Already selling cottonized flax fibers for decades, The Flax Company CEO Denis Druon sought to develop a hemp fiber that could meet the spinning industry’s technical requirements in response to market demands. Druon’s vision was to offer cotton spinners, weavers and brands a product that could be used with existing technologies so they wouldn’t have to modify their equipment. After a two-year development stage, The Flax Company’s Marmara Original became the first cottonized hemp in the industry to receive official sustainability certification by the OCACIA organization. The hemp also includes non-GMO seeds, has no phytosanitary products and is only rain-fed, with the fiber generating zero waste since everything is being used in the plant.
Produced in its integrated partner factories, all The Flax Company’s manufactured fibers offer full traceability from the flax fiber to the finished product. Every step of each production batch is independently traced, checked and certified from the field to the factory, from seed to the final blend of cottonized fiber.
In 2022, The Flax Company projects it will supply 10,000 tons of flax fibers to linen spinners, as well as 3,000 tons of flax and hemp fibers for technical applications such as insulation for both apparel and automobiles. Additionally, the company is producing 4 million meters of pure linen fabric, as well as 200,000 pieces of home textiles.
What denim buzzword do you think is overused? And what would you replace it with?
Everyone claims to produce sustainably, but there is no framework or standard for sustainability. This misleads many people, especially the consumer. There is a lot of greenwashing and at the same time a lot of false claims are made about cotton, trying to make it even more detestable, whereas there are some very good initiatives. While waiting for real standards to be put in place such as the PEF (Product Environmental Footprint), I would prefer to use the word “eco-friendly,” but even this word is not ideal either because it is too general.
What do you wish more consumers knew about the jeans they buy?
I hope that very soon we will know the true facts and the carbon footprint of each pair of jeans.
If you had one request for denim brands, what would that be?
My first wish would be to produce jeans that last longer and to consign it so that it can be recycled ideally for new jeans. Finally, I wish that no more jeans were produced in 100 percent virgin cotton, but that they included at least 40 percent recycled materials or low-impact fibers such as textile hemp—the very one we produce and has a negative carbon impact.
What can other apparel categories learn from the denim industry?
Because of its significant impact on the planet, the denim industry has become aware of the need to produce in a more sustainable way faster and stronger than any other industry. Furthermore, the denim industry is in the hands of large global players that have a responsibility to lead the way. I sincerely invite them to go even further.
What is your first denim memory?
My first memory is saving up to buy my first Levi's 501. I was so sad to part with them a few years later.