Denim has rightfully earned its reputation as a dirty business, but denim brand G-Star Raw is continuing its efforts to shape a new future for the fabric with the development of the first-ever Cradle to Cradle (C2C) Gold level certified denim.
The announcement follows the recent release of G-Star’s EarthColors capsule collection — a series of naturally-dyed jeans, colored with dye derived from plant waste. The collection is a collaboration with Archroma, a global textile industry leader specializing in earth-friendly color and dyeing processes, which also helped Patagonia develop its sustainable denim collection.
To develop the sustainable denim, G-Star partnered with suppliers Dystar, Artistic Milliners and Saitex, evaluating the entire design process to identify opportunities to reduce environmental impact. The result is a denim fabric made from 100 percent organic cotton, grown without any synthetic fertilizers or toxic pesticides, and the cleanest indigo-dyeing process to-date. Developed with Dystar and Artistic Milliners, the Crystal Clear process uses 70 percent less chemicals, no salts and produces no salt by-product during the reduction or dye process, consequently saving water and leaving clean, recyclable water effluent.
G-Star also worked with Saitex to develop new washing techniques that ensure 98 percent of the water used can be recycled and reused, with the remaining 2 percent evaporating, leaving no water left behind to be wasted or released into the environment.
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To further enhance product sustainability, G-Star removed all components that could not be easily recycled — such as rivets and zippers — replacing them with eco-finished metal buttons. Additionally, the brand says it will ensure all labeling and carton packaging are responsibly sourced.
“Almost everyone has a pair of jeans in their closet. As a key player in this market, G-Star Raw takes responsibility to lead by example in promoting sustainable denim innovation,” said Frouke Bruinsma, Corporate Responsibility Director of G-Star Raw.
“Our new denim fabric and its revolutionary indigo process will become an open source for the rest of the industry to use. We would like to invite others to join us towards cleaner and more ethical denim production globally.”
The RFTPi collection is just the latest denim innovation from G-Star, which in 2014 partnered with Pharrell Williams' Bionic Yarn on its RAW for the Oceans collection, which incorporated marine plastic; and in 2015 teamed up with Calik, the first bluesign® denim mill, to produce the first bluesign-approved denim fabrics, which came onto market in 2016.
Now, to further sustainable innovation in the industry and inspire a sector-wide shift in practice, G-Star and its mill partner have created an open-source access to their sustainable denim fabric-development processes, which can be accessed through the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute’s Fashion Positive Materials Library.
“We are really proud to have collaborated with our partners G-Star and Dystar in developing the most sustainable denim fabric ever made at Artistic Milliners,” said Omer Ahmed, Director of Artistic Milliners. “Together we have pioneered a radical new dyeing method which is hydro and salt-free, we call the process Crystal Clear. This is perhaps the most radical change to the indigo dyeing process since its industrialization. Even though this formula is in its infancy, we are hopefully that in due time it will be adopted by the denim industry at large as there is an unprecedented environmental/water saving potential in using this method.”
The G-Star Elwood RFTPi jean, together with its counterpart D-Staq RFTPi denim jacket, will be available in stores and online beginning February 15, 2018 for both men and women.