You'll find items that are two decades old, and the chances that anyone among your friends is going to have that item is kind of close to zero.” On top of this, the process of thrifting and reselling “speaks perfectly” to Gen Z’s costconscious and entrepreneurial tendencies, she said. “You buy cheap and then you can make money on what you buy by reselling it,” BenShabat added. “So, you save money and you make money at the same time and you make a statement by being unique.”
Y2K AND ‘RECYCLED REFERENCES’ FLOURISH
With the millions of eyes tuned into TikTok’s library of thrift haul videos—the hashtags “thrifthaul” and “thrifting” have received more than 760 million and 2.5 billion views, respectively—it’s no surprise that the ’90s and Y2K styles popularized there have flourished. And as thrifters sell their goods on Depop, WGSN Insight senior strategist Cassandra Napoli said, buyers often return to TikTok to share their finds, further amplifying the predominant trends. “The widespread use of social media and the design of these platforms (look to the endless loop of content on TikTok’s For You Page) have accelerated the speed of trends and nostalgia,” Napoli added. “With audiences consuming so much content, they are exhibiting nostalgia for recycled references and moments in the short-term past.” In particular, Napoli noted the rise of “poppunk aesthetics.” Accelerated by the “emotional turmoil of lockdown” and the rise of Gen Z stars like “Drivers License” singer Olivia Rodrigo, she said there has been a shift to the pop-punk looks of the early 2000s and 2010s. “This is capturing both Gen Z and nostalgic millennials who are longing for the simplicity of that era, when many of them were still teens,” she added. Ben-Shabat stressed that Gen Z’s penchant for ’90s and Y2K fashion is not just about imitating the past, but also using the past as inspiration to create something “very much of the moment.” “It’s more, ‘How do I get something from the past and bring it to the present and mix and match it and create something that is very unique and very niche,’” she said.
“As both Instagram and TikTok have grown, they’ve definitely helped to spread the good word about thrifting.” —BUFFALO EXCHANGE COMPANY REPRESENTATIVE
Officina+39 Loves It When The Industry Acts Together “After the pandemic hit the world, the gap between those still tied to old-fashioned ways and those who instead believe in a different future is increasing, confirming that a responsible change is the only way forward,” says Andrea Venier, managing director, Officina+39. Here, Venier tells Rivet why the industry needs to act together, and why more transparent, sustainable, durable and quality products are the right approach to find new opportunities for the future.
RIVET: 'Act Together' is the motto you coined with Lenzing and Meidea. How are you collaborating with other industry players? Andrea Venier: Officina+39 works hard so that the industry can have a "positive" and "contagious" (as in cross-fertilization) call to action for change. We are proud of our partnership with Lenzing and Meidea, which, under the “Act Together” motto gave life to The Circle Book— an inspirational look book of low-impact apparel for today’s consumer needs. This shows it is possible to create designs and projects related to responsible circular fashion. We launched our second edition this year and look forward to a new interpretation for 2022. Creativity is what can give us the tools and confidence to redesign the world around us, and The Circle Book has been a great example in this regard, aimed at designers and brands to help them trace a new way of designing. RIVET: Obviously playing off the words trust and sustainable, what is your Trustainable™ mission all about? AV: Trustainable™ stands for our ethical mindset. It means much more than “sustainability” alone—a term that has been abused in recent years—it’s innovation, sustainable practices, clean information, transparency and social responsibility. Circularity and sustainability are at the heart of our DNA and activity, but we keep raising the bar. Our Trustainable™ mission focuses on the
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Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) on the UN agenda 2030 to make sure innovation moves in the right direction. Water plays a special role in the textile industry, and we are particularly interested in SDG6: water and sanitation. Our processes can reduce water consumption and foster water conservation: our AQUALESS mission is a perfect example as it allows for savings up to 75 percent of the water typically used in denim and garment laundry processes. We have recently become a bluesign® partner, a prestigious network attesting to Officina+39’s commitment to better and safer solutions and technologies. Our patented dyeing technology RECYCROM™ allows us to obtain new pigment dyestuff from pulverizing discarded garments and pieces usually difficult to recover through tailoring transformation alone. We are also founding and supporting several collective projects that enhance circularity through a collaborative approach. RIVET: As early 2000s denim returns, how do you re-create those retro effects and colors now that sustainability is a priority? AV: We can achieve the same looks with our Trustainable™ technology, without sacrificing the environment. RECYCROM™ offers so many opportunities when it comes to color, using 100-percent recycled textile materials for many different effects. Through our production process, fabric fibers are crystallized into an incredibly fine powder that can be used as a pigment dye for fabrics and garments made of cotton, wool, nylon or any natural fiber and blend. For color, besides the standard dye effects, we also provide Eco Marble–which obtains acid wash looks or frosted colored effects in a simple and ecological way, recreating unique styles that normally require a lot of water, dyestuffs and harmful chemicals– and multiple, different screen-printing options. RIVET: How does your collaboration with Atelier Riforma save water and waste with the Aqualess Mission and RECYCROM™ technology? AV: Atelier Riforma collects discarded clothing, and with a network of upcycling professionals throughout Italy, they give them new life through sartorial creativity. Officina+39’s RECYCROM™ makes it possible to give color and new life to pre-loved garments, without using any new raw materials.
ANOTHER YEAR WISER Mavi may be celebrating its “dirty thirty” this year, but the denim brand’s production has never been cleaner. words _____A N G E L A V E L AS Q U E Z
Mavi, which means “blue” in Turkish, has stayed true to its meaning and its mission to produce quality men’s and women’s jeans since it launched 30 years ago in Istanbul. The denim industry’s definition of “quality,” however, has evolved into one that prioritizes sustain-able production methods, enduring designs and opportunities to give back to people and the planet. Mavi has stepped up to the challenge with lifestyle collections made with organic cotton, preconsumer recycled cotton, Tencel and water-saving wash techniques. The company’s annual Indigo Turtle Project tees support the Ecological Research Society’s efforts to protect endangered sea tur-tles, and its first Pride collection launched this summer benefited two LGBTQI charitable organizations, the U.S.-based Ali Forney Center, and Canada-based Egale Canada. With 4,500 points of sales in 33 countries, Mavi has touchpoints to share these stories and more across various consumer demographics. The brand’s next collection for Spring/Summer 2022 is its most sustainable to date with a wider selection of fabrics made with recycled cotton, organic cotton and Tencel. It is also an example of how the brand is responding to consumer demand for new fits. Balloon, tapered and wide-leg jeans, as well as oversized shackets are among the Gen Z-oriented styles. Here, Arkun Durmaz, president of Mavi North America, reflects on the lessons learned during Mavi’s first 30 years and what’s next as it settles into its more sustainable future. 39
RIVET: How is Mavi’s 2021 going so far compared to its 2020? ARKUN DURMAZ: 2021 has been a strong year for us. Sales are comparable to 2019 and we are on track for exceeding our original targets. RIVET: How have the values of Mavi consumers evolved during the last 30 years? AD: Mavi’s fit, comfort, and quality are at the heart of every fan, new or old. But it’s our efforts to responsibly manage our environmental footprint and social impact that’s driving new interest and loyalty. RIVET: How is the brand marking its 30th anniversary? AD: We continue to expand our All Blue collection: denim that’s made from organic, recycled, and plant-based fabrics and fibers like Tencel, using the cleanest processes that consume less water and less energy. All Blue is also the global strategy that is driving the brand forward with a deep-rooted respect for people, nature, and innovation. RIVET: What is your outlook for denim sales in the U.S. versus overseas? AD: Mavi denim sales are strong globally, and we are seeing a high demand for our latest silhouettes for women. RIVET: What has been the biggest gamechanger in Mavi’s 30-year history, and why? AD: Over our 30-year history, technology has paved the way for cleaner production, better materials, smarter use of resources, and a data-rich culture to support decision making across all parts of our business. RIVET: What qualities do you look for in suppliers? AD: The most important quality is that our partners are consistent, innovative, and able to meet our standards of sustainability. RIVET: Mavi has 4,500 points of sale worldwide. Which market is the most adventurous when it comes to trying new trends? And which shows the most interest in sustainability? AD: With over 400 corporate stores, our Turkish customers are probably most adventurous when it comes to new trends, and I would say that most of our customers worldwide seem extremely interested in sustainability. RIVET: There’s a lot of buzz about consumers’ new preference for looser fitting jeans. Is Mavi seeing this shift? AD: Absolutely and in a big way. Skinny jeans will always be a wardrobe staple, but the popularity for these wider, more relaxed silhouettes started very early and we are seeing 4040
a strong demand for it. We’ve met the trend and have seen great success with our higherrise voluminous and relaxed styles in our sustainable All Blue fabrics, which give a true denim look in ’90s inspired washes. Our strongest performers include the Barcelona, a vintage inspired wide-leg jean with a high rise that fits through the hip and thigh and widens at the knee to a cropped, unfinished hem; the Soho is our high rise girlfriend that contours at the hip with a slim straight leg that tapers at the knee; the Luna is our retro ’80s balloon fit with a contoured high rise that hugs the waist and curves dramatically through the legs; and the Victoria high rise features a slim fit through the hips and gradual flare into a wide leg with a raw hem. RIVET: What do you think are some the jeanswear trends that will be popular in 2022? AD: The momentum for wider and looser silhouettes in vintage and ’90s washes will continue to be a top trend as will the demand
for denim that feels good enough to live in. You’ll see these styles paired with fabrics that offer comfort in a rigid look, and flares and bootcuts will also find their way back to the forefront. For men’s, textured secondary fabrics for will remain in demand. Consumers will continue to call on—and call out—brands to move their sustainability efforts for-ward and there will be more of a targeted focus on products designed using not only the best materials, but also the most ethical processes, for the planet. RIVET: Regarding sustainability, what’s next for Mavi? AD: The global team is currently working on a sustainability self-assessment, and road map for short-and long-term sustainability goals. RIVET: In what ways is the company the same as it was 30 years ago? AD: Beyond being laser focused on quality, Mavi continues to be a work home for our team members, not just a place to work.
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CORDURA® Celebrates a Decade of Denim 2021 marks the 10th anniversary since the introduction of durable CORDURA® technology into the technical denim space—an innovation which it pioneered with Artistic Milliners. Because of this anniversary, CORDURA® is calling the last 10 years The Decade of Denim. As it looks back at the last 10 years, CORDURA® examines how this sector differs from others, and how it has gained greater understanding of denim's particular needs. As the decade progressed, CORDURA® along with its partner mills continued to explore and engineer concepts for the denim world aimed at 'pushing performance' to higher and higher levels, and educating consumers to 'demand more from what they wear.' Some defining moments from the Decade of Denim include: Levi’s® Skateboarding Collection, Award-winning denim for Millet, ‘Authentic Alchemie,’ Forged Denim for Black Diamond, The ‘X Venture Collexion,’ Mountain Hardwear’s ‘Hard Denim,’ The ‘Remastered Collection,’ ‘Imagination Without Limitation’ Collection, Cone White Oak x CORDURA® Selvage Denim, ‘Supercharged Noir’ by Artistic Milliners, the launch of Dovetail ‘No Fade’ Denim, and the launch of CORDURA® Hemp Denim from Artistic Milliners. "We're really excited about this latest development with CORDURA® Hemp Denim and extend a big 'thank you' to our partners at Artistic Milliners for bringing this to fruition," said Cindy McNaull, CORDURA® brand business development director. “Like us, Artistic Milliners was quick to appreciate that hemp offers the benefits of enhanced abrasion resistance, tensile and tear strength—three qualities which align to the long-lasting performance platform of the CORDURA® brand.
