Orta Anadolu’s head of marketing and washing, Zennure Danışman, is passionate about denim’s future. Inspired by her experience in fabric and washing, she is advocating for earth-friendly production processes, combining what she describes as the newest techniques and latest trends in sustainable fashion with innovative marketing solutions.
As a graduate of Istanbul Technical University, Danışman found her first professional job at a denim-focused subsidiary of Calik Holding, where she worked to improve the production and quality rates in both its cutting and sewing departments. After a year there, she made her move to Orta Anadolu. Since starting at the 68-year-old textile business as a product development engineer, Danışman has risen the ranks, overseeing the production of seasonal collections and preparing capsule packages for customers as a finishing and washing development engineer before taking on the role of marketing and washing manager in 2019.
When Orta Anadolu established a new Denim Service stitching atelier and laundry in Bahrain, she helped manage and lead it, adapting recipes, initiating new stitching and laundry processes and training the new team. In 2016, she even volunteered when Orta partnered with the Ecological Research Society (EKAD) to support sea turtles.
A self-described travel lover, Danışman said she is chasing both vintage objects, the latest technologies and innovations and “everything related to denim and indigo.”
What is the biggest misconception that consumers have about sustainable denim?
Greenwashing is still one of the roadblocks that customers face today. The lack of standardization and authority control throughout the sector causes the market to be vulnerable to sustainability claims without solid grounds. That is why brands need to educate themselves on the global challenges and the solutions first; set science-based targets and then educate their customers to grow the demand for better solutions.
The manufacturers are advanced in innovative solutions, but because the driving force for the industry usually comes from the consumer or the brand side, these innovations usually stay untouched or the project level. That is why collaboration is key for [the] sector to achieve a healthier denim ecosystem.
What can the denim industry do to ensure a positive post-pandemic rebound?
Society is yearning to sense freedom, joy, compassion and real human conversations. As denim industry partners, we need to turn this passion into purpose with impactful platforms that promote transparency and traceability. We need to be open to everyone who wants to know more about their denim choices. We need to join consumers by pushing back on throw-away fashion with eco-engineered denim. Our aim is to be part of the solution in fashion without waste, because a great pair of jeans is an emotional badge, a reminder that we can all do good and feel good.
Skinny jeans: Over or a new staple?
Changes in lifestyle is causing a surge in demand for products that speak to lounging and relaxation. Less rigid modes of working no longer require a corporate uniform, and when so many of us working from home, we want our clothes to be soft and flexible…That’s why we are still seeing skinny jeans in the market that still sell.
On the other hand, Gen Z is eager to cancel skinny jeans, while millennials are still not sure to surrender them. When we consider Gen Z’s disruptive power, especially on social media, I think the days with looser and wider jeans are around the corner.
How can denim retail improve?
The real impact of apparel retailers and brands on social, environmental, and financial sustainability comes from the decisions they make on their supply chains. Therefore, they need to work with their suppliers’ together, as an ecosystem, to achieve greater progress. Collaboration and mutual investment are the key here. Brands need to educate themselves, set science-based targets and then educate their customers to guide them to demand for better solutions.
How many pairs of jeans do you own?
I’m a keeper. Working as a washing designer, [I like to keep the] best developments that I’ve created over the years. They remind me of my experiences and my laundry journeys in washing workshops. I also love to keep my parents’ old jeans from their youth. They are timeless and they carry the legacy. Additionally, every season I choose some pairs from our new collection for my own closet. It allows me to internalize our new narrative and designing mentality.
However, every season I review my old jeans and I donate some if I need more space for a new unique piece that I’m in love with. It’s also my passion to play with the old jeans and upcycle them into home accessories.
Which jeans do you wear the most, and why?
Mostly, I prefer to wear raw jeans. Thanks to the miraculous structure of indigo, I love that it reflects our movements, body structure and almost our lifestyle and offers us amazing colorful surprises day by day. And, of course, I love to wear the jeans that I designed and washed.