Sometimes the answer to your problem is sitting right in front of you—it just needs a little refinement.
As denim brands and manufacturers increasingly seek more solutions for producing denim in a sustainable manner, more companies are re-examining the role that fabric finishing can play.
Consumers may be progressively prioritizing eco-friendly apparel, but they still want the characteristics they’ve come to expect from denim—namely durability and soft handfeel—both of which can be taxing on a factory’s water and chemical usage. Panther Denim aims to address these often opposing priorities with its new Diamond Denim Finish® (DDF®).
Applying DDF® to the fabric enables garment factories to use less water, less time and less chemicals to wash jeans while still achieving the same denim effects. For example, while enzyme wash is needed in non-DDF® fabrics, those treated with DDF® require only a standard garment wash. This reduction of chemical usage also eliminates the need to use additional softener chemicals.
“Stone washes are still very prominent in the denim market, but we all know that the sewage from stone washing has a very negative effect on the areas where it’s used,” Panther Denim sales director Tim Huesemann said. “DDF® doesn’t need stones to achieve the lighter shades, and we can use less washing time to achieve the same effects—further reducing water, electricity, chemical consumption and costs.”
Wash time for fabrics treated with DDF® can be reduced by 40 percent to 50 percent per garment (based on 100-piece washing load). This translates to saving 20 percent of water usage, as well as 26 percent of chemicals, 20 percent of steam and 50 percent of electricity usage. Rather than using chlorine bleach to achieve those baby blue shades, companies can instead use the more environmentally friendly hydrogen peroxide.
“We were receiving requests from our customers—on a daily basis—to help them lower their washing costs, and DDF® is now one way to manage that,” Huesemann said. “Furthermore, we heard from our customers and from our brands that conventional washing often needs re-washing and re-finishing on 10 percent to 20 percent of the garment output. By using DDF® on fabric, we can reduce the different appearances resulting from bulk washing, thus further increasing efficiency.”
Huesemann noted that the responsibility to produce more sustainably has become the obligation for every industry—most especially denim, given its long history of harming the planet and those who create it. In fact, rather than describing DDF®-treated denim as “sustainable,” Panther Denim, a denim, piece-dye and print fabric mill based in China, prefers the more accurate and conscientious term of “less impact” denim.
“If we use up the raw materials or even make the Earth uninhabitable, we will bear the consequences,” Huesemann surmised. “We as a mill and our customers all need to ask, ‘Are we improving? Do we use all available technology to lessen our impact in our daily operations?’ At a minimum, we ask that brands, denim buyers and denim designers trial our DDF® technology to see the benefits for themselves. Whether you want to laser wash or conventionally wash denim, the benefits stay the same, and for all brands that choose to go full for laser washes, we use DDF® on our denim fabrics now with a special recipe called ‘easy2laser.’”
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