Natural colors extracted from minerals, pigments of botanical origin, recycled and compostable fabrics: sustainability was by far the most relevant trend that emerged in the latest edition of Denim Première Vision, in Berlin last May. It is not news that one of the most important segments of the global fashion industry (according to Allied Market Research it will reach 88 billion dollars by 2030, with a cagr of 4.2%) is working to reduce its impact on the planet, but the proliferation of tools, technologies and initiatives that make it possible to accelerate the path is relevant.
One of the most interesting projects in this sense is The Jeans Redesign, launched in 2019 by the Ellen Macarthur Foundation to develop a road map to produce completely sustainable denim clothing and which today has about 100 members representing the entire supply chain: “Produce jeans today requires large amounts of resources, pesticides, water, energy, and the way they are designed and produced makes reuse and recycling complicated – explains Natasha David, project manager of the Ellen MacArthurFoundation Fashion Initiative -. This is why, to activate our Make Fashion Circular project, we wanted to start from this product. In May 2021 we presented the first fully circular jeans, made by Dutch Mud Jeans, but there are still barriers in making solutions scalable in the industry. We want to collect innovations and make them available to legislators too ».
Among the solutions adopted by the participants in the project, many innovations have emerged in recent years: the replacement of metal rivets with more resistant seams; the use of pigments free of components harmful to health and the environment; recycled fabrics (Inditex has signed a 100 million euro agreement to ensure 30% annual production of Infinna, woven from recycled cellulosic fibers produced by the Finnish Infinited Fibers); the production of upcycled garments (as the Milanese Blue of a Kind does in an exemplary way, which produces denim garments exclusively from the recovery of clothing and fabrics); the use of natural fibers alternatives to cotton such as hemp and bamboo, which require very little water and no pesticides; laser technologies also used for the dyeing phases (such as the one developed by the Italian PureDenim and the Israeli Sonovia); recycled and recyclable components (the largest producer of zip in the world, the Japanese Ykk, is producing them in Econyl, the recycled nylon fiber of the Italian Aquafil).
Innovations resulting from scientific research and creativity, «a combination in which we Italians have been very good, since the Renaissance – explains Alberto Candiani, president of Candiani denim, the largest producer of denim fabric in Italy -. On the other hand, Leonardo da Vinci invented the selvedge (a textile element that characterizes quality jeans, ndr) and the denim fabric was born in Genoa ».
From the Candiani factory, founded in 1938 in Robecchetto con Induno, in the heart of the Ticino Park in Lombardy, today 20 million meters come out every year, in an increasingly sustainable way: “Being here has obliged us, and fortunately, to always be sustainable ”, explains Candiani, fourth generation of the family and passionate seeker of increasingly sustainable solutions: in 2019 he launched Coreva, the first compostable stretch denim ever produced in the history of world weaving. The elastic fiber is in fact made of natural rubber, not synthetic yarn like the traditional one: at the end of its life, therefore, the Coreva denim garment can literally be thrown on the fields (perhaps made of cotton), also because it is a bio-fertilizer.