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An exercise, putting Localism into practice


Dear Readers,


We noticed that our recent conversation around localism and FibreShed sparked interest and conversation.


Are you all frustrated when seeing the amount of transportation used for Fashion? Would you like to see operations closer to us to learn about the impact that our design decisions have? Do we see that there are so many existing solutions to make supply chains more local, but that they’re simply not applied? Do you see opportunities for existing local supply chain solutions to be utilised/implemented?


Whatever your reason, we would like to invite you on the journey of a pair of jeans produced all in a radius of 1500 km. This is not an entirely local supply chain, but it exists as we speak. All the steps are numbered in the same way as our Supply Chain 101, where you can go deep into each step, to understand what happens and how, and the good and bad.




STEP 0: DESIGN 📏

We imagine a designer sitting in Paris, sipping a glass of wine in a bistro, sketching the design of this pair of jeans. We want all production to be accessible to the designer, with limited travelling. The designer wants to learn about all the steps and make sure that they are not taking design decisions that will cause negative human and environmental impacts.



STEP 1: COTTON PRODUCTION 🌱

It all starts with cotton production. For this pair of jeans, we selected the Sag Silam project in Turkey created by Outland Denim, Precision Group and Bossa Denim, with Nudie Jeans on board the project now, as well. The Sag Silam project supports field workers in the Aegean region in Turkey, as most seasonal cotton workers move from farm to farm, and any issues faced by seasonal and migrant worker communities on farms are likely to show up in other farms within the region.


Since cotton is not produced for a specific collection or in large volumes, it tends to be shipped using methods with very low environmental impact. The cotton transported from Turkey, is in reusable containers on a large cargo ship.



STEP 2: FABRIC AND TRIMS PRODUCTION 🧵

The cotton arrives in Italy, at Candiani, one of the world’s most renowned textile producers, operating since 1938 with values of innovation and sustainability.


They’re not only fabric suppliers that focus on water reuse, certified chemicals, and renewable energy, but they are also the first denim supplier that has come up with a 100% plant-based alternative to stretch fabric, Coreva®, made from natural rubber, extracted from sustainably managed forests, all in Italy.


Our organic cotton is blended with Coreva, and dyed with natural indigo, to make a beautiful denim fabric. Fabric rolls are then sent by rail and truck to Germany.


All our trims come from Art N Craft in the Netherlands. They offer a wide range of high-quality, durable products, including removable buttons designed for reuse and recycling, Jacron patches made with cellulose, and carton tags.



STEP 3: CUT & SEW 🪡

The employees at Stitch by Stichin in Frankfurt am Main receive the fabric. It is not just any cut-and-sew facility. Stitch by Stitch is a social business that works as a tailor's workshop in a socially and environmentally sustainable manner, focusing on integrating marginalised women.


At Stitch by Stitch, our fabric is cut and combined using 100% Tencel sewing threads, organic cotton pocketing, and circular screw-off buttons, all this giving work and training to people who deserve it. Our designer knows the employees well and can travel there easily by train to work on the details and improve their skills.


Our stitched jeans now head to the UK, always using only rail, ships, and occasionally trucks.



STEP 4: WASH 💦

The jeans are received at the UK’s first sustainable denim wash facility, a recent addition that opened last month. This is Blackhorse Lane’s Denim Wash Lab and Innovation Hub, a facility that will operate both commercially and as a learning resource for students.


At the heart of the facility are two state-of-the-art machines - the G1 70 All-in-One washing machine and The Laser - by Italian denim machinery specialists Tonello, made to reduce chemical and water usage.


This stage is crucial for the design of the jeans, so it’s great that our designer can easily jump on a Eurostar from Paris to learn about the water and chemical impact, understand how the design is related to the process, and work with technical experts to achieve the desired look, without having to waste any products.



STEP 5: PACKAGING, SHIPPING 📦

Our favourite aspect of this supply chain is that everyone is collaborating closely, and distances are small, so only the same reusable packaging is used between all players and sent back either with products or folded and sent back empty to be reused.


Logistics is done in collaboration with the Ares group, which has a clear mission: to fight against exclusion through work.



STEP 6: PURCHASING, USE, AND CARE 🛒

The jeans are only sold in Europe, in stores without plastic packaging or disposable hangers. In all the countries where items are sold, centres are allocated for repair, adjustments, consulting for durability, and end-of-life collection. If the user doesn’t live close to them, they can ship their jeans for repair. In the UK, this is done in partnership with Sojo.



STEP 7: END OF LIFE ♾️

It’s great that everything is nearby and that we have a relationship with our customers. This way, we can design recycling solutions based on the specific products. If a pair of jeans can’t be used any further, we have end-of-life solutions. All trims are removed in our centres and turned into new trims. All our cotton is recycled either with Renewcell, where the cellulose is extracted to make new textiles, or directly to make recycled cotton with Candiani.



CONCLUSION

This is not a perfect solution, because it still comes with some transport and environmental impact, but it has a great social impact on all the people who contribute to the making of our pair of jeans. The Fashion industry won’t become perfect in a day, but implementing existing solutions is a great start. Our designer is happy and is pouring the second glass of wine.


Until next time friends, Always Be Curious & Stay Diligent x


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