RIVET: What drives the combination of CORDURA® Denim durability with the increased consumer demand for comfort and flexibility? Cindy McNaull: From a day at work to the commute home, to celebrating with friends at an impromptu rendezvous at a café, consumers are accustomed to staying on the go – with apparel that can keep up. Long gone are the days of garments that only have one purpose. Consumers are also seeking value in their purchases. Quality is key, from purchase experience to the garment itself. Lifestyle garments are becoming the new luxury and today’s CORDURA® Denims integrate the “best of both worlds” — softness with strength, fashion and function, durability with definition. The multifaceted performance benefits of CORDURA® Denim makes it particularly well-suited for lifestyle living, by offering an invisible layer of protection. You can push your own personal limits with CORDURA® Denim, knowing your product is stylishly durable for all occasions. RIVET: What is your approach to sustainability? CM: To create superior value for our customers, INVISTA applies the Guiding Principles of MarketBased Management® and the Stewardship Vision and Framework developed by our shareholders. This includes innovating to make products people value using fewer resources by reducing waste and emissions and increasing recyclability, improving efficiency (including energy efficiency), maintaining safety and operating responsibly. We believe that stewardship encompasses the responsible management of our actions and the resources entrusted to our care in a manner that respects the rights of others. In 2020, we released our CORDURA® Sustainability Platform. Part of that platform exhibits our efforts to innovate and work with supply chain partners committed to providing eco solutions. From brands to mills, we have publicly declared our intention to seek out those partnerships that make sustainability and cutting-edge eco fabric solutions a priority and demonstrate our ethos that Sustainability Begins with Products That Last™. RIVET: How is Cordura looking ahead to the future? CM: Experimentation, agility and entrepreneurial thinking are core values of INVISTA and the CORDURA® brand, and during this past year we have continued our focus on developing future-proof transformative tools such as our new CORDURA® Fabric Finder, a wonderful tool designed to bring our full range of certified fabric offerings to your desktop. This free resource supports collaboration and explores CORDURA® Advanced Fabric technologies. Also defining and setting the foundation for future growth and innovation is enhanced collaboration and alignment of objectives among the collective global textiles community. Trend indicators suggest that post pandemic, consumers will increasingly value protection. They are becoming more drawn to timeless products that make them feel safer, more comfortable and in control. Durability and reliability represent this attitude shift, and this mindset aligns with our long-standing mantra of creating durable advanced fabric technologies that will stand the test of time. Additionally, in the very near future, you’ll see some big news from the CORDURA® brand related to stewardship in the form of an exciting new sustainable product platform launch. Stay tuned!
HE T IS ON
In the fight against climate change, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report sounded an alarm the fashion industry needed to hear.
w o r d s _____JASMIN MALIK CHUA
Diana Rosenberg, senior manager of product sustainability at Gap, admits that the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report—the same one that experts said sounded a “code red for humanity”—stirred up a lot of emotions in her. Almost immediately, she and a colleague dashed out a company-wide memo, both to acknowledge the helplessness and despair others might be feeling and to reassure them of the roles they played in Gap’s ongoing a strategy. “We wanted to help them understand that they are environmental specialists within their own jobs, whether it’s promoting preferred fibers or working with our logistics partners to reduce our carbon footprint,” Rosenberg said. Although the clothing giant, which also owns the Athleta, Banana Republic and Old Navy brands, has already taken a “multifaceted approach” to tackle global warming as part of a long-term goal to become carbon neutral by 2050, Rosenberg said, the IPCC report has “increased the urgency and momentum” to hit its science-based targets, including powering 100 percent of Gap-owned and -operated facilities with renewable energy and slashing absolute Scope 1 and 2 greenhousegas emissions by 90 percent by 2030. Many of its labels have committed to sourcing lowerimpact materials such as recycled polyester and organic cotton. Gap is part of a groundswell of fashion businesses that are scrutinizing their contribution to the mounting climate catastrophe. Human activity, the world’s top climate scientists have agreed, is the “unequivocal” cause of rising temperatures, which are threatening to blow past 1.5 degrees Celsius from preindustrial levels within two decades, exacerbating droughts, wildfires, flooding and other weather-related crises. How much of that can be pinned on the brands is something few can agree, with estimates ranging from 4 percent to 10 percent, depending on the source. Some experts say the precise number is moot, however. “Even if they’re accountable for 1 percent, that’s 1 percent that needs to be cut,” said George Harding-Rolls, campaign adviser at Changing Markets Foundation, a corporate watchdog based in London. “We don’t have any wiggle room on the carbon budget.” If nothing changes, according to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, clothing and footwear production could eat up more than a quarter of the planet’s carbon budget by 2050. As mentions of climate change increasingly dominate headlines, so too have the number of brands and retailers touting sustainability commitments increased, whether out of a desire to benefit the greater good or a sense of self-preservation. A number have rallied
amount of Scope 1 and 2 greenhouse-gas emissions Gap Inc. aims to reduce by 2023 around multi-stakeholder agreements, such as the United Nations Fashion Industry Charter for Climate Action and the Fashion Pact, to deliver, albeit voluntarily, on goals related to renewable energy, single-use plastics, biodiversity and greenhouse-gas emissions. “Companies are very aware that their customers are often young people and so I think they are very conscious of needing to respond to [the concerns] of that demographic,” said Leila Petrie, CEO of 250, a London-based environmental consultancy firm. “I think there’s also a degree of supply chain pressure on these companies—they’re starting to realize that they need to future-proof their own value chains against climate issues and that includes addressing the impacts and vulnerabilities they see for materials and their producers.” In a sector that has thrived on profligacy and pollution, however, many pledges still fall short of making meaningful change, environmental activists argue. In a recent study of 47 leading brands and retailers by climate nonprofit Stand.earth, only three—Asics, Mammut and REI—have set climate targets robust enough to meet the scale required to align with the 1.5-degree Celsius pathway.
“The science has shown us that the worst impacts of climate changv e are around the corner unless we do something about them, and the runway for action is getting shorter and shorter every year,” said Muhannad Malas, senior climate campaigner at Stand.earth. “We have to halve emissions by 2030—that’s less than nine years from today. And not only are the promises not ambitious enough, but even those promises are not followed up with appropriate and adequate action.” One major bottleneck is the sector’s reliance on fossil fuels in manufacturing, materials and transportation. Fossil fuels, Malas said, are “basically at the heart of the industry’s emissions problem, whether it’s burning coal to power factories, fueling ships and planes to move cargo or creating materials such as polyester and nylon. Another stumbling block is brands’ outsized focus on Scope 1 and 2 emissions within their direct control when the bulk of their pollution—as much as 90 percent—stems from their suppliers. Even under Scope 3, not all impacts are equal. More than half (52 percent) of a supply chain’s carbon emissions are generated by Tier 2, or material production, according to the Apparel Impact Institute, a Californiabased industry body that identifies and funds sustainability improvements through its mill impact program in countries such as China, India, Pakistan and Vietnam. This is followed by Tier 4 (raw material extraction) at 34 percent, Tier 3 (raw material processing) at 15 percent and Tier 1 (finished product assembly) at 9 percent. Phasing out coal in favor of renewable fuels in mills is therefore vital to the success of the industry’s carbon-reduction plans, said Lewis Perkins, the group’s president. “The other stuff is important too, but that has got to be the primary focus right now,” he said. What complicates action in this area is the dearth of visibility most brands have beyond the first tier, since what doesn’t get measured doesn’t get done, Perkins said. There’s also the fact that even low-hanging energy, water or chemistry improvements require an average upfront investment of $781,000 per facility, even though most companies see a return on their investment in less than 20 months. While the Apparel Impact Institute takes a multi-stakeholder approach to financing by using a shared funding model, taking some of the weight off the mills to front all the costs, such a tack requires brands to take a long-term view with all their suppliers and not just the “preferred” ones. “We’ve got to move past the darlings, past the favorite manufacturers that we all know and tout as being sustainable and write case studies about,” Perkins said. “We love those leaders, and we’re glad they’re showing us that it can be done, but how do we make it relevant
to suppliers who have more fear around their ability to meet price points, remain competitive and keep contracts season over season? We’re going to have to come up with a longer commitment toward a lot of these facilities. Otherwise, it’s harder to leverage toward making improvements.” Arvind, which churns out cotton shirting, denim and knits in India, is one mill that has set carbon-reduction goals. By next year, the company hopes to whittle its greenhousegas emissions by 15 percent by improving energy efficiency and increasing its renewable energy mix. It’s also in the process of setting up science-based targets, which it plans to announce by the end of the year, said head of sustainability Abhishek Bansal. “Textile operations require a lot of heat and right now, at scale, carbon fuels are the only options,” Bansal said. “So, we are evaluating several technologies, which are based on solar thermal power, as well as based on alternate fuels that use renewable biomass from industrial waste or agro-processing waste.” Implementing these changes requires time, money and resources, he noted. Arvind has so far been shouldering the cost of these improvements by itself. If brands helped foot part of the bill or committed to sticking with Arvind for the long haul, the company would be able to achieve its ambitions faster and with greater confidence. “We don’t want to be in a situation in the future where we invest in everything and increase our operational costs, and then hear that we have no more support from our partners in terms of buying our fabrics or our goals,” Bansal said. “A lot of positive action can be driven if they’re willing to put their money where their mouth is.” Brands can also help by urging garmentproducing nations to deploy more renewable energy. H&M, Levi Strauss, The North Face owner VF Corp. and others did exactly that when they signed letters to the governments of Cambodia and Vietnam in 2020 warning against plans to increase coal-fired power and requesting a pilot program to purchase renewables. “Transitioning toward renewable energy isn’t something companies can do on their own; they need to have the right policy conditions in place,” said Malas from Stand. earth. “Brands need to advocate for these policies and make sure that countries where their supply chains are concentrated are not extending dirty fossil-fuel energy like coal.” At the same time, robust policies can ensure a level playing field, said Danielle Arzaga, sustainability manager at Italian denim mill Candiani. “We need these standards [to be] enforced so everyone’s playing the same game,” she said. Incentives such as tax credits for green retrofits would also be beneficial, since Candiani is constantly upgrading its
equipment, though the company still needs to formalize its climate strategy. “We have some tangible pathways forward that we can choose from, so it’s now just deciding what makes sense economically, and also what is the best way we can reduce our impact in the long term.” Coal isn’t the only thing the sector needs to watch. If current trends persist, plastic could be a bigger source of greenhouse gases than the coal industry, a study published in October by the nonprofit Beyond Plastics found. Fashion’s favorite textile, polyester, is one such plastic derived from fracked gas and coal. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Materials Systems Laboratory estimates that polyester production generated the equivalent
amount of the supply chain’s carbon emissions generated by Tier 2
of 700 million metric tons of carbon dioxide in 2015. It’s set to nearly double by 2030, when polyester is expected to dominate 85 percent of the global textiles market. “No matter how you look at polyester, it’s bad, it’s plastic,” said Paola Deda, director of forests, land and housing at the UN Economic Commission for Europe. “The fact we call it polyester is misleading; we should call it plastic for clothes.” Even recycled polyester made from castoff plastic bottles, Deda said, is “still polyester.” Like its virgin counterpart, the material will slough off microplastics with every wash, poisoning marine life, fouling waterways and entering the food chain. Despite strides in technology, recycled polyester can’t be recycled again at scale, meaning such garments will still end up in the landfill, incinerator or the environment. “It’s true that if you use recycled polyester, you’re not putting [out] new polyester, but the best would be abandoned polyester,” she added. Recycled polyester has become the “poster child” for greening synthetics, said HardingRolls from the Changing Markets Foundation, yet they’re still a drop in the “vast ocean” of virgin synthetics derived from fossil fuels. In any case, he added, the recycled discourse is often used to distract from the real elephant in the room: overproduction. “All these brands are making these commitments, and yet they are planning on massively ramping up production,” Harding-Rolls said. “We’ve doubled clothing production in the last 10 years, and that production is set to continue. We can’t be producing unlimited amounts of clothes on a finite planet.” Rosenberg from Gap understands the “inherent tension” between a brand’s need to produce and its desire to be more sustainable. “We’re one of the largest clothing companies in the world, and people do need clothes to wear,” she said. Instead of closing up shop, Rosenberg said Gap is “having the conversation of how do we promote a circular economy, how do we find new business models that promote both our health and existence as a company, how do we turn items into beloved collector items, how do we improve durability?” Some of these discussions have manifested into action. In 2020, Gap teamed up with ThredUp, which bills itself as the world’s largest online consignment and thrift store, to collect used clothing from its customers in exchange for shopping credits. Other brands have turned to repair, rental and various modes of resale to bolster bottom lines without pumping out more product. “While we have those conversations about what to do with our current production, we are simultaneously starting up other business models that we think will really support a shifting economy,” Rosenberg added.
