What is the Jeans Redesign Project?

Editorial TeamEditorial Team
June 25th, 2021
2:44 PM

Setting guidelines for circular jeans, the Jeans Redesign Project was initiated by the Ellen MacArthur foundation to bring together fashion brands and transform the way denim is produced.

Jeans still remain an iconic fashion staple, with almost all consumers owning at least one pair. Unfortunately, the way they are produced is extremely damaging to the environment and also to those that work in the textile industry. In order to encourage brands to transform their linear business models to circular, the industry has to work together to develop a new way to make clothes that are durable, recyclable, and made from ethical materials.

What is Jeans Redesign? The Jeans Redesign Project was initially launched back in July of 2019, with the intention of uniting leading fashion retailers, manufacturers, and fabric mills to innovate the way denim jeans are produced. The project spread was extended towards denim mills and recycling facilities with the goal of covering all bases of the supply chain. The project was designed to come up with creative solutions to the ongoing environmental issues within the textile manufacturing industry, by using the principles outlined under a circular economy. Over sixty prominent fashion brands, manufacturers, and mills in the industry are using the Jeans Redesign Guidelines, producing jeans that were released onto the market last May. The Strive Towards a Circular Economy The conventional business model present in the economy is linear, a process in which garments are produced, and then get thrown away at the end of their use. Whereas in a circular economy, resources are kept in use for as long as possible, and so their maximum value is put to use. At the end of the product’s life, components can be extracted and used again in a new product. A circular business model presents a new way to design and produce based on designing out waste and harmful, polluting processes. It keeps products and materials in use for much longer and regenerates natural systems. A Circular Solution During the production stage of denim jeans, harmful chemicals are used at all stages which have a negative on the environment and factory workers. Despite only using 2.5% of the world’s farming land, cotton makes up for 16% of all pesticides used worldwide, causing severe damage to farmers, the soil, and the environment. The presence of these dangerous chemicals makes the recycling process extremely difficult, which leads to the prolonged circulation of these substances. Created by a committee of over 80 denim experts, the guidelines ensure that jeans are made in a circular method that is used for longer, can be easily recycled, and are made in a way that is more sustainably sound for the environment and garment workers. Properties of Circular Jeans Circular jeans are durable and are designed to stand the test of time, withstanding up to at least 30 home laundry washes. Circular jeans should be made easier for consumers to care for them after purchase, including clear care labels. No hazardous chemicals are used, and they are made to be made again. They must also be traceable with correct labeling, to help identify and sort the jeans appropriately once they reach their end of life.