Kenneth Bennetzen, product manager at Bestseller’s ONLY brand, wants to bring sustainability to the masses.
For Kenneth Bennetzen, product manager at Bestseller’s ONLY brand, sustainability means simplicity.
The denim supply chain is a complex one, and technology has a tendency to complicate messaging. An overall green commitment is important and necessary, but, above and beyond, it’s the product that matters, and it’s the product that will pave a sustainable future forward.
By forging such partnerships with Lenzing and Soorty for the Black Forever concept—which used fewer resources and chemicals
than traditional denim dyeing—Bennetzen and Denmark-based Bestseller are bringing trendy (and affordable) eco-consciousness to more consumers.
Why are you drawn to denim?
For me, denim is a magical fabric; its beauty is only limited by your mind. Every pair of jeans I develop is a new beautiful place to explore. With that said, to create beautiful jeans takes the best possible teamwork across the supply chain. Understanding which ingredients to put together in terms of fabric, wash, fit, style, etc., is always a great puzzle. You need the right partners throughout the entire supply chain to do that job well.
I believe the beauty of working with denim is that your personal product vision and handwriting defines if that puzzle was put together in the right way or not. At the end of the day, though, our boss—the end consumer—will decide whether we did a good job.
How can the supply chain improve the way it communicates sustainable technology to brands?
Through products. For me, it’s a simple as that. Technology is complicated, and I believe most brands will just be touching the surface of each technology. The best way to convince brands to invest, to push and believe in technologies is to show the way forward with products.
Producing in a responsible way is a must, but at the end of the day, product is king. It needs to be relevant, good quality and timeless look. It has to be mouthwatering products produced in a responsible way. That’s where the magic happens, so product focus is my key advice to technology producers.
How do you predict the denim supply chain will change in the next 10 years?
It’s a very big question. During the 15 years I’ve been working in the denim industry, so many things have changed. I predict we will see very rapid changes in all aspects of the supply chain.
But I don’t have a crystal ball. I prefer to go one step back instead, to focus on the fundamentals in our business, which sometimes seems to be forgotten: the product. What I believe will be the key driver in the supply chain, and what will continue to create changes, is the ability to create the right product in a responsible way.
I hope that everyone working in a similar role to mine, or working with products, will take their time to understand it, get to love the product and in the end “live” the product. When you understand the product, then you can make a great impact on the business you are in and with the people and companies you collaborate with. Consequentially, you will be changing the supply chain in reference to what is happening on the market.
What makes the denim supply chain unique from other apparel sectors?
Denim is a living product put together by so many different ingredients. The versatility of the product gives so many solutions and outcomes. This, I believe, creates the constant and extreme focus on innovation driven by extremely motivated and ambitious people daring to dream big.
Compared to other apparel sectors, the complexity in the denim supply chain is extreme. You need to understand and work in depth on fibers, dyeing, fabric, the art of washing, fits, styles and trims if you want to create a good pair of jeans. This I believe to be unique compared to other sectors in the apparel industry.
What’s exciting you about denim in 2019?
An exciting moment in 2019 for me was the launch of the Museum of Denim Elleti Group (MODE) and the Denim Stadium in Italy where Luigi Lovato, the Lovato family and, of course, the great people of the Elleti Group, created a fantastic night celebrating the legacy and future of Italian production. It was a great night with denim heads who appreciate the legacy and product Italian laundries have given to the world for so many years. We need to nurture and believe in top products such as Italian products.
In terms of product excitement, I am really in love with the amazing products we have created on Candiani fabrics that will be delivered during Fall/Winter 19-20. It’s a true pleasure to work closely with a partner like Candiani, who is able to combine production innovation and responsible production in a fantastic way.