A group of major fashion brands and manufacturers agreed to change the way they produce jeans by adopting new guidelines from the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s Make Fashion Circular initiative. These new Jeans Redesign Guidelines are based on circular economy principles.
Confirmed participants in the effort to date include denim brands Gap, C&A, H&M Group, Lee, Mud Jeans, Outerknown, Tommy Hilfiger, Bestseller, Boyish Jeans, HNST, and Reformation, the foundation said. Manufacturers Arvind Limited, Hirdaramani, Kipas, and Sai-Tex signed on as well.
The Ellen MacArthur Foundation explained that the guidelines build on existing efforts to improve jeans production such as the open source guide created after C&A and Fashion For Good’s worked on developing C2C Gold Certified jeans. Redesigned jeans are expected to start going on sale next year, according to the foundation.
Clothing collectors and recyclers also support the Jeans Redesign Guidelines. They include Bank and Vogue, Circular Systems, Evernu, HKRITA, I:Co, Infinited Fiber Company, Lenzing, Recover, Re:newcell, Texaid, Tyton Biosciences, Wolkat, and Worn Again. Nonprofit organizations Fashion Revolution and Textile Exchange endorsed the guidelines.
“The way we produce jeans is causing huge problems with waste and pollution, but it doesn’t have to be this way,” said Francois Souchet, lead for Make Fashion Circular. “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.”
In addition to prioritizing the health, safety, and rights of the people involved in the fashion industry, the Jeans Redesign Guidelines present minimum requirements for the following:
- Durability: Jeans should withstand a minimum of 30 home washes while still meeting the minimum quality requirements of the brands, and garments should include labels with clear information on product care.
- Material Health: Jeans should be produced using cellulose fibers from regenerative, organic or transitional farming methods; they should be free of hazardous chemicals and conventional electroplating; stone finishing, potassium permanganate, and sandblasting are prohibited.
- Recyclability: Jeans should be made with a minimum of 98% cellulose fibers by weight; metal rivets should be designed out or reduced to a minimum; any additional material added to the jeans should be easy to disassemble.
- Traceability: Information that confirms each element of the guideline requirements has been met should be made easily available; organizations that meet the requirements will be granted permission to use the Jeans Redesign logo on jeans produced in line with the guidelines; Jeans Redesign logo use will be reassessed annually based on compliance with reporting requirements.
“This is just the start,” Souchet said. “Over time we will continue to drive momentum towards a thriving fashion industry based on the principles of a circular economy.”