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Year In Review: The Best of Carved in Blue

In 2019, Lenzing’s denim blog “Carved in Blue” has discussed the state of denim and educated readers on important innovations driving the industry forward. With 2020 fast approaching, Rivet looked back on the series to highlight the most important denim conversations of the year.

Kingpins founder Andrew Olah talked about the most pressing issues facing the industry, including water usage and synthetic fibers, and how working with other denim leaders is the only way to make real change. “We need many brands to lead the jeans industry in excellent environmental behavior and business success,” he told Carved in Blue. “We need to show profits are possible while not damaging the planet. Once we have many examples, we will become the greenest industry in apparel.”

Carved in Blue also sat down with various mills from around the world to learn how they’ve embraced eco-friendly technology to make high-quality denim. Artistic Milliners, Candiani and others use Tencel x Refibra denim, which is made with upcycled cotton scraps and wood pulp from responsibly harvested forests, in their products to create soft, smooth and ethical fabric.

“Since Tencel x Refibra is a fiber that keeps such important features as softness, brightness and smoothness—and it contributes to the circular economy in the textile industry—it makes us happy to include this fiber in our collection,” Calik Denim told the blog.

The 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) established by the United Nations are the largest initiative for bringing businesses together in the name of sustainability. Though started four years ago, the initiative is still in need of further championing.

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To help, Carved in Blue launched a series, “SDG Decoded,” which intends to spread awareness of the goals, provide education on each of them and catch up with denim mills and brands to check in on their progress. Since the series launch, the blog has spoken with industry leaders regarding their adoption of SDG #12: Responsible Consumption & Production and SDG #6: Clean Water & Sanitation.

Carved in Blue also highlighted the immersive exhibition Arcadia Earth, which partnered with Tencel and featured its upcycled and reusable materials to educate attendees on what’s currently harming the planet. Created by artist Valentino Vettori, the 15,000-square-foot exhibit fuses virtual and augmented reality that guides people through an Instagram-worthy experience one room at a time.

Scott Morrison of 3×1 appeared on the blog in September in a piece featuring his appearance in “Common Thread,” a documentary that brought together some of denim’s leading figures. The video follows Morrison to Italy, where his passion for denim first began. There, he met with Diesel executives to talk about the brand’s cool factor before meeting with Alberto Candiani to discuss the ways Tencel is helping his mill make strong, soft fabric in a sustainable way.

And in December, Lucie Germser and Tilmann Wrobel of Monsieur-T also made a Carved in Blue appearance, discussing their earliest impressions of the industry and how they’ve evolved since. And while there were many changes to denim since they got involved with it, they both agree that going back to basics is what lies ahead.

“Denim used to be workwear, almost a utility fabric with meaning,” Wrobel told Carved in Blue. “I think that is where we have to invent its future.”

The blog also sat down with Advance Denim’s Amy Wang and The Denim Eye’s Jill Lawrence for their takes on the industry—and both called attention to a need for more innovation on the manufacturing side of denim. Wang noted that there’s no “quick fix” to sustainable manufacturing, and Lawrence echoed that sentiment, adding that more closed-loop production is a must.

“I would love to see higher volumes of post-consumer cotton becoming viable for mass production as quickly as possible,” Lawrence said on the blog. “If we can do this in a way that minimizes chemical requirements, this would make a radical difference to the environment and to our industry.”