Sustainability continues to be a hot topic for retailers, business owners and manufacturers as consumers become more conscious of their consumption of physical products, especially when it comes to apparel.
Independent business owners can make choices when it comes to sourcing, choosing vendors and manufacturers, but overarching industry change needs to come from the industry as a whole.
And Wrangler has made a monumental step in the right direction.
The 115-year-old denim business changed the way they dye denim for the first time in history, reducing 100% of the water required to turn raw denim into indigo blue.
This revolutionary new process uses foam to apply the indigo color to cotton yarn during denim manufacturing. This replaces the need to use traditional water vats and chemical baths used in conventional indigo dyeing.
In an interview with Forbes, Wrangler president, Tom Waldron said, “Foam technology reduces water consumption and pollution further upstream, helping our fabric suppliers to dramatically minimize the impacts of making denim fabric blue.”
Wrangler not only uses the foam-dye process, they also helped fund the research that made this process, now called Indigood, possible.
“We invested in the development of this innovation, because we believe it can drastically change the denim industry for the better,” Waldron said.
The dye-process goes a step further, reducing energy and waste more than 60 percent compared to the traditional denim-dye process.
Water use and wastewater are two of the largest sustainability challenges in denim manufacturing. One pair of jeans can use hundreds of gallons of water from cotton production through finishing. The denim industry hasn’t had much innovative change since the invention of synthetic dyes in 1897 thrust denim into mainstream fashion.
How did they do it?
First, Wrangler provided Texas Tech University with early stage funding to develop Indigood.
Wrangler sourced yarn from Hilaturas Ferre with 28 percent recycled material.
Next, Texas Tech worked with North Carolina-based Gaston Systems to modify the foam technology for denim applications.
Then Wrangler worked with Spanish company, Tejidos Royo to bring the first foam-dyed denim to market.
Wrangler released their first collection of foam-dyed denim for Fall 2019.
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