Denim decodings: Sustainability The - Autumn-Winter 24-25 - Denim Première Vision
Season by season, the sustainable denim offer is growing. Autumn-Winter 24-25 is no exception, with new proposals in all the major fields of industry improvement – from dyeing to stretch, from recycling to durability.
Historically, cotton is the fiber of reference in terms of denim composition. At a time when environmental impacts are being measured, cotton cultivation is being particularly singled out, especially for its high consumption of water and pesticides.
The most widespread alternative, organic cotton, has less impact on the environment. Depending on the certification, organic cottons can ensure the absence of GMOs, pesticides or insecticides. And in recent seasons, organic cotton has been moving upmarket, offering premium qualities.
A new-generation cotton proposes to protect ecosystems even more: regenerative cotton. The principle of regenerative agriculture is to leave the environment (soils, water, air, biodiversity) in a better shape than it was prior to cultivation.
Recycled-denim solutions are on the rise.
To start with, we’re seeing an increase in mechanical recycling. The limitation to mechanical recycling is that cotton fibers shrink during the process, and decrease in quality. So the recycled fibers have to be mixed with long-fiber cottons to guarantee the textile’s durability. However, the very latest developments make it possible to create textiles with increasingly higher percentages of recycled cotton. One of the advantages of this process is that the fiber retains its color after being recycled. By choosing similarly-colored batches of garments, it’s possible to directly re-spin the recycled fibers. This avoids the bleaching and dyeing steps, and thus saves water, energy and chemicals.
Other techniques involve chemically recycling fibers to obtain new cellulose filaments. Here we can cite Circulose, made from post-consumerjeans, or Agraloop, made from recovered agricultural waste, especially hemp.
Upcycled fibers are mixed with eco-responsible cellulosics, such as Ecovero, a viscose made with FSC-certified wood pulp. These virtuous blends meld naturalness and fluidity, while drastically reducing impacts.
These supple qualities are particularly adapted to tops and shirts. New classics to incorporate in all collections.
One of the central issues in terms of sustainable production is too often forgotten: the idea of longevity. Beyond production and end-of-life impacts, the durability of a garment is key to countering overconsumption.
Denim is traditionally known for its durability. Along with technical innovations and fantasy, there will always be a need for quality, durable denims. This season is no exception, with exceptionally fine qualities of robust and premium cotton twills, such as selvedge denim.
The search for elasticity is an inherent part of the story of jeans. The characteristic rigidity of the fabric has long been synonymous with a notable lack of comfort. The emergence of elastane enabled the emergence of very skinnylooks, an iconic staple of the 2010s. Today, however, this stretchy synthetic fiber has been identified as being very hard to degrade. Its presence in a textile, even in minute quantities, increases the overall impact of the product at the end of its life.
The industry is increasingly searching for alternatives to conventional elastane to achieve the same elasticity. This selection presents products with lower-impact elastane. Their decomposition, under certain conditions, is much faster than that of conventional elastane, and more akin to that of natural fibers.
Dyeing is one of the most polluting steps in textile production overall, and many alternatives have been developed to help remedy this.
The first and most obvious is not to dye natural fibers. Cotton, in particular, grows in a natural shade of ecru, which in certain varieties can go up to a deeper beige.
Another alternative to petrochemical-based dyes are mineral dyes, which are also becoming more important. And lastly, ‘earth dyes’are dyes derived from the waste products of other industries, such as agriculture.
Don’t miss our other denim decodings of the AW 24-25 highlights: Interference and High Drama.