Jean whizz, this is how designers are tackling the denim eco ...

Lifestyle

Jean whizz, this is how designers are tackling the denim eco disaster

Sustainable, cost-effective and quick indigo dyeing may hold the key to fashion’s future

Virginia Postrel

The T-shirt is inky blue and incredibly soft, with drawstrings up the sides to adjust the fit. The indigo sweater is like nothing I’ve ever seen, the texture of its varied stitches enhanced by the wear patterns you usually see on blue jeans. The fabric is silky, with a beautiful drape. For the first time in several years, I find myself in the throes of clothing lust.

These clothes aren’t for sale — yet. They’re samples, designed by premium-denim pioneer Adriano Goldschmied to fire the imaginations of apparel makers. They demonstrate the possibilities of a new approach to indigo dyeing. Instead of colouring the outside of cotton yarn, the indigo was added during the process of creating Tencel Modal, the eco-friendly cellulose fibre produced by Austria-based Lenzing. The yarn was spun from fibre that was already blue.

These days Goldschmied is among the designers most prominently focused on reducing denim’s environmental impact. The T-shirt carries motifs and figures proclaiming that part of the story: “99% less water, 90% less chemicals, 99% less electricity, 99% less waste water, 100% less heat energy.”..

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