Back in July, Vidalia Denim announced plans for a new mill in the heart of the Mississippi River delta, now it has partnered with the Lubrizol Corporation to provide the stretch fibers that will eventually go into its homegrown American denim.
Vidalia Denim, a division of Vidalia Mills Co., which shares a name with its hometown of Vidalia, Louisiana, was built from the skeleton of a former Fruit of the Loom distribution center and will specialize in stretch and dual-core stretch denim.
“The production of stretch fabrics holds such an important place in the denim industry today,” said Dan Feibus, CEO of Vidalia Mills Co. “Vidalia’s decision to work with Lubrizol as a preferred supplier of stretch fibers furthers our mission to build the most efficient and environmentally friendly denim mill in North America.”
That commitment to efficiency and eco-friendly textiles is also reflected in Vidalia Denim’s exclusive use of e3 sustainable cotton, a BASF cotton seed that comes with a few conditions—specifically, third-party auditing and an ongoing commitment to sustainability in the supply chain. Vidalia Denim said it is the first such operation in the world. The mill will source its cotton across the U.S. farm belt from farmers who are enrolled in the e3 sustainable cotton program.
Rob Richardson, global business director for performance apparel at Lubrizol, mentioned Vidalia’s dedication to sustainability as one of the main reasons the partnership looked to be an attractive landing spot for its X4zol-J stretch fibers.
“We at Lubrizol are truly excited about teaming up with Vidalia to incorporate our X4zol-J technology into their denim fabrics,” Richardson said. “While X4zol-J has already been adopted by many strategic global denim brands, we see this as an essential next step in helping advance the apparel industry’s sustainability agenda. Our collaboration with Vidalia will enable brands to work locally in North America to deliver high-performance fabrics that consumers love, with even greater sustainability benefits. This alone takes miles and months out of the supply chain.”
He went on to suggest that the combination of the X4zol-J and its “favorable material and recyclability profile” and the pedigree of sustainability expected from Vidalia Mills denim would help brands with their Higg Index scores, awarded by the Sustainable Apparel Coalition.
Wrangler is currently in discussion’s with Vidalia Denim about devloping fabrics for its 2019 collection. Wrangler, which is also supporting efforts to make indigo dyeing more sustainable, praised the mill and reaffirmed its commitment to the project in a statement delivered with the announcement of Vidalia’s partnership.
“This mill is pushing the standards for sustainability denim fabric in North America,” said Roian Atwood, director of sustainability for Wrangler. “At Wrangler, we are excited about the opportunity to work with Dan and his team and the e3 cotton growers committed to sustainable agriculture practices to produce good-looking denim that utilizes innovative manufacturing methods.”
The offering marks a major move forward for stretch denim.
“Lubrizol provides us with an innovative state-of-the-art solution for sustainably produced, high-performance stretch fiber, and represents a key element in the evolution of great denim products and we are extremely excited to be working with Lubrizol on this project,” Feibus said.