G-Star is taking on the challenge to do good for the planet and look good while doing it.
“Our philosophy is and has always been ‘just the product,’ meaning that G-Star is focused on constantly reinventing denim. Designing denim for the future also includes taking responsibility for the social and environmental impact of our products. That is why, for G-Star, sustainability is a condition for doing business,” explained G-Star RAW Corporate Responsibility Manager Maaike Kokke.
Since 2008, Amsterdam-based G-Star has been a pioneer in sustainable denim. Highlights have included the Spring ’11 debut of the RAW Sustainable collection, consisting of three lines: RAW Nettle, RAW Recycled and RAW Organic. The brand changed the game in 2012 when it shifted its attention to using sustainable materials throughout its entire collection, focusing on bestselling styles.
With this move, G-Star has been able to increase the share of sustainable materials to around 15 percent of its collection and counting.
“Our aim is to make the entire production process of denim more sustainable. We work on innovations in all aspects of making denim, focusing on the materials, washes, dyes, the manufacturing process, etc.,” Kokke explained.
One of G-Star’s many strengths is viewing what others would consider roadblocks as creative challenges.
“Roadblocks can be passed left or right and force you to find another route to the solution and to continuously set new goals,” Kokke quipped. “We have a dedicated global team to work towards our goals and continuously improve our sustainable performance.”
Part of G-Star’s continuous progress toward improvement includes MODE Tracker, a holistic, transparent and verified progress tracking tool launched by MADE-BY to support brands and retailers in improving their sustainability performance through measuring and communicating year-over-year progress. G-Star reports its progress via MODE Tracker and give consumers the opportunity to check if the brand is “on track.”
“We developed our definition of sustainable materials together with MADE-BY. We consider materials ranked in category A, B and C of the MADE-BY Fiber Benchmark as sustainable. Of these materials, we mostly use organic cotton, recycled cotton, recycled polyester and TENCEL® in our products. We use TENCEL® in several products, including some of our most important denim fabrics,” Kokke said.
G-Star has written the playbook for sharing sustainable efforts with consumers, most notably its pioneering denim collection, RAW for the Oceans. The denim, made with bionic yarn created out of plastic waste reclaimed from the sea, has been the brand’s biggest campaign with a focus on sustainability, amplified by the support of its now co-owner Pharrell Williams.
“We were able to create demand and awareness for the ocean plastic pollution problem by communicating the serious subject of sustainability in a positive and fun way with products that have a high relevancy and universality like jeans,” Kokke said.
Being a European company, where sustainability is a hot topic in the media, G-Star realizes it is under the watchful eye of consumers calling for brands to act responsibly. Kokke said consumers want to know where a product is made and have the opportunity to make informed choices. As a result, G-Star has integrated a ‘where-is-it-made’ button in its online store to find out in which factory the product is made, one of several ways the brand aims to become more transparent.
“We see that our customers expect G-Star products to be of high quality, fashionable and well crafted, and buy our products primarily for their unique look and feel. But at the same time, they do seek the assurance of knowing that the clothing they choose is manufactured in a socially and environmentally responsible way,” Kokke said.
An H&M newsflash from Fashion Gone Rogue, regarding a collection released through the final stages of their recycled clothing program—click through for additional photos and some very cool sketches of the collection:
Swedish fashion brand H&M is launching a new collection featuring 16 denim styles made with materials from its garment collecting initiative in H&M stores. The lineup includes three styles of jeans for women, a denim jacket, overalls and a denim jumpsuit.
“Creating a closed loop for textiles, in which unwanted clothes can be recycled into new ones, will not only minimize textile waste, but also significantly reduce the need for virgin resources as well as other impacts fashion has on our planet,“ says Karl-Johan Persson, CEO of H&M.
