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Denim Mills Focus on Sustainable and Vintage Qualities in New Collections

Reducing chemical and water usage in the denim manufacturing process has been a top goal for years. But with the effects of COVID-19 causing both the fashion industry and consumers to further reflect on their environmental impact, these goals are turning into requirements.

At the Kingpins24 online event, China-based mill Prosperity Textile highlighted some of its key innovations propelling the industry further into sustainable denim production. Its Neo Vintage collection culls inspiration from the past—namely, the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s—to create colors and constructions reflective of those decades. But while the resulting look may be from the past, the technology is anything but.

“This is 2020, so we have to think how we can do things in a better way,” said Bart Van De Woestyne, Prosperity Textile’s creative director. “This is how Neo Vintage was born.”

Van De Woestyne called out the 1977 concept, which is made with recycled yarn for a lower impact on the environment. It also has a hint of stretch—just 15 percent—which allows for an authentic vintage look with some additional comfort that isn’t typically found in the often-rigid denim of the past. Its “union blue” color is a mid-cast pure indigo with a pepper-and-salt wash down.

Vintage denim was also a source of inspiration for Officina+39, which presented its own adaptations in a separate video. The Italian chemical company highlighted its Recycrom Eco Marble solution, which gives the look of acid wash without using any harmful chemicals. Similarly, its Recycrom Dirty uses minimal water to achieved a distressed, vintage look.

Prosperity Textile also presented its Biostretch innovation, which provides a plant-based, biodegradable alternative to polyester—a fiber that’s often petroleum-based and therefore destructive to the environment. Van De Woestyne called out several different innovations within the collection that each provide ultra-soft stretch denim that’s more responsibly made.

The mill also presented Hybrid X4J, its new fabric technology that uses less than half the energy required in other leading stretch technologies. Its breathable fiber has a round shape that feels smooth to the skin and offers high compression and sculpting properties. It’s also solvent-free, making it one of the most sustainable stretch fabrics currently on the market.