Cone is upgrading the age-old tradition of turning up the cuff of selvedge jeans with a philanthropic twist.
The denim mill debuted the Cone Community Collection of selvedge fabrics designed to raise awareness for worthy causes, and to benefit supporting organizations. Each season, Cone will select two causes to support. The first edition will raise awareness for breast cancer and pride.
“Denim breaks through all boundaries, speaks to many individuals and is personal to them,” Pierette Scavuzzo, Cone Denim’s director of product design, said. “Many people personalize their jeans and wear the same pair for years; ultimately the jeans begin to reflect the person. Our Cone Community Collection takes that a step further allowing the brand and wearer to show and express the causes that are personal to them.”
Designed with neutrality in mind that’s suitable for both men and women, the collection is defined by selvedge lines that correspond to the cause. The pride fabrics have a rainbow-hued selvedge line. The breast cancer fabrics have a pink selvedge line. Cone teamed with sister company American and Efrid (A&E) to incorporate the dyed yarns.
“The tradition of incorporating color into denim selvedge and the practice of cuffing the leg of the jean to show off the selvedge makes selvedge denim a perfect choice for this special collection,” Scavuzzo said. The fabrics, she added, have a “timeless authentic character and a brilliant optimistic indigo shade with just enough stretch for a comfortable wear.”
Breast cancer and pride were selected because of their widespread impact, Cone Denim president Steve Maggard said. “Denim is the most globally iconic fabric. People across cultures identify with and connect personally to their denim, making it a perfect fabric for a Cone Community Collection,” he said.
For the breast cancer collection, the mill chose to partner with the Alight Program, a Greensboro, N.C.-based program that provides financial, educational and emotional assistance to area women and families to help understand and navigate their diagnosis and treatment plan.
“Likewise, the awareness and importance of inclusivity and acceptance resonates across our world and offers a positive impact to individual lives and communities,” Maggard said. “We believe the Cone Community Collection offers an additional voice to these principles and an opportunity for Cone to step up and help make a positive impact. We are actively exploring organizations focused on inclusivity and anti-bullying that share these principles.”
The Cone Community Collection was first introduced at Kingpins Amsterdam in October. It was also on display this week at Denim Premiere Vision in London, where the company showcased a denim tote made with the pink selvedge, as well as rainbow-hued thread from sister company A&E. The mill has received an incredibly positive response from a range of global brands, Scavuzzo said of the early days of the release.
And there is no shortage of brands that create cause-oriented collections. Denim retailers like Abercrombie & Fitch, American Eagle, Gap, Madewell, Levi’s and Old Navy routinely release pride-themed collections each June.
“The denim community as a whole is very active in promoting and supporting social causes,” Maggard said. “We believe that if we design fabrics that have broad appeal and reach as many brands and people as possible we can do our part to raise awareness and support causes aligned with the values and soul of Cone Denim, which transcend throughout Cone’s history of giving back to employees and communities through community services and philanthropies.”
Consumers will also be able to support these causes through the purchase of denim fabric and accessories from the White Oak Shop, where a percentage of the proceeds will go to designated organizations. Breast Cancer Awareness products are available now and the Pride Awareness fabric is scheduled to launch in Spring 2020.
“We are excited to continue the collection for future seasons, expanding beyond breast cancer and pride awareness,” Maggard added. “It is important to us as a responsible corporate citizen to participate and support our customers, employees and the broader denim community to raise awareness and money towards pertinent social concerns of our time. We have the ability to reach many people and use denim as a vehicle to share positive and impactful messages.”