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PVH Exec Calls for Denim Industry to Align Sustainability Goals

The global denim industry came together  last weekfor Kingpins24, a two-day digital event by trade show organizer Kingpins comprised of days-worth of video assets provided by the supply chain. And it is with that same level of gusto that Nicolas Prophte, vice president of PVH Corp.’s global denim center in Amsterdam, would like to see his cohort unite toward a common action plan for sustainability.

During Kingpins24, Prophte described a tangled web of contradictory messages, greenwashing and false claims disseminated by denim brands that is ultimately confusing consumers.

Though the sentiment behind most consumer-facing communication is well-intended, Prophte, who guides the R&D for PVH brands like Tommy Jeans and Calvin Klein, said it can come across as “chaotic” and oftentimes falls short of the total truth, resulting in unfavorable press.

“Each brand has their own way [they communicate] to the consumer and each brand does not have the same expert level in denim,” he said. “I think sometimes they send out their messages too quick without checking the real data.”

The industry, however, can come together to correct its mistakes.

Prophte said he would like to see companies put their competitive instincts aside to align their top 10 sustainability goals. With a common set of challenges in mind, industry players can then use the same technology and solutions that already exist to improve and measure progress, he said.

This holistic approach to change would allow the denim supply chain to “scan all of our processes, from cotton seeds to consumer behavior,” he said.

Denim just needs a maestro to orchestrate it. Though part of what lures people into the denim industry is the fabric’s complexity and possibilities, he said the industry lacks a central platform to bring these ideas together.

That responsibility, Prophte said, may fall on the shoulders of the Transformers Foundation, the newly created non-profit that promotes best practices in the denim supply chain. Alignment is the first step, but the foundation can be the stage where the ideas come to life, he added.

“We talk a lot, but I think now it’s time for action,” Prophte said. “The time is already ticking—we know that. We lost already too much time.”