2022 is a new year in denim.
However, despite the changing calendar year, many things remain the same. The globe is still grappling with the Covid-19 pandemic, with the Omicron variant toppling plans such as live trade shows. But Hong Kong-based manufacturer Panther Denim says one bright spot coming out of the prolonged health crisis is a wake-up call for the apparel industry to advance sustainable development.
As the third year of the pandemic begins, there is a health case for environmental action. Many of the root causes of climate change—including deforestation and livestock farming—also increase the risk of pandemics and infectious diseases, noted Dr. Aaron Bernstein, interim director of The Center for Climate, Health and the Global Environment at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Migration due to climate change and habitat loss pushes animals into proximity with new creatures, allowing pathogens to find new hosts. And animal farming can spread diseases to people.
Fashion must focus on its own role in improving the planet by reviewing every process and action, and upgrading to better, cleaner options. Responding to the need for environmental action, Panther Denim has invested further in three key areas: sustainable factory updates; the newest, lower impact dyeing methods; and fabrics with the latest fiber innovations.
In materials, Panther Denim continues to source the most innovative and sustainable cellulosic and stretch fibers, including recycled cotton, EcoVero, Tencel x Refibra, Tencel Modal with Indigo Color technology, Lycra’s EcoMade family, Repreve, Hyosung’s Regen, Roica V550, CiCLO and carbon-zero Tencel. The mill also joined the U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol, which enhances the transparency of cotton materials, thereby improving consumers’ confidence when they purchase the products. More traceable fiber and fabric solutions are also on the agenda and in discussion with brands.
Along with responsible raw materials, Panther Denim keeps developing new sustainable dyeing methods. The mill already holds patented technologies like EQUA and C-zero, but it is expanding its solutions with the development of Indigo Dehydro, which helps save more than 40 percent wastewater depending on dye color. The wastewater created by this process is clearer than those created by the traditional dyeing method, so fewer chemicals are needed for water treatment.
Additionally, there are also chemical savings in this dyeing process. Panther’s goal was to achieve circularity of internal wastewater, and it has reduced the use of “new” water by keeping the existing water inside the processes for reuse. This is only possible through Panther’s new process to further bond the Indigo dyestuff to the fiber.
In another water-saving move, Panther Denim also has a complete water treatment facility. The mill keeps investing to upgrade and refine this plant, even though it has already met the requirements of the government as well as ZDHC MRSL V1.1.
Last but not least, supply chains are also under review, and Panther has recently won many key core and innovative orders due to smart purchasing and a financially strong backup that enables it to keep raw materials stocked. The manufacturer worked closely together with its top brands to import cotton and other fibers early enough to avoid production delays. “We are a partner—not just a supplier—for every brand to serve them fast,” said Tim Huesemann, sales director of Panther Denim.
In 2022, Panther Denim will share more about the specific challenges denim faces and its solutions to these problems.
“Our vertical platform in denim and piece-dyeing allows us to do trial and error and innovate with clients together from scratch. We update customers frequently on what is possible and what might be the limit, so that we work hand-in-hand to fulfill expectations and build strong trust,” said Huesemann. “We are open to your fabric ideas. Challenge us!”
Click here to learn more about Panther Denim.