Robotics and digital apparel company Unspun is making bespoke runway-ready denim more accessible.
On a mission to eliminate textile waste, the B Corp partnered with Collina Strada founder Hillary Taymour to create four pairs of custom jeans for the sustainable label’s New York Fashion Week show. The collaboration marked Unspun’s first appearance at a major fashion week.
“We had so much fun designing with Collina Strada for the runway. We were able to take more creative leaps than we would normally have,” said Beth Esponnette, Unspun co-founder. “The lead up to any fashion week is so fast paced and chaotic that we didn’t see the final touches on the jeans until the casting call the day of the show. That made it even more exciting for us.”
That element of surprise, she added, works only “when you trust a brand as much as we trust Collina Strada.”
Collina Strada’s previous collaborations with Levi’s underscore its efforts to reduce waste. The New York City-based label has upcycled vintage and deadstock Levi’s 501 jeans and Trucker jackets with seasonal motifs like stars and color swatches. In addition to prioritizing sustainable fabrics like deadstock materials, recycled cotton and rose sylk, a cellulose fiber derived from rose bushes, the brand also works with The Or Foundation to catalyze a circular economy in places that the textile industry treats as dumping grounds for their waste.
Sustainable components were carefully selected for the Unspun x Collina Strada jeans.
The oversized, baggy fit styles were made with GOTS-certified 100 percent cotton 12.5 oz. ecru fabric from Candiani and vintage light and mid color 100 percent organic cotton 13 oz. fabrics from Evlox, which were then finished with Tonello’s All-In-One laundry system. Esponnette said the jeans have a low-impact EIM score of 11.
Dorlet’s removeable non-electroplated raw zinc alloy buttons were selected because they’re easy to recycle. The zippers were made from non-electroplated brass and the zipper tape was made from post-consumer recycled polyester.
Unspun selected Resortecs’ Smart Stitch thread, a heat-dissolvable stitching thread that enables brands to transform their products into recyclable pieces from the manufacturing stage. Organic cotton pocketing from Copen United was also used.
Collina Strada’s Taymour added her own unique touch to the jeans. “They were painted in a plaid pattern, embellished with decals, and covered in gorgeous rhinestones,” Esponnette said.
The jeans will be available for sale through Unspun and Collina Strada’s websites in the coming months.
Although on-demand manufacturing is core to Unspun, Esponnette said the collaboration with Collina Strada—a leader in using diverse models—shows the company’s strength in inclusive design.
“Collina Strada’s model casting shows off the success of our technology,” she said.
The similarities between the two brands don’t end there, however. “A few people close to each brand brought us together because it’s quite clear, at least from our perspectives, that Collina Strada and Unspun should join forces,” Esponnette said.
“Our missions are almost identical, but we each take on different challenging parts of the process, with Collina Strada focused on the runway and Unspun focused on the technology,” she added. “Everything else overlaps nicely—both brands have very loyal followings, strong communities, quality product, intentional production, and a rare optimism for the future.”