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Gap’s Bettermade Denim Designed for Circularity

Gap has teamed with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s Jeans Redesign project to release three new, circular denim styles ahead of Earth Day on April 22.

A unisex Icon jacket, women’s low Stride jean and men’s ‘90s Loose Fit jean launched Wednesday as a part of Gap’s Bettermade Denim Collection. Designed and developed with longevity and end-of-life recycling in mind, the line’s newest additions incorporate the Jeans Redesign guidelines. The platform advocates that new denim be created to be used more, “made to be made again,” with ease of disassembly for recycling or reuse, and contain recycled or renewable inputs.

BetterMade Denim '90s Loose Jeans, $98.
BetterMade Denim ’90s Loose Jeans, $98. Gap

Gap recommitted to the Jeans Redesign objectives in 2021, and this drop represents the brand’s latest effort to advance its circularity goals. Each piece is made with a blend of 90 percent organic cotton and 10 percent recycled cotton fibers, and features removable hardware so it can be easily recycled. The jeans and jacket were developed as part of Gap’s Washwell program, which uses at least 20 percent less water than conventional denim washing methods, and processed using chemicals that meet ZDHC Level 1 standards, discharging no hazardous chemicals into waterways or groundwater.

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Jeans and other denim goods created under the Jeans Redesign guidelines must meet certain standards for durability, material health, recyclability and traceability. Denim made according to its standards must withstand at least 30 in-home launderings and still meet durability requirements, include at least 98 percent cellulose-based fibers within the total textile composition by weight, and facilitate effective end-of-life sorting based on fabric content and removable trims.

“For decades, jeans have been at the heart of countless fashion collections, however, they are no exception to the fashion industry’s take-make-waste approach,” according to Jeans Redesign.

BetterMade Oversized Icon Denim Jacket, $128.
BetterMade Oversized Icon Denim Jacket, $128. Gap

“Making jeans requires large amounts of resources, such as pesticides, water, and energy, and the way they are designed and constructed makes jeans difficult to remake and recycle after use,” it added. “Redesigning jeans is providing a starting point on the journey towards a circular economy for fashion.”

Earlier this year, H&M released its own Jeans Redesign capsule as a part of its “Let’s Make Denim Better” campaign. Garments including denim jackets, jeans and colored denim trousers were made with organic cotton and up to 35 percent recycled cotton upcycled from post-consumer waste. Up to 9 percent of the recycled content in certain pieces was made from Circulose, Renewcell’s branded fiber made from a pulp consisting of recycled denim.