Zachary Myers, Founder and Designer, Zace Denim.
What is the secret life of our faithful denim companions? We at Denim Therapy decided to kick off the DENIM SCHOOL series to get the scoop. Do jeans grow on trees? What makes our favorite jeans special? We scoured the country to find denim experts to share their insights and boy, do they have some things to say. Sit back. Class is officially in session.
Recently, I had the pleasure to interview Zachary Myers of Zace Denim (pronounced ZACK-y). He just launched his new Ohio-based denim company about a day ago. I asked him to talk about why he prefers to use dry, “mill finish” denim for his collection. He also tells me what he really thinks about the organic denim movement.
What is the difference between a “wet finished” jean and a “mill finished” jean?
Some examples of a ???wet finish??? are any jean that would be bleached or lightened with enzymes, softened, dyed, de-sized, baked with various resin applications to stick to the fabric and maintain the semi-permanent creases that some jeans have or sprayed with potassium permanganate to show white spots generally in addition to dry sanding specific areas. The mill finishes generally are of actual indigo shades which are dark in nature and must be ???washed down??? to lighten the cotton. It??™s safe to say almost all jeans are placed through at least 2 to 5 different wet treatments. I??™d rather have one or two pairs of jeans that I can wear and allow to take on their own form. The only wash our jeans go through are for pre-shrinking and washing out the indigo dust from the dry finish.
Why do you think the denim industry prefers “wet finishing” over dry finishing?
The majority of people just don??™t care about their denims and in turn don’t care who, how, why, or when their jeans came about, or the impact the factories have on the planet or their workers. The major brands are responsible for the virtually non-existent textile industry in this country, and have driven the quality of all clothing down. I remember when I was a kid in the 80s going to gigantic tents in parking lots of Phoenix where there were what seemed to me like, miles of Levi’s 501s, and the only color to choose from was dark blue, which was the mill finish, and they were stiff as boards since they hadn??™t even been washed. Then shortly there after, all the kids were pouring bleach on all our jeans [to get the faded look]. So the market took advantage of that and the world of the wet finish was born.
Kathy’s Pick: Zace Denim Patch Pocket Jeans.
How much potential waste water are you saving by avoiding the wet finish process?
The amount of potential waste water we save is enormous; probably hundreds of thousands of gallons per facility. I??™ve been across the world to different denim sewing and finishing facilities. Some factories use the water discharge to irrigate their cotton crops or to the other extreme, discharge directly into rivers and other waterways; that, I??™m sure, along with other industrial pollution, can??™t be healthy. The few washing facilities that do exist in the United States, I??™m for certain won??™t be running any “green” campaigns. The ability to produce our jeans in Ohio was why I left Los Angeles and
set up our facility here. The air, water and land is far more abundant
and generally cleaner. Through experience and the Zace Denim conviction to make and sell the highest quality, ecologically conservative, best all around affordable jean, we can distinguish ourselves.
Do you plan on joining the organic denim movement?
believe in the hype. All the organic denim available is from Turkey
and I??™ve been told that the certification the mills receive is very
generic. I know some very credible people in that business and I??™ve
been told it’s really not what it seems at this point. So, in the
interim, I??™ll continue to make responsible decisions everywhere I can
throughout the construction processes.
Zace Denim Stats
Pricing: They cut out the middle man, so prices stay low (about half the price of other premium denim).
Denim type: Three types of Cone Mills selvedge denim.
Sizing: They offer complete tailoring — down to your waistband, so you don’t get the back “pucker.”
Additional collections: Men’s line expected to launch next fall. Children’s line within two years.
Where to buy: Currently online at Zace Denim only. A slow rollout through retail outlets is in the future.
— Kathy Ng Hassan