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New Mini Documentary Sheds Light on ‘Jeans Redesign’ Progress

Denim brands this fall are releasing their first jeans that follow the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s Jeans Redesign guidelines, an industry-wide effort to put circular jeans on the market.

Recently, brands including Boyish, Triarchy and Weekday have launched products based on the circular principles. Last week, H&M introduced a men’s capsule collection of modern workwear-inspired pieces that follow the guidelines. Dozens more, including Gap, Reformation, Lee and Wrangler, are set to debut their own products in the coming months, the foundation stated.

To mark the collections’ arrival, the foundation released a new mini documentary that highlights the significance and progress of its Jeans Redesign guidelines.

Featuring Outerknown co-founder Kelly Slater, 2020 Rivet 50 honoree Piyumi Perera from denim manufacturer Hirdaramani, as well as executives from brands like Tommy Hilfiger and Weekday, the film shares the steps denim suppliers and brands are taking to make their jeans more circular—from using buttons that are easy to remove to incorporating fabrics made with recycled content.

The film is part of Ellen MacArthur’s efforts to educate end consumers about responsible jeans manufacturing and consumption. It will be shared across the foundation’s social media channels.

“If we are going to make fashion circular we need the whole system to be involved,” said Francois Souchet, who leads the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s Make Fashion Circular initiative. “This is just the start and there is much more to be done, but the Jeans Redesign has been about getting the industry moving and showing what is possible. It is exciting to be at the point where customers can now be a part of this journey, to help us create a fashion industry that thrives in the long term, and benefits society and the environment.”

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The foundation worked with more than 80 denim experts to develop the Jeans Redesign guidelines, which launched in 2019. The guidelines provide minimum requirements for jeans on durability, material health, recyclability, and traceability.

Under the guidelines, jeans should withstand a minimum of 30 home launderings and include garment labels with clear information on product care. Fabrics should be made from using a minimum of 98 percent cellulose fibers from regenerative, organic or transitional farming methods and be free of hazardous chemicals. Metal rivets should also be designed out, or reduced to a minimum. In general, any additional trims or details added to the jean should be easy to remove for recycling.

Jeans Redesign addresses traceability by requiring brands to provide information that confirms each element of the guidelines is met. Companies that meet the requirements are granted permission to use the foundation’s Jeans Redesign logo on qualifying products. Usage of the logo will be reassessed each year.

Denim mills have an additional requirement. They must implement the ZDHC wastewater guidelines into their production. The guidelines state that wastewater volume created for denim fabric must be a maximum of 0.025 m3/yard or below.

AGI Denim, Artistic Milliners, Cone Denim, DNM, House of Gold, Prosperity Textiles and more are among the global roster of mills participating in the initiative.