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Why Community is Central to Success at Crescent Bahuman For more than 25 years, Crescent Bahuman Ltd. has sought to tie community into its denim manufacturing process. While the company is always seeking out new innovations for its products, what really makes the Pakistan-based manufacturer tick comes down to its focus on people, both its employees and those who live nearby. Zaki Saleemi, vice president of strategy at Crescent Bahuman Ltd., tells Rivet about why the responsible history of the denim business is so critical to the manufacturer’s operations going forward. RIVET: Crescent Bahuman Ltd. celebrated 25 years in business in 2020. What have been some of your biggest lessons/learnings regarding sustainability in that time span? Zaki Saleemi: Crescent Bahuman Ltd. (CBL) embarked on this wonderful green journey with one business philosophy. Since its inception in 1995, we’ve had a three-tiered approach focusing primarily upon people, planet and then profit. One of our biggest learnings over this time is the need to empower the people of our remote facility. As the Bahuman village is located far away from major urban centers, it was initially challenge for us to train and develop human capital, especially the working staff. But we went above and beyond to accommodate these employees, building residential housing facilities hosting more than 3,000 people. Upon recovering the land in 1992, we created a self-sustaining ecosystem out of what was initially marshlands by introducing drainage and planting more than 800,000 trees. During that time, our non-profit farming operation has planted nearly 100,000 fruit trees to provide sustenance for these residents. There is also a current paradigm shift that CBL is working to accelerate within the industry. Although it’s not the norm throughout Pakistan, we have successfully fostered a strong female workforce, and also honed their skillset to grow and bring prosperity for their families. RIVET: Alongside Diamond Denim, Crescent organized the Transformers ED denim education program. How does this program fit in with the company’s overall sustainability initiatives? ZS: Being a founding member of the Transformers Foundation is a privilege for us. We believe Transformers ED is a unique platform where sustainability and innovation are brought to the doorstep at a global level for all denim enthusiasts—students in particular. For CBL, it’s one right step toward our mission of becoming the pioneer influencer and proponent of awareness and responsibility in Pakistan’s textiles sector. RIVET: Hemp has gained traction as a sustainable alternative to cotton and other traditional raw materials. How has CBL advanced the conversation about the benefits of hemp in denim manufacturing? ZS: We have been privileged to work with leading design and sustainability consultants in the denim industry. Our prime focus has been positioning hemp as a sustainable and unique component for our fabrics. This year, we launched our “Now or Never” collection, which
is comprised of a blend of hemp fibers with Tencel and BCI-certified organic cotton. We believe more future collections will include greater hemp blends. RIVET: What will you be announcing in 2022? ZS: We are working on an index that will allow the audience to assign numerical values to fabric to determine its hand feel properties. This will complement the digital evaluation and selection of denim fabrics. Additionally, we are working on some very exciting projects that we will be sharing closer to launch. As part of our journey, CBL is developing a “smart factory” designed to improve transparency and predictability throughout the supply chain from fiber to finished jeans. With a large focus on automation and reducing our carbon footprint, CBL is leading the way towards a better product and a better future.
RIVET: On the fashion/technology side, what are some of the newest denim developments at Crescent? ZS: In our NAYA denim offering, we reduce water usage by 99 percent in the indigo dyeing process and cut it by 80 percent in finishing. We are working on fabrics that are more resilient and match the contemporary needs of comfort and extra stretch. On top of that, we are working on extra-strength fabrics to help our jeans last longer, and blending anti-bacterial elements to further create additional value for our denim products.
TURNING ANXIETY INTO ACTION A society experiencing eco anxiety is changing fashion for the better. w o r d s _____L I Z WA R R E N
Climate change activist and Gen Z hero Greta Thunberg did not mince words when calling for environmental action at the World Economic Forum in 2019 in which she famously demanded that older demographics join her in panicking. “I don’t want you to be hopeful,” she said of the climate crisis. “I want you to panic. I want you to feel the fear I feel every day.” Her climate-related dread points to a somewhat new phenomenon psychologists are noticing in a number of clients. Deemed “eco anxiety,” the disorder is classified by a chronic fear of environmental doom. Though not yet listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition (DSM-5), a diagnostic tool published by the American Psychiatric Association, it’s a real form of anxiety that will likely only continue to intensify as environmental conditions worsen. “Eco anxiety is just as real as any other anxiety in that it often involves the same physical and emotional sensations,” said Dr. Erica Dodds, chief operating officer of the Foundation for Climate Restoration, a nonprofit dedicated to restoring the climate to a pre-industrial state. “In another sense, it’s even more real, because the problem that triggers the anxiety symptoms is objectively real and massive in scale.” The triggers for eco anxiety are vast, and can include anything from witnessing a plastic bottle being improperly discarded to experiencing a devastating climate event. What’s worse, these triggers are largely unavoidable—Dodds highlighted that social media can make it feel like “every problem in the world is right in our living rooms with us.” Individuals with this disorder are constantly reminded of the looming threat to their existence, further exacerbating the issue. Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg speaks during Fridays for Future Student strike held in Milan. MAURO UJETTO/NURPHOTO VIA AP
POPULATIONS AT RISK The United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports that, in the last 130 years, the world has warmed by approximately 0.85 degree Celsius, resulting in rising sea levels, changing precipitation patterns and intensifying extreme weather events. According to the World Health Organization, climate change is expected to cause approximately 250,000 additional deaths per year between the years 2030 and 2050. And while everyone in the world theoretically faces the same fate, certain populations are more susceptible to the damaging effects of climate change and therefore are more likely to experience eco anxiety. According to a 2017 report on mental health and climate change authored by the American Psychological Association and environmental nonprofit EcoAmerica, children are physically more vulnerable to the effects of climate change due to many factors including their developing organs and nervous systems. Experiencing a climate event or an associated disruption from school or their support system during their childhood years can have a greater effect on their wellbeing than that same experience would have on adults. Generally speaking, younger people are also the group that faces the greatest climate risk, as conditions are expected to decline as time goes on. Aside from age, certain career paths are hit harder by the effects of climate change, as well. First responders, healthcare workers, agriculture workers and others see firsthand the repercussions of an environment in a constant state of decline. As their occupations put them at an increased risk of climate-related physical ailments—heat stroke from increased temperatures; pesticide exposure caused by changing insect migration patterns—they also
make them more prone to experiencing eco anxiety more intensely than others. Disadvantaged communities can also be more prone to the physical and mental effects of climate change. According to the report, some racial and ethnic groups in the U.S. are more frequently exposed to environmental risks and have fewer financial resources to buffer the impact. Communities with fewer resources and greater exposure are likely to experience higher rates of impacts than majority groups. Similarly, lower-income communities are more likely to have outdated infrastructure—lack of extreme weather warning systems; inadequate storm preparedness—and are therefore at a greater risk of experiencing climate-related impacts. “The health, economic, political and environmental implications of climate change affect all of us,” Howard S. Kurtzman, Ph.D., acting executive director for Science American Psychological Association, and Bob Perkowitz, founder and president of EcoAmerica, said in the report. “They induce stress, depression and anxiety; strain social and community relationships; and have been linked to increases in aggression, violence and crime.” On top of that, the experts pointed to associated psychological responses such as conflict avoidance, fatalism, fear, helplessness and resignation, all of which are taking a toll on society’s wellbeing.
EFFECTS ON CONSUMER BEHAVIOR The effects of a society overwhelmed with feelings of hopelessness and fear have undoubtedly impacted overall consumption habits—some for the better, and some for the worse. “Eco-anxiety can cause a lot of consumption confusion,” Dodds said. “Some people will channel their anxiety into ‘sustainable buying sprees,’ purchasing anything advertised as sustainable, zero waste, plastic-free, carbon-neutral, etc. Others focus on buying secondhand or making what they already own last as long as possible.” The secondhand market has been a popular antidote for those experiencing the effects of eco anxiety. The category has seen incredible growth over the years, and is expected to grow to $77 billion over the next five years, according to resale platform ThredUp’s 2021 Resale Report. Brands such as Levi’s, Guess and Tommy Hilfiger have joined the bandwagon, offering previously worn garments at a lower price point than their newly stocked pieces and encouraging customers to trade in their used items in exchange for a store credit. 48
“Generating desire for unnecessary items on a mass scale has no place in the future.” —ANOUCHKA GROSE, PSYCHOANALYST
Still, not all consumers are alike. The defeatist nature of eco anxiety can cause some to make little to no changes to their lifestyle. Dr. Elizabeth Haase, chair of the American Psychiatric Association’s Committee on Climate Change and Mental Health, added that eco anxiety can even trigger a scarcity mentality, causing an uptick in consumption in the name of survival— much like the anxiety and uncertainty surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic sent many on a hunt for essentials like toilet paper and bottled water.
“Sometimes people might be so anxious that they buy everything they think they might be deprived of later,” she said. “There is also some limited evidence that eco anxiety predicts compulsive buying.” To cope, Haase recommends individuals take control of what they can. “An effective response would be to consume more local items, more sustainable items, and to consume less overall,” she said. And many young consumers are doing just that. According to a study organized by trend forecasting company WGSN and presented
In addition to adopting more sustainable methods, companies must relay their efforts in a clear and educational manner. Doing so will not only help the consumer choose products accordingly, but it can also help quell their climate-related fears. However, Anouchka Grose, psychoanalyst and author of “A Guide to Eco-Anxiety: How to Protect the Planet and Your Mental Health,” warns of rampant greenwashing, as companies capitalize on consumers’ fears with little intention of making impactful changes. “Brands need to stop pathetic greenwashing and actually take the problem seriously,” she said, adding that they should also limit their push for overconsumption. “Generating desire for unnecessary items on a mass scale has no place in the future.”
Protesters at a global climate strike in Munich. ALEXANDER POHL/SIPA USA VIA AP IMAGES
at Project New York in 2020, 95 percent of respondents aged 18-25 are willing to change their habits to combat global warming, and 84 percent are willing to spend more on sustainable products. The numbers are an optimistic indication that at least some consumer segments are willing to do their part to mitigate the effects of climate change—but they can’t do it alone.
FASHION AS A SOLUTION The same study showed that Gen Z is looking to corporations to make significant changes in order to maintain their business— and they even hold brands to a standard higher than their own government: 75 percent of respondents consider brands more effective than governments in fighting climate change. Many agree that slowing the effects of climate change is a shared responsibility. According to François Souchet, global head of sustainability impact at global strategic consulting and communications agency
BPCM, all industries must step up in the fight for the environment. “One of the key issues is how historically the onus of climate action was put on people rather than on businesses—especially the most polluting businesses,” he said. “The main step is to acknowledge that although individual actions are meaningful, their impact is extremely limited and are set within the conditions of a certain system where sustainable options are not always available. What is fundamental is that corporations take positive climate action, at scale and at pace, and offer solutions that are at the same time convenient, affordable and sustainable.” Companies throughout the fashion industry are addressing society’s evolving consumption habits and sustainability focus with dedicated collections promoting more responsibly produced items. Denim companies are opting for recycled cotton as opposed to its virgin counterpart, using water-saving finishing methods and less impactful shipping services. In recent years, sustainability has gone from a nice-to-have to a requirement.
