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Global Denim Urges Mexican Manufacturers to Adopt Laser Finishing

Rivet’s 2021 winter issue has dropped! This in-depth issue examines the steps the global denim industry is taking to minimize its impact on the environment, from implementing zero waste production and design processes to establishing greenhouse gas emissions goals aligned with the Paris Agreement.

Mexican mill Global Denim sees new opportunities to finishing technologies on its home turf. The mill recently worked with Spanish technology company Jeanologia to develop an eight-piece capsule collection that highlights the capabilities and advantages of laser finishing.

By showcasing several the possibilities of laser, the mill hopes to inspire designers to “seek for their own interpretation and motivate them to find more interesting designs for their collections.” The range of laser-friendly fabrics includes in-demand constructions and fibers including stretch and rigid, as well as fabrics made with recycled cotton. The line features indigo, black and gray options to show how laser effects work on a variety of colors.

“We wanted to find several looks that will appeal to what the local market is searching for,” said Anatt Finkler, Global Denim creative director and a 2021 Rivet 5o honoree.

The purpose for the collection, she added, is to guide the Mexican denim market in advancing how it produces jeans and help brands create more responsible products. Despite European and Asian markets adopting laser finishing, she said time- and resource-intensive finishing methods like hand-scraping are still widely used in Mexico’s denim production.

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“As the industry moves towards a more sustainable path, acquiring and applying new emerging technologies is a key driver to making this ecological change,” she said. “It’s a crucial time for Mexico to step up their game and be in the same level as U.S., Europe and Asia in this field.”

Global Denim worked with Jeanologia to develop a capsule collection that highlights the capabilities and advantages of laser finishing.
Global Denim Courtesy

Though Finkler said connecting the local market to technological opportunities is challenging, Global Denim is working to overcome the barrier by offering price-competitive solutions like laser friendly fabrics. Laser finishing’s general efficiency also supports the speed-to-market benefits that Mexico’s denim sector offers North American brands. Mexico is back as the No. 2 production spot for U.S. imports of blue denim apparel, according the Commerce Department’s Office of Textiles & Apparel (OTEXA) data.

“Mexico is slowly getting in the loop on producing with technologies such as laser, and everyday more and more companies and manufacturers are acquiring these technologies. On a cost/benefit basis, it has a really great benefit in larger productions,” she said. “Nevertheless, a lot of the production is made on the traditional ways and it’s important for brands to realize that laser is one of their most sustainable alternatives and demand their productions to be made in a safer cleaner way.”