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Banana Republic and Tejidos Royo Team to Produce Waterless Dyed Denim

Gap Inc. has launched an initiative to produce denim using a waterless, indigo foam-dyeing technique, starting with a partnership between its Banana Republic unit and Spanish denim mill Tejidos Royo.

Tejidos Royo’s innovative new process, called Dry Indigo, can reduce water usage by up to 99 percent, while using 89 percent fewer chemicals, cutting energy usage by 65 percent and eliminating water discharge when compared to the traditional slasher indigo, or sheet dyeing, process.

“Leveraging this revolutionary new dyeing process directly supports Gap Inc.’s manufacturing goal to conserve 10 billion liters of water by the end of 2020, as well as Banana Republic’s recently unveiled sustainability goals to produce eco-friendly denim, reduce water impact and promote cleaner chemistry,” Gap Inc.’s executive vice president of global sourcing, Christophe Roussel, said.

“Tejidos Royo is a trusted partner and true pioneer in sustainable innovation,” he added. “We are thrilled to work with them on this exciting new venture and have no doubt that this will change the future of denim manufacturing.”

The Dry Indigo technique, which uses a foam dye that adheres to yarn, produces a denim fabric comparable in hand-feel, aesthetics, performance and washability to traditionally dyed denim, Gap said. The Banana Republic denim with Dry Indigo will be available through a special collection for men and women in Spring 2020.

The collection will include selectively sourced and sustainable pocketing and trims, such as 100 percent Global Recycle Standard (GRS) certified recycled polyester zipper tape. The manufacturing will be done at Saitex, a state-of-the-art sustainable factory in Vietnam that recycles as much as 98 percent of the water it uses.

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The Dry Indigo process is currently exclusive to Tejidos Royo and Banana Republic is one of the first brands to pilot the technology, along with Wrangler, which announced its foam-dyeing foray earlier this month. Creating the ground-breaking process required 10 years of collaborative research with Gaston Foam Systems and Indigo Mills Designs before its launch.

The foam-dyeing technique occurs in a space of less than 65 feet, compared to the hundreds of feet typically necessary for a traditional dyeing machine, resulting in a significant reduction in energy usage.

Acknowledging that the apparel industry is one of the largest and most intensive users of water, which is why the company has worked closely with supply chain partners to implement numerous water-saving initiatives. In 2016, Gap brand introduced Washwell, a smart denim wash program that has helped the company save more than 229 million liters of water when compared to conventional wash methods. Gap said recently that so far it has saved 5.7 billion liters of water through combined efforts. Banana Republic will adopt the Washwell program in 2020.

Earlier this month, Gap announced its plans to derive 100 percent of the cotton it uses across all brands from sustainable sources by 2025. The initiative will include sourcing cotton from the Better Cotton Initiative that is organic, recycled and verified as American or Australian grown.

In addition, Gap Inc. CEO Art Peck said recently that Old Navy, Gap and Banana Republic are launching denim with 5 percent post-consumer mechanically recycled cotton content. Gap and Old Navy will launch their recycled cotton denim for holiday 2019, while Banana Republic will launch in Spring 2020.