But while consumers and companies throughout the fashion supply chain have a responsibility to consume and produce more ethically, large-scale change can only be achieved with the government’s help. Thunberg is one of the most vocal activists calling for political support in pushing the industry to adopt more sustainable practices. The activist sparked a movement when she regularly left school to protest outside of the Swedish parliament for stronger action on climate change. Soon after, crowds of Gen Zers and millennials followed her lead around the world to bring attention to the severity of the issue. Some governments have already acted, with the City of Amsterdam a vocal supporter of the Denim Deal, a three-year sustainable denim initiative in which signatories commit to using at least 5 percent recycled fibers in all denim products and producing at least 3 million pairs of jeans with a minimum of 20 percent post-consumer recycled (PCR) content. The government is actively promoting the project in media and is helping to identify partners and subsidies. It plans to support the recycling stage of the process by collecting old textiles from residents and ensuring as many people as possible recycle their denim correctly. Similarly, a U.K. government-funded circularity center and research program launched in May to establish a more circular economy that supports Made in the U.K. products. While there have been significant changes to policies surrounding business’ impact on climate change, there’s much more work that must be done. “People need to know that eco anxiety is serious, and the industry can’t sidestep the problem with small tweaks,” Grose said. 49
Gen Z revives Y2K fashion with boundless energy and individuality. photography _____ LEXI E M ORELAND styling _____ LUI S CAM PUZANO AND THOM AS WALLE R
LEFT: MIA VESPER LONG-SLEEVE TOP; FAITH CONNEXION T-SHIRT; HEAVEN BY MARC JACOBS JEANS; GCDS BEANIE; PRADA SUNGLASSES; MICHAEL MICHAEL KORS BELT; HAVVA BOOTS; ELSIE FRIEDA EARRINGS AND BRACELETS; RINGS BY ANNELE, ACCHITTO AND BONBONWHIMS; NECKLACES BY BEA BONGIASCA, JOEY BABY AND ROXANNE ASSOULIN. RIGHT: WRANGLER JACKET; PISTOLA DRESS; TEDDY FRESH MOCK NECK T-SHIRT; LEE JEANS; KELSEY RANDALL BOOTS; ELSIE FRIEDA EARRINGS; NECKLACES BY BEA BONGIASCA, JOEY BABY AND ELISE FRIEDA; RINGS BY BONBONWHIMS, EMRI, BEA BONGIASCA, ACCHITTO, HOLLY DYMENT AND MISHO; BRACELETS BY ROXANNE ASSOLINE AND CAROLINA BUCCI FORTE. JEWELRY WORN THROUGHOUT.
THIS PAGE: FAITH CONNEXION TOP; LEE OVERALLS; RICK OWENS BOOTS. OPPOSITE: NO FEAR TOP; HELLESEY JEANS; MICHAEL MICHAEL KORS BELT; DR. MARTENS BOOTS; GCDS EARRINGS.
HEAVEN BY MARC JACOBS GRAPHIC TOP; BOBBLEHAUS T-SHIRT; MOTHER JEANS; RICK OWENS BOOTS; LACK OF COLOR HAT.
LEFT: HEAVEN BY MARC JACOBS CARDIGAN; COTTON CITIZEN T-SHIRT; ABACAXI PANTS; RICK OWENS BOOTS. OPPOSITE: BOBBLEHAUS MESH SHIRT WORN OVER YANYAN CROCHET TOP; THE SERIES JEANS; KELSEY RANDALL BOOTS.
THIS PAGE, LEFT: GUESS CARDIGAN AND TOP; HUDSON JEANS SKIRT; DR. MARTENS BOOTS; MICHAEL MICHAEL KORS BELT; GARRETT LEIGHT CALIFORNIA OPTICAL GLASSES; LACK OF COLOR HAT. RIGHT: LOUIS VUITTON JACKET; ADIDAS DRESS; AZTECH MOUNTAIN LEGGINGS; KELSY RANDALL BOOTS.
OPPOSITE: GCDS ONE-PIECE AND BAG; CONVERSE SNEAKERS; GARRETT LEIGHT CALIFORNIA OPTICAL GLASSES.
THIS PAGE: PISTOLA CARDIGAN; TEDDY FRESH JEANS; ADIDAS SNEAKERS; KELSEY RANDALL GLASSES. OPPOSITE: FAVORITE DAUGHTER BRA TOP; THE SERIES UPCYCLED DENIM SHORTS; KELSEY RANDALL BOOTS; MICHAEL MICHAEL KORS BELT.
OPPOSITE: TEDDY FRESH LONG-SLEEVE SHIRT AND BUCKET HAT; PAIGE JEANS; GCDS BAG; DR. MARTENS BOOTS.
Style Director: Alex Badia; Models: Ganni Jones @One Management, Megumi Rooney @Muse; Casting by Luis Campuzano; Hair: Rebekah Calo; Makeup: Amanda Wilson; Market Editors: Emily Mercer, Luis Campuzano and Thomas Waller; Associate Art Director: Celena Tang; Editor: Angela Velasquez
CREDIT: JEREMIE BRILLIANT |@BRILLIANTIMAGES
A Global Perspective
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The New PROJECT: Men's + Women's Fashion & Global Community Building SARAH JONES
Covid has been a time of change for much of the fashion industry, but for market event PROJECT, with shows in New York, Vegas and Tokyo, the pandemic period has ushered in a complete repositioning to align with and better support updated market needs. For starters, what were previously two separate banners—PROJECT and PROJECT WOMENS—have become one centralized contemporary fashion event, reflecting market trends. Increasingly, the line between men’s and women’s wear is blurring, and PROJECT’s brands and buyers are showcasing and shopping across both areas. “Now was the time to combine these two brands and streamline the experience to reflect these industry shifts,” said Courtney Bradarich, vice president of events, contemporary women’s - PROJECT and COTERIE at Informa Markets Fashion. “PROJECT’s new format provides a platform suited to our community’s needs and the modern mindset of buyers.” This new combined approach debuted in July at PROJECT: Miami, which marked PROJECT's return to live events. PROJECT’s other big move was expanding beyond its events to become a year-round resource for learning, inspiration and conducting business. This support ranges from digital content, market insights, and panel discussions to online and live networking events and parties that bring the fashion community together. “Traditionally, trade events served a singular doublesided purpose: to produce ROI in the form of wholesale orders to brands in an efficient marketplace for retailers,” said Brian Trunzo, vice president of events, men’s, Informa Markets Fashion. “Today, that’s not enough. With our aerial view of the contemporary market and network of connections within the larger fashion industry, there is more than we can be doing to support and foster growth.” Third, is an expanded global emphasis, with PROJECT Tokyo drawing international exhibitors and buyers into the mix. Rivet spoke with Bradarich, Trunzo and Hayato Ishihara, director of PROJECT Tokyo at Informa Markets Fashion, to hear what’s next for the trade event brand—in 2022 and beyond. Why is PROJECT a valuable platform for denim brands in particular? Brian Trunzo: PROJECT launched in the early aughts as a platform for premium denim brands to showcase alongside the most relevant contemporary brands. This intersection has always been core to the PROJECT brand. As a result, the best contemporary stores in America
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and the world come to our events to discover, be inspired by and purchase new collections. They expect a unique point-of-view and a culturally relevant presentation of all categories of clothing. Denim, as one of the most versatile categories of apparel, often ties it all together. PROJECT is positioned at the intersection of fashion and culture. How are these two areas related, and how is PROJECT putting its own spin on this combination? BT: Culture drives fashion. This has been the case since The Beatles first donned blue jeans. Everyone, specifically young people, is influenced by stars—whether they admit it or not. The term “star” has expanded in the 21st century to include influencers, musical icons and athletes, among others. It’s our responsibility to keep our finger on the pulse of what’s trending in each corner of culture and give our brands a platform to express themselves as aligned with it. Coupled with this, we are constantly hosting conversations about culture. Some of those
2022 PROJECT CALENDAR PROJECT NEW YORK January 26-27 at Iron 23 July 2022, date/venue TBA PROJECT LAS VEGAS February 14-16 / August 8-10 Las Vegas Convention Center PROJECT TOKYO March 16-17 at Tokyo International Forum Fall 2022 date and venue TBA
conversations are literal—in panels, presentations and educational seminars. Others are subtler and can be found in networking events, at parties and within our online communities. Vegas might not be a cultural center per se, but it’s a key location for gathering brands and retailers from both coasts. Is PROJECT hosting any cultural events that contribute to the vibe? Courtney Bradarich: Las Vegas reflects all that Americans hold near and dear: the retail, the restaurants, the entertainment— Vegas has it all. When we descend on Las Vegas for our largescale, bi-annual events, it’s our intention to tap that energy and infuse our events with it. PROJECT is soon returning to New York after a pandemic hiatus. What is the importance of this East Coast location for PROJECT? BT: New York is an important fashion epicenter in the U.S. and a key market for our community, specifically those brands and retailers who operate at the higher end of the market. This January, and timed to a key menswear buying season, we will return to New York with a different concept: a more intimate show in a new location downtown, showcasing the highest-end brands within the
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men’s contemporary and advanced contemporary market segments. With a deliberate curation and point-of-view relevant to this market and buying season, our goal is to craft an environment that is edited to meet the needs of selective contemporary and advanced contemporary shops—think artisanal workwear, meets Italian tailoring, meets AngloAmerican heritage apparel. The newest market to join PROJECT’s roster is Tokyo. Since the show premiered in 2019, what has been the response from both buyers and brands? What’s next for 2022? Hayato Ishihara: The response has been positive, with satisfaction scores steadily rising. We’ve attracted brands from many countries, and buyers from all around Asia as well the U.S. and Europe, which has enabled us to establish ourselves as the leading fashion event in Tokyo, the most advanced fashion city of Asia. For 2022, we are moving to Tokyo International Forum, a stunning venue in the Ginza/Marunouchi area and walking distance from central Tokyo station, convenient for buyers to access from airports and regional cities across Japan. The move will allow us to grow and also run concurrently with Rakuten Fashion Week Tokyo for the first time. With travel restrictions and quarantine requirements heading to ease, I am expecting the international brands and buyers to return, and to bring back the international energy we are known for. Over the past year, digital formats have extended the geographic footprint of PROJECT’s audience. How are you working to establish a more global PROJECT brand? CB: In a word, it’s about globalization. We see digital as a key component of this, by helping to centralize and connect the global contemporary market—something that previously was not accessible, or even available. Not only does it enable brands and buyers to reach a larger network on a global scale—geographic constraints and barriers removed—but it also allows for continued conversations and development of a larger community that extends beyond just our live events. It’s a community unto itself. In 2022, we’ll produce and refine even more digital products: from our product-forward and discovery-driven marketplace to new and experimental community-driven endeavors. What is your vision for the future of PROJECT? BT: We need to re-spark the energy menswear had back in the early 2010s during the whole “hashtag menswear” era. Of course, the business has changed drastically since then: DTC brands, new marketing and communication tools, the proliferation of streetwear and athleisure and a pandemic, for starters! However, many of the key players in our industry remain, and some of the newer players are cut from a similar cloth. I’m all about providing these interesting personalities an inspiring canvas against which to paint their stories and to find people with whom to collaborate. This is a time for co-creation, and I’d want nothing more than for PROJECT to be considered the place for contemporary brands, retailers and industry professionals to do just that. CB: Early 2010s was similarly a time in contemporary womenswear, where we saw the industry bubbling up with incredibly talented emerging designers. There was a particular affinity for what was new and next and a welcoming of boundary-pushing designers and concepts. Flash forward to now and we’re in a similar space. As an industry voice and platform for our community to share their story, PROJECT is interested in identifying and highlighting what is on the horizon: the next generation of designers, retailers, people and ideas that will shape our industry. Lastly, a focus on community is key for PROJECT as we look forward. Building a home for like-minded brands to develop relationships, build businesses and find inspiration is—and always will be—at the heart of the PROJECT brand.
