FibreTrace, founder and director
Danielle Statham
FibreTrace, founder and director

Deep Dive

The increasing conversation around transparency in the fashion supply chain, drew Danielle Statham and the other founders of FibreTrace and their team to create a solution to enable clear vision of a product from raw fiber to the end garment into a customer’s hands.

Denim brand Reformation recently launched a collection featuring FibreTrace, a technology that embeds traceable, scannable pigments directly into the fabric of its jeans. Using a smartphone, shoppers can track a garment’s lifecycle—from the cotton farm, to production, to the finishing stages—securely recorded on the virtual blockchain. This will allow brands to nominate yarn, fiber or fabric with the lowest impact, enabling brands and suppliers to develop meaningful and measurable partnerships towards continuous improvement.

The technology, which is applicable to man-made and natural fibers, and stands up to wear and tear as well as recycling, holds “definitive information for transactional records” within its luminescent pigment. Those invisible dyes are embedded into raw fibers at “minute quantities,” with no impact on the ultimate look or feel of a garment. As the item moves through the supply chain, digital Bluetooth scanning devices take on information about its location, qualities, factory certifications and more.

“The FibreTrace system allows the brand and its supply chain to be connected in real-time with live connection right through to reuse and recycle, creating irrefutable storytelling for consumers,” Statham said.

FibreTrace is owned by farmers producing the raw fiber and industry experts who are focused on textiles and sustainability. The company is involved in different parts of the textile supply chain, which Statham said makes for strong collaboration and understanding to address and help solve the issues the industry is facing.

What is the biggest misconception that consumers have about sustainable denim?

I’m not sure it’s a misconception but rather, consumers have a high amount of confusion over what is good and what is bad or what the word sustainable even means.

Best practice and advancements have been made in the production of a denim article, although the staple fiber of cotton which makes our denim the versatile product it is known for after centuries still remains a mystery to many.

Denim has historically inspired opinions and storytelling in its weave, with cotton doing the heavy lifting in some respects, so sustainable denim must contain sustainable raw fibers from the beginning. As an industry, if we can educate the customer honestly about the raw fiber chosen and provide honest information of how it was grown and where it was grown for your favorite pair of denim, we have solved another part of the future where hopefully denim can pave its way to stories of aiding in positive environmental and social change.

What can the denim industry do to ensure a positive post-pandemic rebound?

During the pandemic I think all industries were given an unintentional makeover with the customer demanding more from purchases and the clothing we wear.

We should take this as a message of opportunity to think long term on how to remain relevant and be proactive on how we honestly wish to demonstrate our intentions.

Skinny jeans: Over or a new staple?

Straight or wide-leg jeans for me!

I am very fussy about the length and prefer my denim to be cut at the ankle. I love my denim to be slightly rigid, it must be cotton and must be able to move with me, so when it does, I live in it.

How can denim retail improve?

The pressure is on for the supply chain and retailers to work together to tackle the challenges of a future to compete, survive and reproduce.

Macro thinking across the entire supply chain ecosystem will require collaboration of industry standards—and at the forefront of the conversation should be the public sentiment that is driving the need for companies to step up and demonstrate an ethics-driven role in their supply chain that provides honesty and well-being messages.

In order for this to be expedited retailers will require the adoption of systems that enable companies with the agility to tailor experiences, services and products. They will also require technologies which provide expertise to gather data to enable retailers to communicate positive messages that answer consumer expectations of environmental, political and ethical vulnerabilities.

Businesses that bring innovation, sustainability and environmental commitments in their product offering will have a powerful influence and position in the marketplace with the ability to cater to changing consumers.

Organizations must connect, predict and adapt at speed, placing data at their core and be one that can expand and contract with change.

How many pairs of jeans do you own?

I have about five pairs I rotate in my wardrobe currently.

But I also have approximately 20 pairs in a box I cannot say goodbye too as they have too many good memories woven into them, including my favourites 30-year-old 501’s.

Which jeans do you wear the most, and why?

Often the ones I was wearing yesterday…denim is that garment, if made well with great fabric it works daily for you and makes the “what to wear” question so easy when you are busy.