Head of Special Dyes -Textile specialties Archroma
Creativity without sustainability no longer makes sense
'Roadmap to Rational Denim' is anew collaborative project among four leaders in their respective fields of the denim production chain: Archroma, Garmon, Lenzing and Royo. Their brainchild, presented at Kingpins Tradeshow in April, aims to produce denim garments based on the most efficient use of resources, especially water, at each stage of production.
The four share the belief that the ubiquitous garment can be made in a more responsible way than currently practised. In creating a new best practise case, the companies intend to demonstrate that the combination of fashion, innovation and sustainability can indeed bring forth a new and improved denim collection-from fibre to finish. Each of the participating companiescontributed to the project with their expertise in their part of the manufacturing process, in order to provide a working guideline, or a roadmap, towards the more rational and sustainable production of jeans.
Archroma, which initiated the collaboration, participated with its experience in eco-advanced innovative colours and effects, and its multi-awarded Advanced Denim dyeing technology. Lenzing's man-made cellulose fibre Tencel is used by itself or blended with recycled cotton. By using Tencel, the demand for cotton can be lowered, thus decreasing water consumption drastically.
Spanish textile mill Royo is a leading manufacturer of sustainable fabrics which made the fabric and also dyed the warp with the right dyes and chemicals and had the fabric woven and finished for garment stitching.
Finally, Garmon, the leader in R&D and the marketing of total chemical solutions for the apparel industry, was responsible for adding the final look and hand feel to the garments. Barbara Russ spoke to Miguel Sanchez, Head Of Special Dyes (textile specialties), Archroma.
Why would we need your 'Rational Denim' collaboration?
At Archroma, we continuously challenge the status quo in the deep belief that we can make our industry sustainable. The message that 'Rational Denim' intends to transmit is that, in denim and outwear fashion, creativity without sustainability no longer makes sense. The other way around doesn't either.
What does the collaboration include?
The collaboration gave birth to a prototype collection, which was displayed at Why by Kingpins, and explained in more detail during a conference which included speakers from all four companies. The collection comprises three different types of fabrics, which are made into very different styles of jeans and shirts. There is one made from cotton and Tencel, a heavy denim fabric for men's styles; a stretch denim made from 100 per cent Tencel which was used for softer ladies styles in skinny fits and jog pants; and a very soft, summery fabric, also made from 100 per cent Tencel, which was used for shirts and tops.
What is your immediate goal now?
Our goal is to convince designers, denim experts and brands to embrace sustainability not just on the surface, by using organic cotton for example, but instead to adapt the full circle of sustainability. We cannot continue doing denim the way we have been in the past. We want to open up the discussion about a new way of making denim. Patagonia is, once again, on the forefront of sustainability. Have you seen their new video?
We watch the most recent Patagonia ad together. They advertise Patagonia denim, using 100 per cent organic cotton, Fairtrade certified stitching and a dyeing process that consumes 84 per cent less water, 30 per cent less energy and produces 25 per cent less CO2 emissions than conventional production. "Denim is filthy business" is their claim. To say that denim is a filthy business is quite strong. We say, less provocatively, that denim can be done better.
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