MENSWEAR SPOTLIGHT Brian Trunzo on the outlook for the men’s contemporary market: “Calling it now: we’ll all dress up a little more in 2022. It won’t be the way we did so in the early 2010s—meaning, not literally suited and booted—but we will see an uptick of men who are looking to present themselves in a more polished way. Oversized tailoring from the catwalk and streetwear will be less generous in proportions and be influenced by traditional American prep—all of which pairs very well with denim! In denim for Spring 2022, I see standard fits, derivatives of the Levi’s 501 in interesting washes will continue to carry the men’s market. There will always be a customer for the contemporary slim aesthetic, and stretch fabrics will continue to be important. That being said, younger customers are influencing the market by leaning into that ’90s laid-back aesthetic. Top it off with an oxford button down, oversized rugby, dad cap and lug sole loafers.”
WOMENSWEAR SPOTLIGHT Courtney Bradarich on the outlook for the women’s contemporary market: “Following a highly stressful time, a focus on wellness will continue to take precedence. After a year and a half of loungewear-focused dressing, this season has given way to some fun. The notion of dressing with joy in mind will ensue. We’ll continue to enjoy color, prints and a lot of maximalism in unexpected ways. Conscious collections will also connect more deeply with retailers’ interests, as they address the end consumers’ desire for products and brands that are social and ecologically sound and seek out those who can provide transparency into their production, processes and practices. In denim, just as Gen Z has been telling us, a looser fit and wider leg silhouette reigns supreme for Spring 2022. From straight leg, barrel cut, ‘90s-era baggy, to wide leg, and even to a palazzo cut, this is the trajectory we’re going to continue to see in denim. The rise is dropping significantly too, which is another departure from high-waisted skinnies as the default fit.”
PROJECT: Brand Updates
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THE STRIKE GOLD: A RAW, PERSONAL IMPRINT LAUREN PARKER
At a time when so much of fashion is chasing softer, stretchier constructions, one denim label is holding fast to its “firm” roots. The Strike Gold, hailing from Japan’s “denim mecca” of Okayama, is all about stiff, raw denim. At least that’s how it starts out… Inspired by 1950s and 60s classic Americana, Strike Gold men’s denim is known for its irregular and textural roughness, which customers wear as a badge of honor as their denim—slowly and individually—breaks in. It’s a true form of personal expression, as every pair molds to its owner’s body, activity and lifestyle. The resulting “second skin” is a personal imprint and reflection. Physically. Aesthetically. Emotionally. “We want long-term consumer partners to grow in our jeans,” says CEO Tohru Hamamoto. “Because of that, The Strike Gold doesn’t do any damage or crash processing, and we also offer a repair service for fraying.” Denim with extensive longevity is already more sustainable, but The Strike Gold nods to Sustainable Development Goals with the introduction of its “Keep Earth” series, featuring all-natural indigo, 100 percent rope-dyed organic 17 oz. original selvedge denim. “This series gives maximum consideration to the global environment adopted by The Strike Gold's flagship model,” says Hamamoto. This product uses 100-percent organic cotton yarn by mixing organic virgin cotton and fallen cotton [waste cotton which is limited to organic cotton among recycled cotton]. The brand was created by a Japanese specialty boutique in 2007, opening for export a few years later. Today, The Strike Gold has a thriving wholesale business, more than 10 countries in addition to its own stores in Japan. In 2022, The Strike Gold expands in Okayama to serve the customers remotely at a unique, unmanned showroom.
BLANK NYC: FILLING IN THE [STYLISTIC] BLANKS Blank NYC wants its creative customers to use the brand to fill in the blanks. Or as the New York brand poetically states on its website: to fill in the *%!&?# blank! Blank NYC launched in 2007 with the goal of offering women premium denim fits and fabrics at an approachable price point and an urban attitude. While denim remains the foundation, as the brand grew, it expanded into additional product categories, most notably vegan leather jackets, which have become a signature product. “The additional categories we’ve developed over the years all complement the denim,” says Will Redgate, vice president, adding that Blank NYC now represents a “mash-up of stretch denim, vegan leather, plush knits and industrial hardware that transform minimalist basics into runway relevance.” Retails pricepoints remain accessible, with the majority running from $88 to $98. Now more than ever, the consumer is looking for novelty jeans, and Blank NYC prides itself on delivering exceptionally unique washes and fits every season. “Offering a few different dark washes in a skinny fit isn’t nearly enough anymore,” says Redgate. Creative director Yedidya Mesfin explains how upcoming collections are designed to excite and tap into a new consumer energy. “Our Spring collection was based on the joyous expectation of post-pandemic lifestyle,” she says. “We explored different print applications that expressed a lot of excitement. People are looking to dress up once again, so we included special pieces such as refined denim and woven basics which are good for occasion wear. We introduced bright colors to represent this optimism and celebratory mood.” Crafting, another big part of Blank NYC’s Spring line, captures a trend that emerged during the pandemic to represent comfort and continues to evolve as people are enjoying the outdoors. Look for printed “quilt” designs; patchwork made from different denim washes; different sized floral prints patched together in an artful colorblock, and bold printed butterflies and flowers. —L.P
PROJECT: Brand Updates
DEAD. THAN. COOL.: DEFY THE URGE TO CONFORM
MORRISON DENIM: BALANCING GLAMOUR AND GRIT Many denim brands start direct to consumer then expand into wholesale, but Morrison Denim flipped that script. Created in 2020 by industry experts Renee Watson and Marco Quesada (Watson, owner of the Residency showroom, and Quesada with an extensive denim design background), the duo launched a denim label backed by a considerable knowledge of what retailers want and need. “Denim is in our DNA,” says Watson. “Between my partner and I, our experience covers all aspects from manufacturing and design through sales and distribution, spanning all segments of the denim market from designer to premium to volume for some of the most successful denim brands.” Morrison Denim’s first ship was 2/28/21, just as stores were starting to reopen. “We felt that denim would have a strong comeback with people wanting to leave 2020 behind them, along with their WFHO,” she says. “With the big denim brands around for so long, we felt it was perfect timing for a new, fresh denim perspective.” As self-described denim enthusiasts who love the “nerdy, scientific” part of the design process, Watson and Quesada see denim fabric as the perfect blank canvas that can be molded into anything with a wash technique, a hand sand, an abrasion and subtle details. “We’re mostly diversifying denim through washes,” says Quesada, “so you’ll see bleached processes, print details, cool vintage washes and some destruction.” Patchwork figures in prominently, peeking through leg deconstruction. Balancing “whimsy and edge, glamour and grit” our approach is about finding the balance between the opposite of things, patchwork details ranging from Liberty of London inspired florals to conversational smileys, stars, skulls and peace signs.” Fits range from classic boot cuts to of the moment straight legs with the “Sexy Boyfriend” being the No. 1 seller. Overall, pricepoints remain sharp, starting at $138 MSRP. —L.P
In the Nirvana song “Stay Away,” Kurt Cobain sings, “Monkey see, monkey do. I’d rather be dead than cool.” While the late grunge artist might’ve taken that sentiment to the extreme, contemporary menswear label Dead. Than. Cool., put a positive spin on it—encouraging personal self-expression that defies pressures to “fit in.” Launched in 2018, the “luxury meets rock ‘n’ roll” label is all about not conforming to the status quo, and the hand-made pieces using denim sourced from Europe and Japan—are all distinctively their own. “Every piece is unique and one of a kind,” says creative director Kevin Chou. “We also elevate our design with the quality of our fabrics. We use numerous washing techniques for our denim, and source our fabrics directly from Europe and Japan. We pride ourselves on the quality and fit of every piece we create.” To boost sustainability, the label sources denim through deadstock materials when possible, 100-percent recycled plastics, and is exploring options to integrate eco-wise hemp in upcoming styles. With five years entrenched in denim, Dead. Than. Cool. recently expanded beyond denim with a shirt launch, finding new inspirations and flexing its creative muscles. The Angel shirt in particular, was inspired by Chou’s last trip to Paris prior to the pandemic, where his most vivid memory was seeing a painting by Giambattista Pittoni at the Louvre for the first time. Tops retail from $100 to $360, while jeans are $200 to $240. For FW22, Dead. Than. Cool. will be focusing on using patchwork and playing around with different fits, especially baggy. “The ultra-loose, ultra large fits is making a comeback,” says Chou. “For us, this is all good news because we love that rugged, retro look, and we’re looking forward to creating new fits and silhouettes for our customers.” —L.P
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How PROJECT Drives Curation at Bloomingdale’s, Halls and Rothmans GLENN TAYLOR
Retailers must think not just one season ahead, but rather multiple, as they seek to keep abreast of consumer trends. And while past shopper data can certainly help predict future performance, style isn’t always that simple. Market events like PROJECT fill a significant void for many retailers, enabling them to shake up their current assortment, all while bringing potential new exposure to hundreds of designers and brands. And with in-person shows returning, the stage is set for buyers to reconnect with brands face-to-face to view—and touch and feel—the product in greater detail. Here’s a look at how executives from retailers including Bloomingdale’s, New York-based Rothmans and Kansas City’s Halls have benefited from working with PROJECT. BLOOMINGDALE’S Justin Berkowitz, fashion director of Bloomingdale’s, called the PROJECT event an opportunity to discover emerging talent in the fashion design field for future seasons. And with the event in tow, the luxury department store gains an opportunity to access newer brands that it hasn’t worked with yet. This can further help Bloomingdale’s adapt to current and evolving consumer trends. —KEN GIDDON, ROTHMANS “Having access to a place that brings together such strong menswear brands in a single location makes it convenient for our team to curate a powerful assortment season to season,” Berkowitz told Rivet, adding in particular, the Bloomingdale’s team is attending PROJECT to seek out more contemporary-focused sportswear and denim. “Looking ahead to next spring, we’ll lean into versatile pieces that support a more transitional lifestyle and novel pieces with bold color.”
of the show, we would not have found and got on the line early,” Epperley said. “Not going to the shows costs retailers. What the shows have to do is seek new brands and give them the platform and the space on the floor at a reasonable cost.” As the show environment evolves to a more (digital and live) hybrid model, Epperley encourages vendors to embrace both sides, but to also understand the importance of in-person interaction. “If the retailers can be in-store selling their collection to customers, it is time for vendors to get back to showing in person,” Epperley said. “The digital component and B2B ordering platforms should be a tool in finalizing orders or seeking new brands before making appointments. It should not be the only way to buy the line.”
Look at the buzz around the booth. You can pick up a lot from that just by where the activity is.
HALLS Todd Epperley, general merchandise manager and store director at Halls, the department store division of Hallmark, says Halls is always looking for brand partners that are relevant to the direction of the market, and bring a sense of exclusivity. “I always tell my team we don’t have to be first in the market, but the best,” Epperley said. The Halls buying team is a consistent attendee of the PROJECT and COTERIE shows, with Epperley saying he has been traveling to PROJECT since its inception. Through the event, the retailer was introduced to numerous popular brands in their infancy, including True Religion, Herschel and Ed Hardy, all featured in seasonal collections ahead of their peers. “These are all examples of lines if we had not walked the floor
ROTHMANS Ahead of opening its fourth store in New York City’s Hudson Yards, Rothmans knows the importance of curating a new location to fit its consumers. That’s why Ken Giddon, a co-founder of the New York City-based boutique menswear retailer, considers himself the biggest fan of trade shows. As brands cycle in and out of the retailer depending on their growth stage, PROJECT has become a show that gives Rothmans the chance to bring in new faces with different
approaches to fashion. “If I go to a tradeshow, I can see 100 vendors, and that's not an exaggeration,” Giddon told Rivet. “We'll make 30 appointments, but we'll see 100 vendors. And it's incredibly efficient for us.” Although the retailer doesn’t single out any specific categories during its stay, Giddon said his team is very deliberate about how it approaches the event. On the first day, Rothmans only walks the floor of the event to “take it all in” before engaging in meetings on the second and third days. “We've been doing it long enough that we can recognize new things pretty quickly. One of the things that I've always preached, is look at the buzz around the booth,” said Giddon. “You can pick up a lot from that just by where the activity is. You really can pick up the energy of a booth and see if collectively, the buyers out there really know their stuff. You can learn by watching what other people are doing.” The return of PROJECT’s physical show also mirrors the revitalization of the Rothmans brand, which was on the brink of closure when its stores were shuttered during the pandemic. “We're old school. We want to feel product, and we want to see product,” Giddon said.
