Though denim trends may look like they’re traveling back in time, they’re getting more futuristic in terms of how they’re crafted. Pakistan-based Artistic Milliners announced a series of new developments that bring denim production to the 21st century—one of which gives the company and its newly acquired L.A.-based denim laundry Star Fades International (SFI) an exclusive on a new sustainable wash technology in North America.
The companies partnered with Italian chemicals experts Officina+39 to develop two new washes using its new Aqualess technology. Officina+39 debuted the technology earlier this year to give the effect of vintage washes using less water and fewer chemicals.
The first wash, Clear Fade, mimics the popular acid wash and bleached finishes recently seen on the Fall/Winter 21-22 runway. This effect is achieved using Officina+39’s Oz-One Powder, which replaces harmful chlorine or potassium permanganate chemicals and requires no water or temperature during application—just machine rotation.
The second, Clear Vintage, gives the effect of vintage stonewashed denim using laser finishing and Officina+39’s Aqualess Aged, a waterless aging compound. The solution has an Environmental Impact Measurement score of 13, which the company reports is 69 percent lower (and more sustainable) than that of a conventional wash.
Both Clear Vintage and Clear Fade are certified by the ZDHC Program, which monitors the discharge of hazardous chemicals into wastewater. By only using water during the rinsing process, both wash technologies together can save 75 percent less water compared to conventional methods, using just 12.5 liters of water per jean as opposed to the standard 52 liters.
Initial tests conducted by Artistic Milliners found that the Clear Fade look reduced water usage by 32 percent, energy usage by 16 percent, chemical impact by 37 percent, and worker impact by 30 percent. Clear Vintage tests showed a 76 percent water savings, 30 percent energy reduction, 85 percent chemical impact reduction, and 64 percent worker impact reduction.
“At Artistic Milliners and SFI, we draw on our extensive library of vintage garments to help our customers develop new washes for their collections,” said Lizzie Kroeze, SFI’s vice president of design and development. “SFI’s Clear Fade and Clear Vintage looks will help our customers recreate these classic looks without sacrificing their sustainability goals.”
Next up, SFI will digitize its vintage archive to increase convenience and efficiency in the design process. Already, SFI is able to process 100,000 units per month, and has plans to increase that speed to 300,000 units per month.
More than 650 organizations such as PVH, VF Corporation and Columbia Sportswear—as well as some of Artistic Milliners’ customers—use Browzwear’s 3D solutions. With this partnership, the company is hoping more customers will join.
“Browzwear offers the right mix of tools to create true-to-life 3D designs with the flexibility to integrate with our automated cutting and finishing processes,” said Murtaza Ahmed, Artistic Milliners director. “Digitization is the future, and we want to take a lead on this front. We are excited that our brand partners now have the option of working on 3D designs with us. We anticipate that 3D digital samples will greatly reduce the design iterations and speed to market resulting in improved productivity and sustainability. It is yet another step towards green value chain creation.”
The company stated that it has already experienced more efficiency in fit development and sample approval processes, and is working with Browzwear’s e-learning platform, Browzwear University, to scale the technology internally.
Other companies throughout the denim supply chain are banking on a digitally-designed future. Last summer, denim finishing technology company Jeanologia launched eDesigner, a digital tool that ensures the accuracy of garment finishing.