Two weeks ago, Kingpins24 streamed worldwide kicking off the first-ever digital denim tradeshow. I am always SO excited to see what new technology is at Kingpins, and this time around, WASHLESS DENIM caught my eye.
If you've been following the Diligent Denim blog, you'll know that cotton cultivation and consumer care are the most significant impact areas. Levi's did a Life Cycle Assessment on a pair of their classic 501s and proved that consumer care needs to be addressed! 23% of the water used and 37% of the climate change impact comes from the consumer care stage. In comparison, garment finishing contributes a small 1% to the total water consumption and 8-10% to climate change. These numbers might not sound too alarming to you, but they are significant and shows that YOU can personally make a difference by washing your jeans more responsibly.
By washing your jeans every 10x instead of every 2x, you can reduce energy use, climate change impact, and water intake by up to 80%!
But, what is the industry doing to try to help you with this matter?
Rudolf Group, a science-driven research and development company, presented their new concept for WASHLESS DENIM! The concept uses a combination of two existing technologies: BIONIC-FINISH®ECO and SILVERPLUS®.
BIONIC-FINISH®ECO is a “system of macroscopic branches that attach to the fiber. Imagine seeing the branches of a tree, where the distance between 2 branches is smaller than the dimension of the molecule of water. This means water doesn’t go through. Such a system leads to less frequent washing because of the protection against the accidental spill of liquids. And against the accidental droplets coming from someone talking or sneezing.”
SILVERPLUS® is a “micro-structured element coated with metallic silver. The concept controls odor-causing bacteria and is exactly the same technology used to prevent infections in clinics and hospitals”
When these technologies are applied to any garment, it reduces the need for domestic washing while maintaining the original look, feel, and quality of denim. By washing less we're not only saving water and energy, but we are also extending the life of them. However, if we were all to take care of our jeans more responsibly on our own, we shouldn’t need these additives.
Alberto De Conti, Head of Rudolf Fashion Division stated, “For the WASHLESS DENIM initiative to be successful it needs to be understood and embraced by brands and retailers because they have a pivotal role to play when it comes to inform and educate their customers. We hope that truly responsible apparel brands and retailers will share knowledge with their audience because pushing consumers to have a different caring attitude towards the denim they purchase is of paramount importance.”
Because of the times we are living in, we might see more brands start to incorporate antibacterial aspects in products, and it looks like denim is next. US Group, responsible for producing names like Levi's, Madewell, and Guess, presented 'InteliJeans' which utilizes antimicrobial properties to safe-proof your jeans from stains and smells, and I am sure many more mills will be popping up with their own take on it too.
Tonello also just released 'SaniCare' which utilizes ozone gas to sterilize and disinfect product! Tonello is a laundry system solutions company that is recognized for its revolutionary washing and dyeing machines, and their innovative technology like O-Bleach which uses ozone to bleach denim. But, they've managed to find another use for this magical gas, which will be very important coming out of this pause and will help build up trust between the supplier - brand - retailer - consumer.
Look at what the denim-ployed comes up with to future-proof your products! WASHLESS DENIM was born out of the need to make a tangible difference, and that my friends is the most important part. You can help the denim industry make an actual difference by just washing less!
So, if you'd like to start taking care of your jeans better, I wrote a conscious guide to washing your jeans a few months ago :) Until next time, STAY DILIGENT FRIENDS!