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Isko Taps Former Levi’s and Patagonia Designer for a Reused and Recycled Materials Collection

A new collaboration by Isko strips down denim to the bare essentials.

The denim mill teamed with British designer and former Levi’s and Patagonia designer Miles Johnson to create Light on the Land, a denim collection made using low-impact materials and responsible finishing techniques. The 34-piece collection was presented last week in New York City.

For the capsule collection, Johnson worked side by side with Isko’s R&D team utilizing the Isko R-TWO program, which combines a mix of reused and recycled materials.

The reused cotton comes from Isko’s own production loss, which is tracked, traced and has the Content Claim Standard (CCS) certification. The reused cotton is then blended with recycled polyester derived from PET bottles. Depending on the content, fabrics can have the Recycled Claim Standard (RSC) certification or Global Recycled Standard (GRS) certification.

Light on the Land
Light on the Land Courtesy

The creative concept incorporates responsible design principles, including minimal washing, removable trims made of eco-metal, natural-based buttons and labels, green bar tacks and embroidered rivets.

For the designs, Johnson referenced function-first garments from the outdoor category, like a puffer coat, pop-over shirt, cargo jeans and quilted vest. Garments were adorned with environmentally themed patches of mountains, aquatic life and slogans like “Wear out your clothes. Not the planet.”

“We called it Light on the Land for a reason because we wanted to be low impact,” Johnson explained at the New York event. “All of the decision-making was based on not wasting… It’s an important thing to not turn a blind eye to an industry that constantly wastes.”

Light on the Land
Light on the Land Courtesy

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The project is a marriage of Johnson’s twin areas of expertise: denim and sustainability.

Over the course of 14 years, Johnson has held several leadership positions at major denim brands. In 2011, he was appointed to design director at Levi Strauss & Co., where he took control of all creative direction around Levi’s premium collections, including Levi’s Vintage Clothing, Levi’s RED and Made and Crafted.

In 2017, he became senior creative director of product design and development at Patagonia where he oversaw the work of all designers in technical and sportswear categories. During this time Patagonia’s business grew from $600 million to $1 billion.

“We all know that the biggest threats to this planet is thinking that somebody else is going to save it,” Johnson said. “I’m inspired by trying to be a responsible designer and to do the right thing, because we have choices as designers. We can actually help change things.”