When Madewell decided to clean up its signature jeans, it turned to two sustainable leaders in the denim space, Italian mill Candiani and Vietnam-based factory Saitex.
The women’s brand recently launched its Eco Collection, a six-piece line made with organic cotton that Madewell says requires 65 percent fewer chemicals and 75 percent less water than conventional denim fabric.
The Eco Collection includes two high-rise skinny jeans, a high-rose slim boy jean, skinny overalls, a demi boot cut with frayed hem and a shrunken stretch jean jacket.
The water and chemical reductions are made possible by Candiani’s Kitotex technology, a dye and finishing process that uses biodegradable chitosan, a substance naturally found in the exoskeletons of shrimp.
Chitosan replaces harmful substances that are typically part of denim production, while saving water and purifying it, too.
The technology is a key ingredient in companies’ efforts to reduce their chemical and water consumption. Target, Denham and Lee are among the brands that recently launched collections using the sustainable alternative to chemical dyes.
To manufacture the Eco Collection, Madewell tapped Saitex, the LEED-certified denim factory that recycles 98 percent of its water back into its production, runs on solar energy and converts its sludge into bricks for building affordable housing.
Since partnering with transparent apparel brand Everlane in 2017 for its first denim collection, Saitex has become the industry’s go-to partner for sustainable and ethical production.
Eco-conscious men’s brand Outerknown launched denim produced by Saitex this week after once swearing off the category because of its dirty reputation. The factory has also been tapped by G-Star Raw and Amazon in an effort to make their supply chains greener.