HIGH DESIGN LOW IMPACT Recycled fibers and waterless technologies provide mills with the runway they need to reduce denim’s environmental footprint.
w o r d s _____ANGELA VELASQUEZ
NAVEENA DENIM MILLS
The concept: Candiani Denim’s new family of post-consumer recycled (PCR) denim fabrics feature increased amounts of recycled cotton. “A smart solution to the fashion industry’s number one problem, turning garment waste into premium denim fabric,” said Danielle Arzaga, Candiani Denim sustainability manager. The mill worked with Humana People to People Italia, a humanitarian organization that promotes sustainable development, and regenerated yarn manufacturer Filatura Astro to create the PCR program. The result is a 100 percent ‘Made in Italy’ post-consumer collection. The entire process takes place within 40 miles of the Candiani facility outside of Milan, allowing for the reduction of the supply chain’s carbon footprint. Additionally, each part of the recycling process is traceable. “Candiani’s PCR denim gets its superior quality from a perfect blend of our Blue Seed Cotton and mechanically recycled cotton offering increased strength, durability, and exceptional hand feel,” Arzaga added.
The concept: Naveena Denim Mills’ Holistic Denim collection is the combination of the “most conscious raw materials and the most sustainable processes to have the least impact on the environment,” said Berke Aydemir, the company’s global technical sales and marketing manager. With an ingredient menu that spans organic cotton, hemp, Tencel, PCR and post-industrial waste cotton (PIW) as well as virgin polyester alternatives like Lycra EcoMade and CiClo, the collection is a testament to the denim industry’s commitment to reduce its environmental impact.
The fabric: The collection consists of eight fabrics, containing between 21 to 24 percent PCR content in the weft, and organic cotton warp. From Candiani’s Indigo Juice and Kitotex to V-Sizing and Archroma Earthcolors, these fabrics employ several innovative technologies and sustainable ingredients. Measuring impact: “Impact is measured based on our own production calculations, and by selecting low-impact raw materials,” Arzaga said.
The fabric: The lineup offers 12.5 oz. fabrics with 60 percent organic cotton, 15 percent PIW cotton, 23 percent recycled CiClo and 2 percent Lycra EcoMade. The fabric is 60 percent stretch, with a deep dark waterless indigo dyeing process and clean indigo wastewater application, including a waterless ozone process in fabric finishing. Measuring impact: “We measure our impact both for raw materials and processes,” Aydemir said. For materials, the mill looks for third-party approved certifications. As for the processes, it monitors how much steam, water and chemicals are being consumed in real time. By using SCADA systems, Aydemir said the mill has been able reduce it water consumption and electricity consumption by 30 percent.
ORTA The concept: Orta’s team of experts has been on an “obsessive” quest to find the optimum balance of recycled materials and durability. The mill believes it has landed on it with the Golden Ratio, a fabric range that Orta’s marketing and washing manager Zennure Danisman said is the “perfect mix of pre- and post-consumer recycled materials and alternative natural materials to give the look and feel of quality that our denim is so well known for, while retaining the ultimate in strength and long term of durability that stands for the test of time.” The collection, she added, represents Orta’s commitment designed a world without waste. The fabric: Golden Ratio fabrics contain 30 percent organic cotton, 30 percent Tencel, 20 percent PIW cotton and 20 percent PCR cotton. Measuring impact: Orta relies on life cycle assessment (LCA) to measure the
A D V E R T O R I A L
Denim’s Future is Reliant on Recycling, Redesigning and Redefining Tat Fung Textiles, Co. Limited, also known as Panther Denim, adapted its production to the demands of the Covid-19 pandemic throughout late 2020 and 2021. The denim manufacturer pivoted to focus more on eco-conscious materials catering to trends such as comfort and working from home, launching new collections including Everywear, Comphy and Everybody Stretch. But in the end, regardless of category, the push enables Panther Denim to carry out its goal to make jeans that ultimately last longer and can be more easily recycled, benefiting the environment as a whole. Tim Huesemann, sales director at Panther Denim, shared insights into the denim manufacturer’s recent partnerships, concepts and processes, and explained why “redesigning” denim covers everything from raw materials to the machinery that produces the final product. RIVET: Panther Denim recently collaborated with Unspun on the Genesis circular denim launch. Could you talk more about your role in that partnership? Tim Huesemann: We wanted to explore a new way to align with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s Jeans Redesign principles for a circular economy, and employing Unspun’s unique body-scanning technology could help us accomplish that. Alongside Unspun, we worked with eco-finishing partner Frontline Clothing Ltd. to produce the jeans as well. The fabric is made with 99 percent GOTScertified organic cotton denim and 1 percent Lycra, and is washed using 100 percent recycled water and Greenscreen-approved chemicals. The non-electroplated raw zinc buttons can be removed and reused, while threads can dissolve at a high heat, making recycling more feasible.
The beauty of the Unspun partnership is that they bring made-to-order jeans to life, adding another element to their sustainability. We’re getting a chance to produce jeans at the pace of the customer’s demand. RIVET: What are the key differentiators in the denim market today and what do consumers respond to most? TH: The key differentiators in the denim market today are: redefining sources, raw materials and wastes; investing in sustainable innovations; redesigning garments, products and machinery; and rethinking on denim industry vision and mission. We must reshape our industry and it is vital for us and everyone else in it to stay the course and rapidly transition to a more sustainable, circular one. Consumers are also more mindful of what they’re buying. They are not only concerned about the style and quality of the garments, but also how eco-friendly the clothes are, how the brands treat their workers, how they support the social causes, etc. Clothes are not only for the appearance and styling, but also representing the wearers’ values. RIVET: How has Panther Denim improved its manufacturing processes with the P/ReCYCLE technology? TH: Panther P/ReCYCLE technology represents the futuristic and industrial approach to the recycling process. We focused on increasing the production efficiency of recycled yarns, not just post-consumer or pre-consumer products. This lets us make new high-quality products with both post-consumer or pre-consumer waste. Our technology leverages the recycling process to a new level, significantly reducing the tensile and tear strength drops and overcoming aesthetic defects on the fabric surface. Our vertical platform in denim and piece-dyeing allows us to do trial and error and innovate with clients together. RIVET: Explain your “Redesign denim” as the key sustainable action for 2021 and beyond. TH: This action includes a wider perspective from raw material, design, manufacturing to the final product in consumers' hands. Recently improving raw material exploitation has become the most important challenge facing scientific and industrial communities like ours. Recycling is the hottest topic for brands and consumers since last year. Despite the challenging conditions, we are proudly committed to ethical and sustainable materials and manufacturing. Panther Denim is constantly and carefully researching the practices of materials and technologies, understanding the deep impacts on the environment, individuals and economies involved.
Artistic Denim Mills
The fabric: Within the RE/J collection is Holo, a rigid fabric made entirely of recycled cotton, or 80 percent PIW and 20 percent PCR. The warp yarn is dyed with Dyepro, a water-free dyeing method with no chemical waste. The fabric is also treated with D-Clear, a finishing treatment that uses 83 percent less water during the finishing of denim and decreases the chemical use by 94 percent. Measuring impact: “We believe that anything that cannot be measured cannot improve,” Ozkurt said. Therefore, the mill uses a Transparency Monitoring System (TMS) to measure how much energy, water and chemicals it uses to produce Holo fabrics. “We can easily compare the amount of water that is being used in a conventional denim production with a production where technologies like Dyepro and D-Clear are used,” Ozkurt said. The mill also completes certifications and LCAs for its products. “We share our LCA and all such processes with all our customers, thanks to the QR Code Integrated System,” Ozkurt said.
ARTISTIC DENIM MILLS (ADM)
potential environmental impact of its fabrics. With LCA, the mill measures global warming potential indicating climate change, water use, land use, eutrophication indicating water pollution and abiotic resource depletion indicating the use of non-renewable resources. “When we look into the LCA analysis of the Golden Ratio articles, we saw that in combination with the eco-conscious fibers, dyeing and renewable energy integrated production, we achieved around 80 percent reduction on all five environmental impacts assessed compared to standard denim fabric,” Danisman said.
The fabric: The Stevie collection is made with 80 percent sustainable grown cotton and 20 percent recycled cotton. Pre-reduced dyes are used for water conservation. Measuring impact: The collection is Cradle to Cradle certified Gold, while the material health is assessed Platinum, Shakoor said.
The concept: Calik’s RE/J collection is the mill’s most low-impact fabrics to date. “We have been continuously investing and innovating to achieve a circular model and lead the industry in that sense, and we brought a fresh breath to the industry with our RE/J launched in April,” said Tolga Ozkurt, Calik Denim deputy general manager of sales and marketing. Made with PIW and PCR cotton, the fabrics boast an authentic vintage look that is typically difficult to achieve with recycled components. Additionally, it features “value-added” fibers like Lycra EcoMade and Repreve.
The concept: ADM’s Stevie collection focuses on 100 percent sustainable and traceable cotton that has the least environmental impact as not only it’s been produced sustainably but the fabric is completely recyclable when it is no longer required for wearing, according to Mubashir Shakoor, ADM’s marketing manager. In fact, all raw material used in the collection can back track to their initial source. The fabric range makes good use of the mill’s partnership with Recover Textile Systems, the Spanish material sciences company that produces certified and traceable recycled cotton.
SOORTY The concept: Soorty produces at scale, but the company understands that large production capacity comes with a big impact on the environment. That’s why it invested in a state-of-the-art recycling unit with a capacity to recycle 300 tons of cotton per month. The mill has been working on multiple ways to lower its footprint, resulting in Harmless Deep Blue. “With this recognition, we’re working hard to keep our impact a positive one, and that’s where our motto, ‘Denim as a power of good’ comes from,” Cataloglu said.
A D V E R T O R I A L
Making a Wiser Choice Having collaborated with fashion brands since 2018, Wiser Wash has proven that it can create qualified and fashionable designs without sacrificing results or lowering its commitment for environmental concern. Wiser Wash’s patented, award-winning ozone bleaching process has made a huge difference by eliminating pumice stone and hazardous chemicals from conventional bleaching techniques, thus saving the company a significant amount of water and energy. So far, more than 56 million liters of water has been saved due to Wiser’s unique technique. Because it reduces the use of water by 53 percent in the finishing process, it is even possible to increase this saving up to 92 percent with waste water treatment systems. In addition, the Wiser Wash process uses 40 percent less energy and 28 percent less time, improving efficiencies at all levels. Rivet caught up with Fuat Gozacan, investor of the Wiser projects, to learn more.
