Sometimes it takes a denim pioneer to introduce a game-changing solution for the very product it helped put on the map. Or so was the case for Candiani Denim, which recently debuted plant-based biodegradable stretch denim.
The mill’s Coreva stretch technology is made with organic cotton wrapped around a natural rubber core. By replacing the common synthetic and petrol-based elastomers with a new, custom-engineered component, Candiani has achieved the first-ever biodegradable stretch denim fabric without compromising elasticity and recovery properties. The result means brands can offer stretch jeans made from renewable resources and free from plastics and microplastics.
“At Candiani we are innovation purists,” said Alberto Candiani, owner of Candiani Denim. “Back in the early ’90s, we felt like stretch denim needed to be more feminine and so we blended aesthetics and performance in order to give a classier twist to our beloved ‘rustic’ fabric,” he said. “Shortly after, comfort, even for men’s jeans, was in demand by the whole industry. As we were the ‘stretch denim leaders’ we knew we could raise the bar of sustainable innovation through our R&D.”
As the company began to examine renewable resources, the mill soon landed on biodegradability as the way forward. Coreva, Candiani said, is a “fabric born from a genuine vision for the future of denim, always looking at full circularity as the final answer to the landfill issue.”
Biodegradable is emerging as a buzzword in F/W 21-22 fabric collections, however, Candiani pointed out three key distinctions about Coreva. It is the only 100 percent biodegradable stretch yarn coming from 100 percent renewable natural sources. Coreva’s performance at high elasticity is better than common elastomers, he said. And it allows denim to “return to nature what comes from nature,” meaning garments made with Coreva can be composted at the end of their lifecycle and bio-fertilize the same fields where Candiani sources its cotton with full traceability and transparency.
Denham the Jeanmaker, Hiut Denim, Stella McCartney and Triarchy are among the 11 key brands that have signed on as early adopters of Coreva. The list is a true reflection of the global scope of sustainable fashion brands that align with Candiani’s passion for R&D and innovation. The mill plans to eventually make Coreva available to more brands in early 2021.
Though Candiani said his company is several years away from scaling Coreva across its entire range of stretch denim, the innovation (and positive industry feedback) is motivating him to research other segments that can be biodegradable, especially indigo dyes.
“That is our new challenge and we are on it, big time,” Candiani said. “We have begun exploring natural indigo and its clean applications through advanced complementary technologies, like nitrogen and Kitotex, so that all of our sludge can become bio-fertilizer too.”
“Again, it’s all about the vision and how to make it happen through R&D and pretty crazy hard-working people,” he said.