Tags: denim news, eco-friendly clothing, eco-friendly fashion, fast fashion, garment collecting initiative, H&M, H&M news, recycled clothing, recycled denim, recycling program, sustainable clothing, sustainable style, textile waste
The second batch of discoveries from our jaunt through Liberty Fairs is indigo-drenched. Indigo is a native plant in Japan and the history of Indigo dye on the small eastern island runs deep, back to the 10th century. The technique boomed during the Edo period (1192-1333) due to the dye’s ability to cling well to cotton, the popular fabric of the lower classes at the time. By the early 1900’s almost 1400 acres were covered in indigo crop in Japan, now a mere 70 acres. The process of dyeing naturally is laborious, time-consuming and is carried on by skilled artisans. Traditionally Sukumo leaves, wheat bran, sake, hardwood ash and lime are combined in vats and fermented to produce the ocean hue. In Japanese culture the dye has been believed to contain protective properties from warning off insects and snakes in fields to sparing firemen burns. Out of the hundreds of booths at Liberty Fairs two stood out to us: Blue Blue Japan and Koromo.
Blue Blue Japan began in 1993 and designer Kenji Tsuji has been designing there since 2006. His designs usually contain bold, graphic interpretations of traditional Japanese motifs and patterns (waves, the sun, Mount Fuji, cherry blossoms, etc.). When his pieces aren’t emblazoned with beautiful images they are simple and highlight the beauty of traditional indigo dye. Many of the shirts are made with a tie dye technique called Shibori or have a dip dyed ombre fade. The construction of the garments is based on farm work wear. You can find Blue Blue Japan products at Union Made Goods, Mr Porter, and Hickoree’s. Read more about Kenji at mrporter.com.
Designer Kenji Tsuji
Embroidered satin bomber in blue and black
Indigo ombre sweatshirt
Koromo also had our hearts racing and mouths gaping. Koromo’s designs are focused on traditional Japanese sewing and patching techniques. The collection shown at Liberty Fair was heavy on boro patchwork and sashiko stitching. In the words of the company, “Craftsmanship is a sensory realm, and just as a wild stitch can be more attractive than a neatly aligned seam the heart may throb more for rough nonconformity than for pristine fabric. The flavor found only in old items interwoven with the thread of time and the newest model loom that produces exactly what you want are both infinitely precious partners.” We couldn’t agree more.
Below this tattered patched jacket read a sign “This 100 year old fabric is Aizome (Indigo dyed cloth). The well used areas of the fabric are where it has been hand sewn over and over again. The clothes have been made out of this fabric as is. In times when things were scarce in Japan even a little fabric was considered precious. This preciousness is found in this cloth.”
Traditional Japanese stitching technique, sashiko, used on button detail.
Last but not least, live shibori-style tie-dyeing at Liberty Fairs by Goodlife Clothing.
For more photos, style inspiration, and information on denim and indigo techniques check out the Denim Therapy Tumblr and Pinterest pages.
All photographs credited to the author.
—Emily B. McIntosh
Tags: aizome, Blue Blue Japan, boro, designer, dye, indigo, Japanese denim, japanese indigo, Japanese style, Koromo, Liberty Fairs, market week, patchwork, sashiko, shibori, style, tie dye, Traditional
Martha Hunt is the new face of a sustainable, eco-friendly denim collection by Lindex. From Fashion Gone Rogue:
Fashion brand Lindex has launched a new denim collection made from sustainable fibers made with low impact energy processes using Jeanologia technology. The collection of jeans is modeled by Martha Hunt in a recently launched campaign. From skirts to slim-fit to flared jeans, Lindex proves that fashion can be eco-conscious as well.
“We are very happy about the results, and this is only the beginning. We seek constant improvement in how our fashion is produced and we are working hard to reduce our environmental impact. In this sustainable denim collection we have selected some of our most popular denim styles for women and kids and worked through the washing processes,” says Lars Doemer, Global Sustainability Manager for Production.
Images via Fashion Gone Rogue—click through for more images.
