Fast fashion relies on rampant consumerism—a conveyor belt of trends that flash by us each season, creating 9.5 trillion tonnes of waste each year in North America. Yet as the urgency of climate change increases, a spreading eco-consciousness has taken hold of society. Online campaigns like Fashion Revolution urge consumers to make more ethical fashion choices, while brands such as Canadian-based Frank And Oak are committed to using sustainable production processes. Frank And Oak’s Responsible Denim Lab initiative—which is behind the brand’s signature Hydro-less and Good Cotton sustainable processes—recently launched the Circular denim production method, its latest effort in waste reduction.
The Circular denim method, named for the shape of the sustainable consumption cycle, makes use of post-consumer waste by reusing jeans fabric fated for a landfill. The denim is ground up by a fabric recycler, then combined with virgin fibres to ultimately create a pair of jeans that’s a hybrid of new and recycled material, visibly indistinguishable from a traditional pair. Old jeans are reborn, and the water and chemicals necessary for making a 100 per cent new pair of jeans is preserved. The Earth, for now, has to deal with one less discarded pair of jeans.
Jeans—whether they’re hip-hugging or high-waisted, skinny or flared—have been a clothing staple for decades, embedding themselves as a sort of cultural icon of contemporary, ready-to-wear fashion. Yet, as Frank And Oak has proven, denim can indeed herald a new, more sustainable approach to clothing.
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