Wiser Tech, founder
Fuat Gozacan
Wiser Tech, founder

Deep Dive

As the founder of material innovation and technology firm Wiser Tech, Fuat Gozacan has been working to sustainably advance one of the most water-intensive processes in the industry: denim finishing.

The company’s Turkey-based research and development center launched an AI-based system called WOX earlier this year, which builds upon the company’s patented Wiser Wash ozone bleaching process, introduced in 2017. Doing away with toxic chemicals and the standard pumice stone usually used to lighten fabric, the method relies on just water and ozone. WOX takes the process a step further, employing an algorithm that controls resource use while learning how to optimize the process for the future.

“With this system, we aim to put forward a new paradigm in the denim production industry,” Gozacan said. “Our aim is not to build an ordinary machinery, but to create 360-degree innovations and solutions beyond Industry 4.0.”


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

Sustainability is picking up rapidly among consumers and is likely to be critical for competitive success in the future. As a result of the Covid-19 crisis, consumers have significantly changed their purchasing practices: more than 60 percent consider the use of sustainable materials and finishing processes to be an important purchasing factor.

Yet there are still some misconceptions, especially when it comes to denim garments. Let’s imagine a ‘good’ pair of jeans. For me, it requires three basic characteristics: high-quality fabric, thought-through details and perfect fit. For lots of consumers, sustainable production seems a barrier to achieve these characteristics, which is far from the truth. It is possible to have high-quality and good-looking sustainable denim that perfectly fits your style and lasts long thanks to sustainable innovations such as Wiser Wash, our patented and award-winning ozone bleaching process.

The price point is also one of the biggest misconceptions about sustainable denim. Of course, affordability is a varying subject, but consumers generally think that they need to pay a fortune to buy a pair of sustainable jeans. I think that this perception will change soon. Because with more people considering sustainability as an important purchasing factor, more fashion brands, including fast-fashion lines, started to improve the efficiency and sustainability of their end-to-end product development and sourcing processes.

Yet there are still some misconceptions, especially when it comes to denim garments. Let’s imagine a ‘good’ pair of jeans. For me, it requires three basic characteristics: high-quality fabric, thought-through details and perfect fit. For lots of consumers, sustainable production seems a barrier to achieve these characteristics, which is far from the truth. It is possible to have high-quality and good-looking sustainable denim that perfectly fits your style and lasts long thanks to sustainable innovations such as Wiser Wash, our patented and award-winning ozone bleaching process.
The price point is also one of the biggest misconceptions about sustainable denim. Of course, affordability is a varying subject, but consumers generally think that they need to pay a fortune to buy a pair of sustainable jeans. I think that this perception will change soon. Because with more people considering sustainability as an important purchasing factor, more fashion brands, including fast-fashion lines, started to improve the efficiency and sustainability of their end-to-end product development and sourcing processes.

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

The world has begun recovering. Shoppers are going out and seeking new outfits beyond loungewear, and many are [shopping for] denim. It is anticipated that this rush will cause a boom in the denim industry and of course each of us wants to profit from this opportunity. But how? Above all, we need to push our limits, forget about the past, and get out of our comfort zones. With the pandemic, a lot has changed, especially the consumer’s mindset. It’s obvious that we need to keep up with it at every stage of our production processes, from design to packaging. If we want to make a tangible impact, we need to touch their lives and moods with our products.

Fashion trends are still driven by pandemic habits, meaning that relaxed-fitting styles are still on the rise, even though most of consumers have started to go back to routine daily life. Comfort continues to remain king, so does comfortable jeans. Denim manufacturers are setting the trend of offering a new generation of fabrics by delimiting the boundaries through hybrid blending techniques in order to produce more innovative and sustainable garments. On the other hand, finishing processes and technologies do not stand still, they are also constantly evolving. With all these developments and innovations, we hope that the disadvantages created by the pandemic will soon fall behind us.

Skinny jeans: Over or a new staple?

With Gen-Z declaring that skinny jeans are no longer cool, this question has become very popular. No matter how much the fits like loose and wide-leg jeans are on the rise, my 25-year-long experience in the denim industry tells me that denim lovers can’t quit the skinnies easily. They will always be essentials of the wardrobes.

How can denim retail improve?

The current retail climate is still shrouded by the uncertainty of Covid-19. Yet this uncertainty gave an opportunity to innovate the existing retail mindset. Today innovative products and their marketing stories are gobbling up market share and it is getting harder to stand out amongst such aggressive competition.

Retailers have no other choice but to join this challenge. That’s why they need to renovate their sales strategies. They need to create a new shopping experience by using different innovations and technologies. While the products become more innovative every other season, the stores can’t remain the same. They need to keep up with the demands of consumers and the dynamics of our age.  Just to give an example, some of the retailers combine the physical and online services thanks to the virtual reality applications, allowing shoppers to virtually try on the outfits. Strengthening the engagement with the consumers, this kind of experience has always been appealing.

How many pairs of jeans do you own?

To be honest, I don’t know the exact number. Spending many years in this industry, jeans are not just an outfit for me, they are objects of curiosity. So as far as I am curious about a pair of jeans, I would go ahead and buy them.

Which jeans do you wear the most, and why?

I don’t have favorite jeans, because I believe in fashion. So, I follow the trends, and do my best to keep up with them. But that’s not my sole criteria. I also believe in responsible fashion. The jeans I would wear need to be produced responsibly. That’s why I feel extra confident and comfortable when I wear Wiser Wash jeans. My sense of style is shaped in the direction of sustainability.


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