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Oritain X Cone Denim: Verifying Sourcing Claims Through Forensic Science

It can sometimes feel like we have to take on the role of a secret agent or private investigator to get to the bottom of sourcing claims. The tangled web we call our supply chain can be quite difficult to navigate and subcontracting only makes waters muddier. But how would you feel if you knew exactly where the cotton in your jeans was coming from? If you’re anything like me, I’d feel at EASE and that’s exactly how Cone Denim and Oritain want you to feel.

Cone Denim and Oritain announced their new partnership a couple of months ago, setting a new standard for traceability for the denim industry to follow. The news had me very excited but as always, the curious cat in me wanted to know more.

When I first got to talking with Oritain, one of the first things that jumped out at me was that the science used was originally used for murder investigations and is admissible in the court of law. Hence the nickname, the CSI of cotton.

Being a forensic science company, Oritain’s mission is to help companies, like Cone Denim, verify their sourcing claims with an ‘origin fingerprint’. Unlike any other traceability program, Oritain doesn’t need to add or rely on any tracers, which allows you to test a product at any stage of the manufacturing process without any change to production!

Oritain has managed to map out the majority of the world’s cotton, which is why Cone Denim can provide comfort to their clients that sourcing claims can be scientifically proven, whether that be to underpin sustainability claims or ensure cotton is not from countries or regions of concern. Curious to know if you’re actually getting 100% USA grown cotton? Oritain’s got you covered with the proof.

Science can tell us a products ‘origin fingerprint’ by measuring the natural concentrations of Trace Elements and Isotopes, but let’s break that down a little further. Plants are creatures of their environment and what they absorb from their surroundings have defining elements that allow us to see their ‘origin fingerprint’. If you take cotton from Brazil and compare it to cotton from India, it will actually look a lot different. On top of this, Oritain’s third party verification process ensures nobody can cheat the system.

“It’s one thing to have science that can test where the cotton came from, but it’s another thing to have a testing method and procedure in place that assures it is completely 3rd party and that it is completely documented,” Steve Maggard, President of Cone Denim noted. “If a mill can select and cherry pick which samples they are sending in for testing, then no matter how good the test is, I don’t think it has validity and I don’t think it has the ability to put your customer’s minds at ease.”

Watch my interview with Ben Tomkins, Senior Business Development Manager at Oritain, and Steve Maggard, President of Cone Denim, to see how this partnership works in practice, and how Cone Denim X Oritain are creating loyal customers by giving them the comfort of knowing things are done right.


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