As the denim industry works to achieve increasingly aggressive sustainability targets, companies look to the greatest minds in technology and creativity to achieve their goals. For Artistic Milliners, that means looking no further than its own technology—once described as the “cleanest indigo dyeing process in the word”—and revamping it to make it even cleaner.
The Pakistan-based denim manufacturer recently introduced Crystal Clear 3.0 (CC 3.0), the third version of its game-changing dye technology developed in partnership with chemical company Dystar and longtime brand partner G-Star Raw in 2017. The technology was an essential part of G-Star’s “most sustainable jeans ever,” a product made with the world’s first Cradle to Cradle Gold Certified denim.
CC 3.0 provides all of the environmental benefits of the original versions with added values in the finishing process.
“Thinking of the process flow from fiber to finished garment, we came a long way with sustainable fibers and garment washing techniques, but wet processing [which consists of indigo dyeing and fabric finishing] remain a challenge for denim mills,” said Ebru Ozyadin, senior vice president, sales and marketing at Artistic Milliners. “Crystal Clear technology solved the indigo dyeing part of the wet processing, but we had to take it a step further to lower the impact in denim fabric finishing as well.”
Crystal Clear is centered around an organic fixing agent that requires no salt and 70 percent fewer chemicals than conventional indigo dyeing methods. Because Crystal Clear uses pre-reduced liquid indigo that requires no additional water or salt, it can recover up to 100 percent indigo. The hydro-free dye process leaves behind clean and recyclable water effluent without any salt byproducts—a significant accomplishment for the industry, as conventional systems can be much more wasteful and damaging to the environment. The energy savings that result from a heat-less indigo fixation process is an added benefit.
Overall, the new technology uses 15 percent less energy, 40 percent less steam and results in fewer chemicals and less organic matter decay in effluent water compared to salt-based dyeing methods. Like its predecessor, CC 3.0 is Cradle to Cradle Gold certified and uses GOTS-certified chemicals.
The new version uses less water, energy and labor—and it’s all because of CC 3.0’s focus on more efficient fabric finishing. CC 3.0 is able to achieve these measures of success thanks to a collaboration with longstanding partner Jeanologia, transforming the technology into a full dyeing and finishing process. It incorporates ozone finishing (O3 Finish) , which eliminates several water- and chemical-heavy sub-processes like de-sizing, mercerizing and multiple washes. Instead, it condenses the process into one wash using Jeanologia’s G2 Dynamic ozone technology, which Ozyadin refers to as “the most eco-efficient ozone processing technology in the denim industry.”
The use of G2 Dynamic also lowers the environmental impact (EIM) score of garment washing and makes it possible to design laser-optimized shades.
Artistic Milliners is already offering the product to its brand partners, and presented the concept in a collection called Reflection, which includes eight fabrics blended with 50 percent Tencel Refibra, post-consumer waste recycled cotton and organic cotton to further showcase its sustainable range.