Amy Wang is a force behind Advance Denim's eco mission.
Advance Denim’s sustainability mission goes back a decade.
In 2009, the company launched a Greenlet collection using eco-friendly fibers, including organic cotton, which made it the first Chinese denim mill to receive GOTS and GRS certification. Since then, Greenlet has expanded to incorporate other bers like hemp, recycled cotton,Tencel and Refibra. Looking ahead, Advance Denim has committed to using more than 90 percent sustainable fibers by 2023.
Amy Wang, the company’s general manager is a force behind this forward-thinking mindset.
While many efforts to curb denim’s eco impact are centered on aspects such as water usage during washing, Advance Denim has taken it a step further by tackling the dyeing process. Under Wang’s direction, the mill has invested in machinery as well as Archroma’s Aniline-free indigo to make dyeing more resource efficient.
Amid the coronavirus pandemic, Advance Denim has still been able to prioritize innovation with the timely launch of graphene denim, which boasts antimicrobial and other protective properties.
What will the denim industry be like in the next 18 months?
The reality of the global pandemic and the shutdowns around the world, is that online sales platforms will be increasingly important. As online sales become more important, the development of AI and algorithms will evolve into a variety of manifestations. With increased online competition, brands will need to find better ways to connect to consumers emotionally and spiritually with positive brand value and identity. It will be increasingly important for the whole supply chain to act responsibly in terms of environmental protection and supporting their staff and communities during and after the pandemic.
The increase of e-commerce will make the overall denim market more subdivided and personalized. This will magnify the importance of fit and comfort, with multiple end uses and occasions. The increase in e-commerce will also make fabric quality, beauty, safety, functionality, sustainability and innovation critical to attract the customer’s attention. We will see the consumption split into two tiers: low price point and high-end luxury.
It will also be increasingly important for the supply chain to become more efficient, and fast turn will be essential to minimize the backlog and inventory. This efficiency will have to be reached in an atmosphere of small scale specialized production that saves resources and reduces waste.
What change would you like to see in the denim industry as a result of Covid-19?
I am hoping that the denim industry will take this opportunity to establish true green standards with strict implementation of environmental protections. The use of chemicals that are hazardous to the environment and human beings should be strictly prohibited and replaced. The denim industry will also need to find ways to present their products and communicate with their customers digitally.
How do you define sustainability in a post-pandemic world?
After the pandemic, customers will be more cautious about their spending and impulse purchases will be replaced by purchases that are based on quality and functionality. With less disposable income, consumers will feel that less is better and will look for clothes that are more durable [with] classic appeal and better quality that can be worn for several seasons and multiple end uses. More conscious buying habits will result in less clothing, [and] this fact alone will promote sustainability.
The coronavirus has made consumers think not only about their own health but the health of the planet, and thus the ecological impact of manufacturing. They will be looking for denim that is manufactured in a way that does not have an adverse impact on their environment or communities. Denim that is derived from nature and returns to nature will spark a growth in the importance of true biodegradability. All these innovations in sustainability will have to be traceable and responsibly made.
Describe your dream jeans.
My dream jean is comfortable and fits well, while enhancing body shape with clear indigo hues and achieves all of these traits sustainably.
What is your most worn pair of jeans, and why?
A four-way stretch jean with a slight flare silhouette that enhances body proportions while being comfortable and suitable for both going to the office and hanging out with friends after work.