Jeans don’t just disappear at the end of their life, but if they’re designed with circularity in mind, they can come close.
Frame recently debuted its first range of biodegradable jeans. The collection includes fabrics from Italian denim mill Candiani, which features plant-based Coreva Stretch Technology that wraps organic cotton around a natural rubber core. By replacing the common synthetic and petrol-based elastomers—which are detrimental to the environment—with a natural component, the fabric is able to maintain its sustainable qualities without sacrificing its elasticity and recovery properties.
When paired with Candiani’s signature microplastics-free dyeing process, the fabrics are degradable, meaning they can be broken down via natural or chemical processes.
Jeans are available in three different fabrications—rigid 727, comfort stretch 785 and super stretch 778—and position Frame alongside sustainable labels AG and Stella McCartney, which have each utilized the innovation for their own biodegradable collections.
Each fabrication degrades respective to its stretch content. Stretch fabrics include varying amounts of Roica V550, a yarn developed exclusively for Candiani by Roica’s parent company, Asahi Kasei, and which breaks down in a fraction of the time that conventional yarn needs. The rigid fabric naturally breaks down the fastest.
The collection’s sustainability focus continues with its use of Tencel threads that degrade with the denim, embroidered “drivets” which take the place of hard-to-recycle metal rivets, and buttons made from recycled metal that are intentionally easy to remove. Pocket bags and labels are made of organic or recycled cotton, and paper hang tags are printed with soy-based ink to ensure every component of the jean is degradable.
Garments contains a scannable QR code that provides consumers with information on its environmental impact. The collection also uses Frame’s water-saving wash methods which are free of bleach, potassium permanganate and stone washing.
Each of these sustainable qualities is in accordance with the Ellen MacArthur Jeans Redesign initiative. In April, Frame launched its “Ellen” collection featuring three women’s denim pieces—an oversized denim jacket, a relaxed full-length straight leg jean and a cropped slim straight-leg jean—that meets the project’s circularity standards. The project has garnered impressive participation from denim mills and brands since launching in 2019, and has recently updated its guidelines to include stricter requirements for circular denim.
In addition to its biodegradable denim line, Frame states that 63 percent of its Winter 2021 denim will include sustainable fabric and wash methods, and 17 percent is degradable at a style level.
Frame’s biodegradable denim collection spans slim, slouchy, bootcut, straight, flare and skinny fits, and is now available on Frame’s online store and in select locations. The collection retails for $218-$258 and is offered in women’s sizes 23-34.
To celebrate the launch, the brand commissioned London-based creative studio Isabel + Helen to create circularity-themed window designs at its Madison Avenue, SoHo, and Dallas locations, as well as at Harrods in London.