Tags: campaign images, cropped jeans, eco friendly denim, eco-friendly jeans, high-waisted jeans, Martha Hunt, skinny jeans, sustainable denim, sustainable jeans
We knew Mr.Harrell’s jeans long before we met the man inside of them. His love of preserving vintage denim brought many pairs of his into our hands. It was through this mutual passion that at long last we were able to meet Donwan. We recently had the opportunity to visit his studio in midtown and talk shop.
Harell’s strong taste for nostalgia makes him our kind of designer. He has amassed an impressive denim collection over the years, as well as stacks of Japanese denim magazines, action figures and American ephemera. He has a particular penchant for vintage Lee’s. While talking in his office we learned that JCPenney had its own selvedge brand called Ranch Craft that copycatted Lee’s. Thinking back to a time when department stores carried their own selvedge lines kind of blew our minds.
When we arrived at his office his crew was getting ready for trunk shows in Vegas. We got a glimpse of the new PRPS line at Liberty Fairs and we got an even better peek of the new PRPS Noir line at his studio. The washes Harrell designs are inspired by real pairs of old jeans. PRPS stands for purpose. Harrell strives to mimic the personality of aged jeans, mimicking the tiniest flecks of oil to stress marks all derived from the original purpose of workwear, from real movements of auto mechanics on their knees or painters on scaffolding.
The designer in his element.
PRPS headquarters in midtown.
Tags: african cotton, DENIM, Donwan Harell, Japanese denim, menswear, PRPS, PRPS Noir, raw denim, zimbabwe cotton
The Denim Therapy team’s Market Week tour continued at Liberty Fairs held at Pier 94. The space was enormous with over one hundred booths to cover. We scoured the long aisles and prioritized. Our top priority? Denim. Our featured picks from the show are all Japanese and American brands including Feltraiger, Kato and Fullcount.
Feltraiger is a Brooklyn-based brand focused on making products you can pass down from generation to generation. Their customer base ranges from hardcore motorcyclists to anyone inspired by American subcultures of the 20th century. Feltraiger’s new Core collection features their bestselling basics. We’re fans of the Destitute Vest in indigo available for Fall 2015.
Th co-founder’s motorcycle parked in front of the new collection.
Destitute vest in indigo.
Kato jeans are made of Japanese denim, designed in Kyoto, and manufactured in Los Angeles. Kato was started by Hiroshi Kato in 1996 and has become one of our favorites. We favor the immaculate construction and details such as the diagonal belt loop and selvedge coin pocket. Highlights from the Spring 2016 line are the 13 oz. Raw Slim jean and a 7 oz Shawl Collar Blazer. Their leather patch has also been updated for the first time since the brand’s inception.
Perfect distressing detail on the hem of the shawl-style blazer lapel.
Fullcount denim is made in Okayama mills in Japan and was one of the first brands to start using Zimbabwe cotton back in 1992. Fullcount is here to stay, check out a peak of their Spring 2016 offerings below.
Rust-looking wash on Fullcount jeans.
Boro-like stitching detail on a chambray shirt.
All photos credited to the author.
—Emily B. McIntosh
Tags: American Denim, DENIM, Feltraiger, Fullcount, Japan, Japanese denim, Kato, made in japan, market week, mens denim, menswear, raw denim
With Men’s Fashion Week came a flurry of activity here in New York. Amy Leverton left London behind and came stateside to promote her book Denim Dudes. Amy has worked in the industry for ten years and is currently the Director of Denim and Youth Culture at WGSN. For Denim Dudes Amy traveled the world photographing and interviewing eccentric denimheads. She chronicled the most interesting styles and global trends in denim cult culture. The book is stocked in most book stores and is also available on Amazon. The New York book launch was hosted by Loren Cronk at Loren in Greenpoint and we couldn’t endure the thought of missing it. The storefront doubles as a workshop where Loren still designs and constructs many jeans by hand. The small shop was packed tight with denimheads on a humid night in Brooklyn and we couldn’t have dreamt of a better venue.
