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Denim Première Vision sees recycled denim, sustainability overlap

Denim Première Vision celebrated 10 years in Paris last week with numerous exhibitors that reflected the show’s fashion status. Besides showcasing key fashion statements for Spring/Summer ’19, it also served as a platform for the denim supply chain to share new concepts including sustainability, technology and performance fabrics. The influence of the Alliance for Responsible Denim (ARD) was evident at Denim Première Vision. Kilim Denim, Orta Anadolu and Tavex were among the ARD members offering post-consumer recycled denim fabrics for Spring/Summer ’19 at the trade show.

ARD addressed two sustainable topics: Improving the environmental impact of denim finishing and developing a preferred industry buying standard, business model and roadmap for the introduction and scaling up of post-consumer recycled denim production. ARD sees post-consumer recycled denim as a fabric/product with a minimum content of 5 per cent post-consumer fibres, meaning at least 5 per cent of fibre comes from pre-used jeans. The ARD urges brands and mills to use post-consumer recycled denim to reduce their dependency on virgin materials and drive impact savings across all areas from electricity to water.

“Every year we make about 2 billion pairs of jeans and every pair uses 3,500 to 7,000 litres of water to produce,” said Helene Smits of ARD. As per Levi’s lifecycle assessment for jeans, about 68 per cent of water is used to cultivate cotton alone. The Alliance for Responsible Denim believes that by eliminating the cultivation process and including 20 per cent recycled content into jeans, brands can save about 500 litres of water per jeans. ARD is made up of key stakeholders and experts from the denim industry, including brands such as Mud Jeans, Nudie Jeans, G-Star, Chasin, American Toyda Kuyichi and Imps & Elfs.

Sustainability comes at premium cost. The mills did not disclose the price of their fabrics, but post-consumer recycled denim is not a cheap fabric. A price premium comes with most recycled products; however, more innovation, experience and scale can reduce prices in the future.