Circularity has become one of the most important topics being discussed among denim experts today, with leaders throughout the supply chain developing innovations that utilize recycled fibers and set the tone for a more productive end of life. No stranger to the circular conversation, Turkish denim mill Calik Denim has added another concept to its Fall/Winter 22-23 collection that has the potential to advance the industry’s sustainable transformation.
In an interview with Rivet, Calik deputy general manager Tolga Ozkurt detailed the new innovation, RE/J, a 100 percent recycled concept that consists entirely of post- and pre-consumer waste. According to Ozkurt, RE/J is able to do what other recycled fabrics can’t: provide authentic vintage denim looks with varying elasticities by using fibers such as EcoMade Lycra and Repreve PES, both derived from recycled plastic bottles. The concept uses an open-end spinning process and utilizes Calik’s Dyepro technology, which uses no water and produces zero chemical waste during the dyeing process.
The innovation comes on the heels of the company’s E-Denim technology development, its solution for incorporating high levels of recycled content into denim without sacrificing quality. The technology allows the mill to increase its total recycled content rate to 50 percent in stretch fabrics and 80 percent to 100 percent in rigid product groups. Calik has stated that the industry average currently hovers around 20 percent.
In addition to developing circular innovations, the company has signed the Denim Deal, an initiative launched at the end of 2020 to rally the industry toward circularity. Signatories of the deal commit to a new standard of using at least 5 percent recycled fibers in all denim products, and producing at least three million pairs of jeans with a minimum of 20 percent post-consumer recycled (PCR) content.
Organized by House of Denim, the City of Amsterdam, the Amsterdam Economic Board, the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management and the Municipalities of Haarlem and the Zaanstad as well as brands like Mud Jeans, Kings of Indigo and Scotch & Soda, the initiative is gaining traction throughout the industry.
Closing the production loop is no longer just a priority for those close to fashion—it’s also gaining traction among consumers. With the climate crisis looming, consumers are growing increasingly aware of their impact, and are choosing to spend their money on companies that produce responsibly. Ozkurt noted that Calik has been ready for this awakening for decades.
“Since our beginning, we’ve considered end consumers’ needs and future trends equally,” he said.
These consumer needs and trends are largely represented within its Fall/Winter 22-23 collection, including its Blue-H concept which features a product range of rigid comfort jeans, super stretch jeans and 100 percent stretch jeans made from 20 percent hemp. Other key products in the line that address comfort include Calik’s Selfsized fabrics that have an ultra-high elasticity allowing one single size jean to fit a wide range of sizes, and the Skinlithe concept, which features specially developed yarn with 60 to 100 percent elasticity. Calik’s line of denim with 37.5 Technology features thermoregulating properties that cool the body and appeal to the growing demand for comfort.