In 2018, denim mills introduced a series of water-saving solutions to quench the denim industry’s thirst once and for all.
In April, Spanish mill Tejidos Royo introduced Dry Indigo, a zero-water foam dyeing process that was more than a decade in the making.
Whereas traditional rope dye for 100 yards of fabric consumes 400 gallons of water, IndigoZero consumes just 3.5 gallons—a 99 percent savings that brings with it fewer costs and greater efficiency and flexibility, since it uses a much smaller machine than other dye techniques.
Additionally, IndigoZero’s foam dyer can be sized to accommodate needs as one machine will dye approximately 3.5 million yards annually. This scaling allows manufacturers to produce at lower levels while reducing the barriers of large-scale needs to justify waste-treatment plants and large rope dye machines. The technology has the potential to reduce a company’s product development cycle by 50 percent to 90 percent. Tejidos Royo holds the worldwide exclusive for the technology until October 2019.
For Naveena, design, technology and sustainability go hand-in-hand. This year, the mill touted Horizon, a line of water-saving fabrics made using a combination of the mill’s sustainable solutions, including Ecolean and Aqualter waterless dye developed in partnership with DyStar, and its proprietary H2NO technology.
Horizon fabrics use up to 80 percent less water, 50 percent less steam and 40 percent less energy, and can improve products E.I.M. score by 40 percent. There are fabric benefits, too, like anti back staining, improved crocking and unique indigo effects.
Kilim aims to reduce the amount of dye and natural resources it consumes with a recycled, no indigo-dye collection. The fabrics’ color comes from the recycled yarns derived from post-consumer recycled jeans.
Artistic Fabric and Garment Industries introduced Zero Bleach Tech. The special enzyme stone wash allows brands to achieve light-color washes without the use of aggressive bleaching agents. In just 90 minutes, the bright raw color washes down to a pale, clear shade of indigo.
Indigo Textile Ltd. is rolling out Orbit, a collection of laser-friendly denim that dyes just the outer core of the yarn. The denim has the same look of denim dyed through to the center, but requires 30 percent less water.
Raymond UCO expanded its collection of sustainably-dyed denim, with options spanning salt-free dyeing and vegetable coatings, to a proprietary water-less dye process. The sustainable solution reportedly has no color limitations.
Canatiba launched a series of new dyeing techniques with less environmental impact than traditional processes. Eco Wash Mileneo Denim consumes 90 percent less water, while Eco Wash rids the process of harsh chemicals and uses less water.
Prosperity also experimented with cleaner dyeing techniques, including a new eco-friendly liquid indigo and organic reducing agent.
Italy-based Officina +39 took a different approach to sustainable dyestuff. The chemical company presented Recycrom, a patent pending range of dyestuff made using recycled clothing, fibrous material and textile scraps. Officina +39 has developed a system to reprocess the scraps and transform the textile fiber into colored powder, which can be used to dye new garments. Recycom is available in many colors using 100 percent recycled textile materials.
And “The godfather of denim” Adriano Goldschmied shared news at Kingpins New York in November about a new patented wash process called Wiser Wash, which will be used across collections for In the Loop x Congling and Blue Diamond.
The process involves washing garments without chemicals or stones and just a small amount of water. The result is a bright wash with clean blue and white contrasts, echoing the shared vision the industry has for a cleaner and brighter future.