Green Denim is the New Blue.

By Rebecca Reed

Denim is one of (if not) the most universal cloths in the world. Worn no matter someones age, gender or identity. Originally a workwear fabric that spawned into a youth rebellion and then towards fashion and general acceptance for all across jeans, skirts, jackets and dresses in fact anything that could be shaped from this most universal of fabrics. It has become a world wide uniform. 

Yet the globally used an loved fabric is truly terrible  for the environment using up to near (or over) 3000 litres of water to make just a few metres of denim. Being bleached and dyed the cotton before being woven into denim. With addition of adding polyester, nylon, acrylic and polyamide, this creates the stretch in jeans. Going through a lot of processes before even resembling a fabric. 

Working towards a more sustainable denim are two different ends of the fashion scale from the designer Stella McCartney to the new generation of students from the University of Ravensbourne. Taking two different approaches but both having the same outcome, that of  creating a sustainable denim clothing. 

Stella McCartney is known for being eco-friendly and having a sustainable approach to the fashion industry. Stella’s vegetarian lifestyle massively influences her brand, being one of the first brands to not use leather or animal fur. McCartney has collaborated with Canadiani and create a new biodegradable yarn to be used for 100% recyclable denim. 

Canadiana are the greenest textiles company in ‘the blue world’. Candiana view recycling as a key part of their production cycle. ‘Reduce, re-use, recycle’. Developing a yarn that has organic cottons wrapped around a natural rubber core. This eliminates the plastic and plastic based fibres in normal denim, and reduces the resources needed to make denim. 

Excitingly the the next generation of designers, the students from The University of Ravensbourne have created a collection utilising eco-friendly made different types of sustainable and recycled denim. 

Gathering a group of students, from BA Fashion and BA Fashion Buying and Brand Management to create a denim innovation project. Having denim provided by 4 different fabric mills around the world that make the conscious effort to be sustainable. Cone mills (USA), Kurabo (Japan), Bossa (Turkey) and Orta (Turkey). Showing their exhibitions around the world in New York, Hong Kong, Amsterdam and China at the denim trade shows. 

The advances in technology and the creativity towards sustainability within the fashion industry is constantly moving forward. There is still a long way to go but it is a step in the right direction.