Very amazing vintage jackets for sale.
Sewing patterns, bicycles, and colored lights hanging from the ceiling.
–Emily B. McIntosh
Tags: American Denim, Amy Leverton, book launch, boutique, Denim Dudes, event, hand-made, Loren Cronk, market week, New York Fashion Week, selvedge, workshop
Our last pitstop at Project NYC was at the Raleigh Denim Workshop booth where we talked with co-founder and designer Victor Lytvinenko. Some of the new Summer 2016 pieces include navy hibiscus printed shorts and bright colored jeans in cream, rusty scarlet, sky blue and plum. The Alexander fit will be available in a light pin dot fabric recovered from the Cone Mills archive. Aside from fun, warm weather pieces Raleigh will still deliver the quality raw denim and selvedge we have come to expect from the southern brand next spring.
Victor was most enthused about the Jones 319 Raw and the Jones Organic Raw. The Jones 319 is a thin fit jean made of a non-selvedge raw denim for only $176, making it a great first purchase for those wanting to try their first pair of raw denim without having to pawn an heirloom. The Jones Organic Raw is made using the first and only organic denim grown and made in the U.SA. Raleigh teamed up with Cotton of the Carolinas and Cone Mills to create a denim that is organic and 100% made in the U.S.A., literally from the ground up.
The big picture isn’t the only thing on Victor’s mind, his attention to detail in his company’s designs is also impressive. We’re particularly keen on the triple stitch Raleigh uses on many of its selvedge fits. Two of the threads are gold and the third is indigo, camouflaging the heavy stitching and keeping a minimal look to the jeans. Once the denim fades over time the detail of the third dark navy stitch is revealed. Check out the photos we took at Project below.
Raleigh jeans continue to be capable of some really beautiful fades. An untouched pair is to the right and the whiskered pair on the left is the result of two years of wear.
New colors available Spring 2016.
The Alexander available soon in pin dot.
The Jones 319 Raw
Left: detail of subtle navy triple stitch. Right: the navy triple stitch revealed over time.
Strong honeycomb fades on a worn pair of Raleigh jeans.
—Emily B. McIntosh
After the exciting commencement of New York Fashion Week: Men’s, came the rush of New York Market Week where designers and brands showed off their freshest designs and samples to retailers in showrooms across the city.
We started our week at Project New York and our very first stop was E.N.D. denim. We had a brief glimpse of the E.N.D. denim line at the Denim Expo hosted by BPD Washhouse in June. E.N.D. is the new offshoot of the venerable Japanese denim brand Edwin (E.N.D. is an acronym of Edwin ‘N Denim). This sub-brand is so new that at this point that their digital footprint is almost nonexistent so we were lucky to have a quick chat with the designer, Yutaka Endo, and get a closer look at the collection at Project.
Highlights of the collection include denim at an entry-level price point, light chambray shirts, hoodies, and super soft polo shirts. All of the pieces feature one or two of E.N.D.’s signature motifs: the mizuhiki or the asanoha pattern. The mizuhiki knot is a bow traditionally used during gift-giving. The asanoha is an auspicious, abstract hemp leaf pattern. Lookout for the release of E.N.D. in the next year and check back at the Denim Therapy blog for more details on the official launch. If you are in the Brooklyn area you can stop by NOS Boutique in Dumbo to buy a select assortment of E.N.D. teeshirts and men’s jeans.
Traditional asanoha pattern stitched into the pocket of a pair of men’s jeans.
Details on a pair of jeans from the women’s line, including a red mizuhiki symbol embroidered on back pocket and peach fabric detail at waist.
Asanohara pattern on the hood of a dark indigo hoodie.
The roots of E.N.D. Edwin jeans with classic arcuate.
—Emily B. McIntosh
Tags: E.N.D., Edwin, embroidery, Japanese, Japanese denim, market week, project