By Arwa Lodhi
Most of us know that jeans are making the planet blue – figuratively and literally. It takes around 2900 gallons of water to make one pair of traditional cotton jeans – that’s equivalent to 10,977 one litre water bottles – and when denim is coloured and rinsed, rivers are poisoned with chemical indigo dyes.
But our denim addiction runs deep; just about everyone around the world owns a pair of blue jeans – around 1.24bn pairs of jeans are sold globally every single year. So, how can denim be greener?
There are a few ways, as sibling-owned Canadian brand Triarchy has discovered. First, the label rejects the conventional (over) use of water. The factory they produce in uses 85% recycled water, thanks to a complex system in which natural bacteria consumes the indigo dye before re-introducing it to the washing process again and again.
Secondly, rather than using pure cotton, which is one of the world’s thirstiest and most pesticide-sprayed crops, they’ve created an innovative and soft fabric blend that includes a bit of cotton, yes, but also Tencel, a processed wood fibre made from eucalyptus trees which takes far less energy, is 100% renewable and uses 85% less water than cotton to grow.
Their men’s denim range is even more eco-friendly; it requires low to no washing, since it’s engineered as a raw denim, and other notches in Triarchy’s sustainability belt come from the fact that their hardware is made of recycled sheet metal, their labels are made from recycled leather, and even their care tags are made from recycled materials – in this case, recycled plastic bottles.
Triarchy definitely aims to break the mold of your typical jeans producer. But there’s one collection that really stands out – not only for eco-friendliness, but also style: their super chic Triarchy Atelier Denim for men and women has been designed completely from recycled materials. Fringe, patchwork in innovative places, Ziggy Stardust-esque lightening bolt embellishments and repositioned or removed pockets define this unique range.
One of our favourite pieces has to be the spectacular Fringe Jacket (seen in our main pic), constructed solely from vintage denim. The movement of the fringe recalls the iconic rock-n-roll image of The Who’s Roger Daltrey swirling and shaking in a similar design on stage at Woodstock in 1969.
In fact, that’s a great visual representation of Triarchy: rebellious youth culture meets hippy social consciousness. Isn’t that what sustainable denim should be all about?
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