RIVET: True sustainability cannot be achieved if the industry doesn’t work together. How is Wiser working to ‘expand the borders’ so to speak? Fuat Gozacan: At Wiser, we have always believed that joining forces with different stakeholders is one of the most effective methods in business growth. It brings significant benefits to all parties and creates a true win-win situation that boosts resources, such as manpower, skillset, knowledge, equipment, technology, etc. Plus, it extends the environmental and social impact of our Wiser projects on a more global scale. Wiser Wash has a bold, ambitious-yet-effective expansion strategy for all stakeholders. Wiser Wash’s Turkey facility was the first production partner in line with this strategy, then Phong Phu International (PPJ) in Vietnam, Arvind in India and Elleti in Europe joined us. In this way, we established a strong production network with constantly expanding global borders. RIVET: As Wiser expanded its borders, how did you maintain the company’s standards for quality, low toxicity, sustainability and more? FG: This was an important issue, and it was why we teamed up with Control Union, an international and highly prestigious inspection and certification company. Together with Control Union, we developed the Wiser Wash Sustainability Assessment Standards, which focuses on chemical management, environmental performance, social responsibility, safety performance, quality management, transparency, etc. While preparing these standards, international benchmarks for identifying and managing environmental and social risks such as IFC and ILO were taken into consideration. In line with the Wiser Wash Sustainability Assessment Standards, Wiser Wash facilities are audited by Control Union at regular intervals to ensure a standard production (currently, all Wiser Wash facilities are in the audit process). Audited and certified facilities continue Wiser Wash production rapidly. Wiser Wash Turkey is one of them. It has also started production with WOX (Wiser Ozone-Xperience), a new technology developed by Wiser Tech to take the current potential of Wiser Wash one step further. RIVET: Wiser was already known for its denim bleaching. How did you use technology, specifically artificial intelligence, to update this? FG: Our WOX system consists of an ozone drum and generator. Thanks to its AI-based technology, WOX can analyze its processing and identify the possible abnormalities at all stages of the ozone bleaching process, including maintenance requirements. In line with the data obtained from the first productions, WOX shortens the cycle durations by 40 percent and increases the production capacity of the facility by 66 percent, which leads the manufacturers to build a better scaling-up strategy. Wiser aims to assist the fashion industry by identifying growth opportunities and improving current practices through innovation. The positive benefits of Wiser innovations open the horizon of all stakeholders, offer access to new ideas, knowledge and technology, and create significant values in resource management systems. While creating this value, our goal has always been to set and maintain high standards for the industry. Therefore, our improvement and development efforts will always continue.
The fabric: Harmless Deep Blue looks like the “perfect authentic” denim while feeling extra soft and comfortable. The rigid construction has virgin components, and it is designed and constructed with 100 percent recycled inputs, including Refibra and PCW. “We’re not only working sustainably from an economic, environmental or social perspective,” Cataloglu said. “Closing the loop adds to our continuous circularity efforts which is very important to us.” Measuring impact: While Soorty uses limited resources, it is on a mission to use them less and more efficiently through new machinery and technologies. “We also integrate them with data measuring software that show how much is saved with each change, enabling us to be data led,” Cataloglu said. Soorty also utilizes third-party verification programs, and it is partnering with Green Story, a platform to measure and communicate the environmental impact of products, on a LCA study.
NAVEENA DENIM LIMITED (NDL) The concept: NDL’s new collection made in partnership with designer Salli Deighton, called Considered Denim, is the mill’s most sustainable line. “We believe fabric should be well responsive. In laundry, the desired wash can be achieved by less chemical and less energy and water. Fabric content must contain sustainable fibers and recycled material,” said Zeeshan Ahmed, NDL’s head of product development. For Considered Denim, NDL focused on circularity and providing the end-to-end solution, from raw material to finished product, he added. The fabric: Every fabric of this collection contains a minimum of 20 percent recycled cotton. Fabrics also use hemp, Tencel and CiClo that help to reduce microplastic pollution in ocean. The fabrics are finished with G2 Dynamic ozone finishing to make it low impact denim and good responsive laser efficient at laundry stage. Measuring impact: The fabrics have an Environment Impact Measurement (EIM) score lower than 20 which means it is green, Ahmed said.
ISKO The concept: With OEKO-TEX STeP certified facilities, responsibility is built into all stages of Isko’s production. The mill’s R-Two fabric range, however, is a favorite because it reduces the use of raw materials and combats waste. Isko recently launched R-Two 50+, a fabric line that is made with a minimum of 50 percent recycled blend. “It’s innovation that is engineered for nature; it stays in harmony with the planet while upholding the outstanding quality of Isko’s fabrics,” said Ebru Özküçük, Isko’s head of sustainability. The fabric: “[R-Two 50+] is cut from a different cloth, engineered for less emissions, less water, less resources and less waste,” Özküçük said. The fabric uses an exclusive yarn spinning technology patented by Isko that employs a minimum of 50 percent recycled materials to reduce reliance on natural resources. “It makes beautiful fabrics that are stronger and more durable,” she said, added they
have excellent shape recovery, a soft cotton hand feel and dry up to 20 percent faster. Measuring impact: Isko is the first in the fashion market to achieve an ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) scoring, which measures companies’ sustainability and societal impact. “With Environmental Product Declarations for all our products, we understand the impact they have at all stages of their lifecycle and have set the standard to support other denim manufacturers to measure their respective impact,” Özküçük said. The EPDs were created with input from external stakeholders to create validated Product Category Rules (PCR) for denim. These are publicly available for other producers to use to improve transparency on actual impact across the industry and allow for fair comparison between manufacturers.
A D V E R T O R I A L
Sustainability Never Sleeps at Calik Denim Not shy to the sustainability conversation, Calik Denim carries out its fabric manufacturing processes within the framework of the United Nations Sustainability Development Goals, and is committed to the Denim Deal to use at least 5 percent recycled textile in all denim garments. Most recently, the denim manufacturer joined the Ellen MacArthur Jeans Redesign as part of a commitment to circular production. Calik has been pulling its own weight ahead of these commitments, developing innovative and sustainable concepts and technologies such as E-Last, RE/J, E-Denim, Washpro, Dyepro, Denethic, D-Clear, Oxygene and a Transparency Monitoring System (TMS), all of which are designed to reduce its environmental footprint. Tolga Ozkurt, deputy general manager of sales and marketing, sustainability committee chairman of Calik Denim, shares more about the company’s ongoing sustainability initiatives.
RIVET: What are some of your latest sustainability initiatives? Tolga Ozkurt: We launched a brand-new collaboration in October with European sustainable fashion brand Kings of Indigo and blockchain traceability technology Aware, delivering a traceable collection featuring 14 unique styles both for men and women. Launched with an influencer marketing campaign on social media, Calik produced the collection with its Denethic and D’enovated technologies, applying Denethic to give the jeans a rinse-washed look, a rinse-
and-enzyme washed look, as well as a bleached look. This saves water, energy, chemicals and time during the laundry phase. RIVET: Calik recently launched a 100-percent recycled concept, RE/J, that consists entirely of post- and pre-consumer waste. How did this innovation come to life? OA: The importance of sustainable consumption and production were the initial thoughts behind the innovation of the RE/J concept. We only have one planet, and it is our duty to use it in a manner where we are not depleting our resources to the point where there is none left for the generations to come. Therefore, the main aim is to reduce the use of virgin materials, and use more materials by recycling. With RE/J, we intended to have a concept of articles based entirely on sustainability. RIVET: At Bluezone, Calik Denim highlighted its Selfsized fabric collection of stretch fabrics, which is already being used by brands like Good American. How does this collection tie in with Calik’s overall sustainability efforts? OA: Our Selfsized concept was initially created for the purpose of size simplification, offering fabrics that have a very high elasticity. The articles in this concept minimize the possibility of buying the wrong size—which is a common issue among consumers amid the increase in online shopping—and are also soft and comfortable to move in. With that said, we are cautious in producing our Selfsized line with sustainable technologies such as Dclear and Dyepro. We try to incorporate sustainable fibers like organic or recycled cotton and recycled polyester. Another way of looking at a garment made of Selfsized fabric—when the consumer purchases this garment there is a less likelihood of them returning it to the store or throwing out their product because of a sizing problem, which in turn means that there is less post-consumer waste produced due to sizing issues. At the same time, we can remove unnecessary carbon emissions with cargo shipments that occur during product return and repurchase processes. RIVET: What spurred the decision to join the Ellen MacArthur Jeans Redesign project in August? OA: We participated in Ellen MacArthur's “Jeans Redesign” project as part of our pledge to the circular economy. At Calik Denim, we attach importance not only to our own transformation, but also to the transformation of the industry. Because developing a holistic approach, not just an individual one, plays an important role for a truly sustainable world and future. As stated above, we are committed to collaborate with like-minded brands and industry wide partners to bring positive change and create economies of scale. Our participation in the project will not only drive new innovations from within, but it will allow us to learn, share and to use the guidelines to develop jeans that are used more, made to be made again, and made from safe and recycled or renewable inputs.
Scotch & Soda’s Trees for All.
Helping Hands Eco-friendly production isn’t the only way denim companies make a positive impact. w o r d s _____GLENN TAYLOR
Sustainability has been the heart of many a denim conversation in recent years, as more companies seek to innovate new methods of manufacturing that are less harmful for the environment. But sustainability commitments don’t just have to be confined to production—some denim brands and mills are extending their efforts to local causes to promote a healthier ecosystem for not just their employees, but their communities and wildlife as well.
SCOTCH & SODA, CRESCENT BAHUMAN TURN TO TREE PLANTING Scotch & Soda is teaming with Klarna as part of its existing partnership with reforestation foundation Trees for All to plant 10,000 trees across two initiatives in the Carara National Park in Costa Rica and the Bongo District of Ghana. The companies will commit 5,000 trees to each park. The companies were strategic in selecting the parks. Due to large-scale deforestation, many of Carara’s plants and animal species have become scarce. Trees for All aims to restore the cloud forests in the Turrubares Mountains, where the national park is located. And Ghana’s Bongo District is home to the reservoir of the Vea Dam, a significant water source that farmers and
surrounding villages depend on for drinking water and irrigating the land. Over the next three years, Trees for All will reforest 50 kilometers of eroded riverbanks, establish 150 hectares of agroforestry, plant native and fruit trees, and train more than 1,500 farmers in forest protection and sustainable land-use techniques to ensure long-term management of the area. “We are very excited that Klarna is teaming up with us to kick off our long-term initiative to support the Trees for All foundation,” said Stéphane Jaspar, chief marketing officer of Scotch & Soda. "We are looking forward to helping restore local ecosystems on behalf of our customers starting today. It is a very easy way for the Scotch & Soda community to do good and contribute to reforestation efforts in welldefined areas that need it the most." As part of the program, Scotch & Soda launched a dedicated Trees for All page on its website, indicating that the reforestation company has since planted 65,890 trees to date. This tracking tool will monitor performance and keep customers informed of the progress. Following the initial tree-planting commitment, Scotch & Soda will continue its long-term partnership with Trees for All by further supporting the foundation's projects in the Netherlands and in Southeast Asia. In addition, the brand is further committing to forest protection in partnership
with Canopy, a not-for-profit organization that collaboratively focuses on forest product procurement. Worldwide, Trees for All says it has reforested more than 32 forests and offsetting 320 thousand tons of carbon dioxide since 1999. One company has made tree planting a significant part of its home culture. Since Pakistan-based denim manufacturer Crescent Bahuman Ltd. (CBL) was built on a marshland, the company introduced drainage and irrigation systems to recover the land, planting more than 850,000 trees in the region as well as 100,000 fruits. So while the land had purpose in hosting a 600acre vertically integrated manufacturing facility, the farming in the area also provided sustenance for the area’s more than 3,000 permanent residents. “Once the land was reclaimed, CBL immediately declared war on water wastage,” said Zaki Saleemi, vice president of CBL. “While this may appear like a soundbite, we have insisted on monitoring and supplementing our water table for the last 25 years to ensure our factory doesn’t extract more ground water than it reintroduces back into the water table.” The land recovery efforts not only benefitted CBL, but also neighboring areas that had, until the irrigation, been waterlogged and not conducive to farming. This in turn created opportunities far beyond the walls of CBL, thereby also dramatically reducing unemployment in the surrounding districts. Saleemi estimates that CBL has played a formative role in more than 100,000 careers since the manufacturer’s inception in 1994.
