Strom Denim, co-owner and CEO
Baris Izcimen
Strom Denim, co-owner and CEO

Deep Dive

With a roster that spans Reformation, Boyish, Rag & Bone, Paige, Anine Bing, Mos Mosh, Allsaints and Urban Outfitters, Strom Denim’s impact on the denim industry is wide and far reaching. The company has become a go-to source for small collections of on-trend sustainable denim. An average order comes in at approximately 700 to 800 pieces. At the helm of the denim manufacturer’s vertically integrated process is co-owner and CEO Baris Izcimen, who works alongside these premium denim brands to source the most appropriate raw materials. 

Under Izcimen, the Strom Denim design team prepares mood boards and trend reports to develop new looks. The company also shares customer feedback with the fabric mills’ R&D teams to create new fabrics or make modifications, all aimed at fitting within the current sustainability and traceability priorities. To adhere to its sustainability goals, Strom uses ozone technology that can reduce the laundry’s water, chemicals and energy consumption. The technology uses cold “ozonated” water or direct ozone gas, which cuts out energy consumption during bleaching.

Most recently, the company collaborated with Turkish denim mill Bossa to develop Reformation’s Circular Denim collection. The traceable collection allows consumers to scan a QR code on the garment with a mobile device to trace the cotton from ginning to product.

What denim buzzword do you think is overused? And what would you replace it with?

Absolutely "sustainability” is a buzzword that I think is overused. I would like to replace it with accountable sustainability and traceability. Because there’s lots of wrong terminology and confusion on both the brands’ and end consumers’ side. Every step we take is a plus and benefit for Mother Earth, but I see in the market that some suppliers and brands misuse the word “sustainability” entirely. It should be a mix of traceability and sustainability. There are lots of methods to measure the sustainability level and trace production processes to follow how sustainable that product is.

What do you wish more consumers knew about the jeans they buy?

How much work goes into one pair of jeans—water usage, chemicals, manpower—during fabric production and garment wash; as well as which harmful processes are eliminated and what is saved as a green product.

If you had one request for denim brands, what would that be?

Work on sustainability, and work together on how to improve the circularity and design with understanding of the end life of their garment. We need to work with both production and design teams at the same time to hit the targets.

What can other apparel categories learn from the denim industry?

Denim is one of the most innovative and collaborative industries. We are having lots of change in both the technology and methods used. There is a big competition in the market and brands are pushing to be better and different. All the supply chain is also working closely with brands to collaborate. This is the good part of the denim world. We are working very closely with each part of industry to have efficiency and sustainability.

What was your most recent denim purchase?

A secondhand orange tab Levi’s from a vintage store in Amsterdam.

What is your first denim memory?

While I was 13 years old, I saved money to buy a nice jean for the first time. At that time, Turkey wasn’t known for stores that sold the well-known global brands. I would go to the nearest big city to check out some American stores where you can find jeans. During my second trip, I found my first jean; it was a pair of blue Lee Rough Riders. I still remember how cool I feel when I wear that jean.