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Make Fashion Circular launches Jeans Redesign

By Danielle Wightman-Stone

Jul 17, 2019

Fashion

Leading fashion brands and manufacturers including H&M, Gap and Tommy Hilfiger have teamed up with Make Fashion Circular, an initiative from the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, to introduce Jeans Redesign, new guidelines that will help make the denim process more sustainable and environmentally friendly.

The Jeans Redesign guidelines have been put together by more than 40 denim experts from academia, brands, retailers, manufacturers, collectors, sorters, and NGOs, with the aim of setting out minimum requirements on garment durability, material health, recyclability, and traceability.

Based on the principles of the circular economy, the guidelines will work to ensure jeans last longer, can easily be recycled, and are made in a way that is better for the environment and the health of garment workers, in order to transform the way jeans are produced, to tackle waste and pollution, as well as the use of harmful practices.

Confirmed brands that have signed up to the new guidelines include Arvind Limited, Bestseller (through the Vero Moda brand), Boyish Jeans, C&A, Gap, Hirdaramani, H&M Group (through the H&M and Weekday brands), HNST, Kipas, Lee, Mud Jeans, Outerknown, Reformation, Saitex, and Tommy Hilfiger.

The guidelines have also been endorsed by clothing collectors and recyclers Bank and Vogue, Circular Systems, EVRNU, HKRITA, I:CO, Infinited Fiber Company, Lenzing, Recover, re:newcell, Texaid, Tyton Biosciences LLC, Wolkat, and Worn Again, as well as NGOs Fashion Revolution and Textile Exchange.

Francois Souchet from Make Fashion Circular said in a statement: “The way we produce jeans is causing huge problems with waste and pollution, but it doesn’t have to be this way. By working together we can create jeans that last longer, that can be remade into new jeans at the end of their use, and are made in ways which are better for the environment and the people that make them.

“This is just the start. Over time we will continue to drive momentum towards a thriving fashion industry, based on the principles of a circular economy.”

The new guidelines build on existing efforts to improve jeans production, including the open-source guide created following C&A and Fashion For Good’s joint initiative to develop C2C Gold Certified jeans, and the Jeans Redesign will “drive others to join the project and produce jeans in line with the Guidelines at scale”.

Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s Make Fashion Circular introduces jean manufacturing guidelines

“The respect of the health, safety, and rights of people involved in all parts of the fashion industry is a prerequisite, along with working conditions improvement in manufacturing globally,” states Make Fashion Circular. “Beyond this, the Guidelines provide minimum requirements for jeans on durability, material health, recyclability, and traceability.”

Key guidelines determine that jeans should withstand a minimum of 30 home laundries, while still meeting the minimum quality requirements of the brands, include garment labels with “clear information on product care,” as well as being produced using cellulose fibres from regenerative, organic or transitional farming methods and be free from free of hazardous chemicals and conventional electroplating. Stone finishing, potassium permanganate (PP), and sandblasting are prohibited.

Jeans should also be made with a minimum of 98 percent cellulose fibres (by weight), while metal rivets should be designed out, or reduced to a minimum, and any additional material added to the jeans, should be easy to disassemble, to aid with recyclability.

In addition, all jeans should have traceability, including information that confirms each element of the Guideline requirements, and the brands signed up can use the Jeans Redesign Logo on jeans to help consumers find sustainable and environmentally friendly denim, as each organisation will be “reassessed annually, based on compliance with reporting requirements”.

The first pairs of the redesigned jeans manufactured in line with the new guidelines are set to go on sale in 2020.

Image: courtesy of Ellen MacArthur Foundation - Make Fashion Circular