MAVI CARES FOR SEA TURTLES For the eighth year in a row, Turkish denim brand Mavi is working alongside the Ecological Research Society (EKAD), a nonprofit organization specializing in biodiversity and nature conservation, and engaged in counting, monitoring, research and protection activities on the nesting beaches of sea turtles. The collaboration, known as the Indigo Turtles Project, was designed to save endangered sea turtles native to the Mediterranean. As part of the “Save The Turtles” campaign, the brand sells men’s and women’s T-shirts for $28, with one shirt purchase saving five baby sea turtles. The cause was started on the unfortunate reality that sea turtles face extremely difficult circumstances upon their birth. Only 40 percent of the hatchlings reach the water and only one in an estimated 1,000 survive, EKAD says. In the past 22 years, EKAD estimates that it has helped more than 1 million turtles in the region reach the sea. Additionally, the number of nests— approximately 500 when the protection activities started—reached nearly 3,200 last year. Cüneyt Yavuz, CEO of Mavi, said that the program has hundreds of volunteers worldwide, including brand employees, ambassadors, social media followers, customers and students. EKAD organizes activities along a 30-kilometer coastline in Turkey, with some volunteers camping on the beaches for as long as four months to protect female turtles’ eggs before they hatch and climb out to sea. “At Mavi, we always act as a responsible brand and aim to raise awareness about the importance of volunteering for a sustainable life. As a Mediterranean fashion brand, we have supported the activities of EKAD continuously since 2014,” Yavuz said. “Protecting the endangered sea turtles while raising community awareness about biodiversity and volunteering is important to us. We are very passionate about this project, which gives new life to the Mediterranean while working together with our employees, customers, followers, and nature-conscious youth, and we will strive to expand it every year.”
AG JEANS DONATES TO DISASTER RELIEF Becoming a positive influence on the environment also can come in the form of helping those in need when their lives get impacted by natural disasters, such as climate change. AG Jeans took a serious step in this direction by donating $500,000 to the American Red Cross, providing disaster relief to families who spent more nights in emergency lodging—nearly 1.5 million—than any other year during the past decade. The nonprofit organization will match with a $500,000 donation of their own. The partnership comes as the U.S. dealt with an intense wildfire season in 2021, and a summer that set new heat records and brought various disastrous hurricanes through not just the Gulf Coast, but the entire eastern seaboard. “It’s a life-long goal to be able to impact this environment that we all share,” said Yul Ku, founder and CEO of AG Jeans, said in a statement. "Whether it’s pushing industries to reduce manufacturing’s environmental footprint, being a steward for social equality, or providing economic aid to causes and efforts in critical moments, we all need to work together. I am honored and humbled to partner with the American Red Cross in their efforts to lend aid to those tragically affected.” The donations from AG Jeans specifically support the Red Cross Disaster Relief, which immediately responds to disasters by establishing housing, creating a safe space for those affected and providing food and water.
Mavi’s Save the Turtles campaign.
versatility in denim. matte TENCEL™ Lyocell
firstname.lastname@example.org TENCEL™ is a trademark of Lenzing AG
YEAR IN REVIEW How the denim industry’s pandemic rebound began to take shape in 2021. w o r d s _____
• Office of Textiles and Apparel reports U.S. denim apparel imports declined nearly 25 percent to a value of $2.8 billion in 2020 compared to $3.73 billion the prior year.
• Garth Brooks wears Wranglers to the presidential inauguration. • Gen Z TikTok users begin a movement to dethrone skinny jeans and all other things deemed “cheugy.” • Wrangler debuts home collection with Pottery Barn. • Unspun launches custom jeans that align with Ellen Macarthur’s Jeans Redesign guidelines. • Weekday debuts first-ever jeans made with Infinna fiber.
“We witnessed an assault on the citadel of freedom—the U.S. Capitol—incited by a compulsively dishonest sitting President of the United States, enabled by cravenly opportunistic colleagues in Congress, designed to disrupt the peaceful transfer of power in our country.” —Mark Walker, Outerknown CEO’s response to the Jan. 6 insurrection
Lupita Nyong'o in Versace at the Met Gala
• Archroma partners with CleanKore to bleach jeans without PP spray. • Guess cuts style count by 38 percent. • Cone Denim completes first verification of origin audit through Oritain. • Lee and H&M collaborate on jeans made with post-consumer recycled cotton and organic cotton. • AG releases knit collection. • NYDJ’s jeggings collection sells out in one week. • Saitex introduces Rekut, a program that provides work opportunities for differently abled people. • Baggy, bleached and Y2K denim trend at men’s fashion weeks.
Levi's for Target
• • Bestseller joins Milliner Organic Cotton initiative. • Saitex flips the switch on U.S. facility. • Trend forecasting firm Fashion Snoops names ’70s, country and destroyed denim as trends to watch. • Diesel x Diesel updates iconic pieces from the brand’s archive. • Levi’s revives the Levi’s Red collection from the ’90s. • Calik Denim sets new sustainably targets for 2025.
• Stony Creek Colors joins Fashion for Good’s Accelerator Program. • A.P.C. and Sacai launch a denim and nylon collaboration. • Outland Denim ventures into ready-to-wear. • Advance Denim joins U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol. • Reformation drops jeans with FibreTrace’s traceable tech. • Transnomadica opens vintage denim pop-up at Fred Segal. • Archorma and Jeanologia develop a roomtemperature dyeing process. • Boyish names new commitments that align with the UN Sustainability Development Goals. • Officina+39 bows Aqualess Mission, a collection of water-saving solutions for laundries. • Chinatown Market pledges to change name after social petition.
FEB • Soorty earns one gold certification from the Alliance for Water Stewardship. • Ganni and Levi’s bow collection made with cottonized hemp. • Guess founder Paul Marciano sued over allegations he sexually assaulted a model in 2017. • Denim is a staple in collections at New York Fashion Week. • Levi’s and Kontoor Brands support program to combat genderbased violence in Lesotho garment factories.
• Marks & Spencer sets sustainability standards for denim. • Lenzing debuts Tencel Modal fibers with Indigo Technology. • Weekday experiments with food waste as dye. • Mother upcycles deadstock into new designs. • Levi’s for Target home collection arrives in stores. Denham bows ultra-exclusive selvedge jeans with Grivec Bros. • Mango launches low-impact denim collection. • Outerknown turns denim scraps into new garments with The New Denim Project. • Sean “Diddy” Combs sues Global Brands and Missguided over Sean John’s women’s collection.
• Erdem and Universal Standard debut size inclusive denim range. • Unpsun introduces genderless jeans. • Levi’s Chip Bergh says the category
• • •
is entering a new denim cycle. The Rose Bowl Flea Market reopens. Soorty introduces organic cotton initiative in Pakistan. Gucci’s Balenciaga hack ushers in a new era of collaboration. Kontoor Brands and AGI Denim ink deals with industrial hemp provider Panda BioTech. Mud Jeans designs a couch with Ikea. Naveena Denim Mills updates its Wraptech product line with more Lycra fibers. Mother Denim introduces a loungewear line. PETA tells Levi’s to ditch leather— again. Heron Preston designs raw denim classics for Calvin Klein. Advance Denim promotes ecofriendly dyeing with BioBlue Indigo. AG introduces biodegradable jeans. Isko receives Bluesign approval. Asda adds secondhand apparel in 50 stores. Cone Denim reports it will produce nearly 3 million pounds of certified Organic Content Standard cotton by year end.
Rag & Bone pop-up
• C&A invests in jeans production facility in Germany. • Gap unveils first product from Yeezy Gap.
• Mavi, Levi’s, Gap and more release Pride collections. • Everlane bows Clean Denim, a collection made with Candiani Denim’s organic cotton and Roica V550 blend fabrics. • Orta debuts Scenic Route collection with an AI experience. • Candiani Vision opens in Milan. • Holt Renfrew sets sustainability standards for denim.
MAY • U.S. jeans imports rose 9.42 percent in the first four months of the year compared to the same period in 2020. • Miu Miu upcycles jeans with Levi’s. • Wiser Wash bows AI-powered devices. • Rag & Bone opens the first of several pop-up concepts in NYC. • ADM inks deal with Recover to
scale traceable recycled cotton. Berto drops minimum orders for new talent. Cordura releases line of hempblended fabrics. Diesel creates an evergreen denim collection called Diesel Library. Coats unveils biodegradable thread. North Korean leader Kim Jongun reportedly bans skinny and ripped jeans. Artistic Milliners teams with Retraced to launch farm-togarment cotton traceability. U.K. governmentfunded Textiles Circularity Center opens.
• Levi’s strategically reduces its markdowns and increases pricing by about 5 percent. • Isko licenses its Future Face fabric technology to Soorty. • The growth trajectory of U.S. jeans imports flattens. • Ellen MacArthur’s Jeans Redesign adds a new requirement: a minimum of 5 percent recycled content. • Trendalytics says searches for baggy jeans increase 74 percent YOY. • Madewell Forever, powered by ThredUp, begins incentivizing consumers to bring in their
Hailey Bieber rocks the baggy denim trend.
preowned denim to Madewell stores to earn Madewell. shopping credit • Diesel teases buyback program for jeans on social media.
Snoop Dogg for G-Star Raw.
What an exciting time for denim. You know, this doesn’t happen very often where the industry sees such an incredible trend happening.” —Fran Horowitz, Abercrombie & Fitch CEO in the company’s Q2 earnings call
• Supreme and True Religion team on a Y2K-inspired collaboration. • Calik Denim bows a waterless denim dyeing process with
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Aware traceability technology. American Eagle introduces a new premium denim brand called AE77. Christian Siriano teases upcoming collection with Gloria Vanderbilt. Good American’s ad is deemed too sexy for TV. Wrangler launches jeans made with Infinna Fiber. Levi’s WellThread bows collection made with plantbased dyes.
• Levi Strauss & Co. acquires activewear brand Beyond Yoga. • Adidas and Beyonce’s Ivy Park label cosign the Western trend with a denim collection. • Mavi, Morrison Denim, Silver Jeans Co. and more receive Rivet x Project Awards in Las Vegas. • Co-branded Lee and Wrangler store opens in Greensboro, N.C.
• New York & Co. debuts men’s denim. • Arvind Limited enters a partnership with TextileGenesis. • NYDJ and Abercrombie & Fitch debut footwear collections. • Old Navy announces Bodequality, an omnichannel shopping experience that aims to democratize women’s sizing. • Edited says jeans “officially usurped sweatpants.” • More than 600 suppliers and 13,400 international visitors gather at Bluezone. Fabric Start and Bluezone since February 2020
New York & Co.
• GenovaJeans debuts as a consumer-facing event in Italy. • Unspun raises $7.5 million to further its mission of eliminating waste in jeans production. • G-Star Raw drops a catchy tune with Snoop Dogg to promote fall collection. • OshKosk B’gosh partners with Kith Kids for a back-to-school collection. • Lupita Nyong’o, Debbie Harry, Ben Platt and more attend the Met Gala dressed in denim. • Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger parent company PVH Corp. joins the U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol.
• Glenn Martens, Jennifer Sey and Miko Underwood are among the 2021 Rivet 50 honorees. • California Governor Gavin Newsom signs the Garment Worker
• • •
Protection Act into law. Denim PV returns with an in-person show in Milan. Replay debuts a 32-piece genderfluid collection. Abercrombie & Fitch invests in new Arizona distribution center. Zara taps Charlotte Gainsbourg to codesign a denimcentric collection. Pacsun incentivizes customers to recycle their jeans. Scotch & Soda plans to open 24 new directly operated and franchise stores by year end. Levi’s prepares to launch a visual search engine to find jeans. Material Exchange acquires Kingpins Exchange. Lenzing bows Tencel Matte technology. Re/Done launches first Jeans Redesign collection. Good American earns B Corporation status. Spanx plots expansion in denim. Candiani Denim opens a microfactory to make custom jeans.
$5.84B the size of the global ethical fashion market in 2021. —Researchandmarkets.com
Conscious consumption and emerging trends reveal new opportunities in the global denim market. w o r d s _____ANGELA VELASQUEZ
39% of denim assortments have had a sustainable transformation. —Edited
of women are now wearing a different size compared to one year ago. —NPD Group
146 the year-over-year increase in searches for brands that offer actively repairs. —Lyst
11% the year-over-year increase of low-rise jeans in the market. —Edited
the expected market value for denim fabric by 2026. —Statista
of all bottom arrivals at youth-oriented retailers are jeans. —Edited
MAKING THE WORLD A BETTER PLACE WITH LESS