A strong advocate for making denim circular and abolishing chemicals, Sara Ladd puts her beliefs to work as the head of product art Hiut Denim Co., a U.K.-based brand dedicated to sustainability. The brand is known for valuing quality over quantity, producing its apparel in small batches of no more than 100 pairs of jeans per week. Despite being a small brand, Hiut and Ladd has big ideas. In 2020, Hiut Denim Co. produced its first micro-plastic free, biodegradable jeans with the help of Candiani Denim. The brand used the mill’s patented, plant based Coreva stretch technology for its line.
This year, Hiut Denim Co. debuted its lowest-impact denim line to date, featuring a limited-edition micro collection of zero waste men’s and women’s jeans. The line was produced using scraps from the denim label’s previous collections, saving them from going to waste.
What denim buzzword do you think is overused? And what would you replace it with?
Sustainable. It is a word that is yet to be defined and is unmeasurable. Replacing this with “impact” is our focus. An exterior factory wall at Hiut Denim reads: “How can we be lower impact today than we were yesterday.” It is something that we are constantly reminded of. And something we try to do each day. This should be on top of everyone’s to do list each day. We should be looking at the impact that we have on the planet, and how we can reduce that to lead to a better one. This will help move brands to a circular economy and move away from the linear.
What do you wish more consumers knew about the jeans they buy?
Brands have a responsibility to do their part to reduce their impact. Each process of making a pair of jeans needs to be considered. And we know, denim is not the winner for sustainable practice. Once the jeans are in the consumer’s hand, it’s over to them. At Hiut, we encourage customers to join our No Wash Club and to go six months without washing their jeans. Educating the customer on what they can do to lower their impact, how they can care for their jeans, the wash process…. Take on that responsibility and do your bit to help.
And love the journey of raw denim. Most of our Hiut jeans are sold raw. Not only is raw denim the lowest impact for a jean because it requires no extra water, processes and impact, it also gives the consumer the opportunity to make them theirs. That’s the beauty of denim. And the longer you go without washing, the more beautiful that first wash will be.
If you had one request for denim brands, what would that be?
No more bad stuff. No more chemicals. No more bad fibers. Let’s make denim circular.
What can other apparel categories learn from the denim industry?
Share the knowledge. Be transparent. Do better.
What was your most recent denim purchase?
A pair of Hiut Denim Peggy jeans in a beautiful Japanese selvedge from Kuroki. I’ve had them for six months, and yet to be washed.
What is your first denim memory?
The loose fit, wide leg, low cut jeans with deep pockets of the ’90s. Ultimate comfort. Let’s bring them back.