Vertically integrated denim manufacturer Soorty has developed a new stonewashing method that produces vintage-inspired wash effects without the use of pumice stones, which have long been considered a detriment to the environment.
Pumice stones require constant replacement and create harmful sludge in wastewater. Stone-based wash methods also contribute to the fashion industry’s mounting waste problem, as they can damage garments as well as the industrial laundry machines used in the process.
By using a combination of chemicals and enzymes backed by certification organizations such as GOTS, Green Screen, ZHDC and Bluesign, Soorty’s Zero Stone method requires minimal use of natural resources. The process results in positive effluent discharge, while increasing production speed and preventing fabric from tearing during laundering.
The Karachi, Pakistan-based company estimates that, compared to conventional wash methods, the Zero Stone process consumes 43 percent less water, 18 percent less energy, 19 percent fewer chemicals, and 5 percent less worker impact. It also notes that its technology has the lowest attainable liquor ratio of 1:1, which refers to the amount of dyebath solution used in relation to the weight of the material.
The innovation produces a variety of washes, ranging from light indigo to faded black denim. Vintage-inspired denim washes are gaining popularity as ‘80s denim trends—marked by acid wash and general excess—resurface.
Soorty’s development nods to its recent water stewardship achievements and continued work in sustainability. Earlier this year, it earned one gold certification and one core certification status of its business from the Alliance for Water Stewardship (AWS), making it the first company to attain this status in Pakistan—a country the United Nations considers to be at high risk for water scarcity. The AWS is a global membership collaboration that promotes a universal framework for more sustainable local water resources.
Soorty is not alone in its stone-less wash innovations. Earlier this month, garment finishing technology firm Tonello partnered with Italian mill Candiani Denim to develop O-Zone, a method for applying sustainable ozone processes to jeans to achieve results like sun-faded looks, localized discoloration or ombre effects on a small scale.
Other developments include the Jecostone System which features Jecostone, an abrasive multi-fiber carpet that covers the entire drum of an industrial washing machine, and Jecorock, an abrasive pad just 7 centimeters in diameter that works freely inside the machine in a similar fashion to pumice stones. The innovation was created by Italian abrasives company Itexa Group after four years of collaboration with laundry experts, and is estimated to curb water consumption by 80 percent compared to conventional wash methods.