US jeans giant Wrangler has launched the first-ever collection produced using Indigood foam-dye technology, which virtually eliminates the amount of water used in the conventional denim dyeing process and instead transfers dye onto yarn using foam.
The brand, which is part of VF Corp spinoff Kontoor Brands, has worked with Indigood on the “revolutionary” dyeing technique to produce what it says is its most sustainable line of denim products.
The global product launch is part of Wrangler’s commitment to implement the most sustainable ways of dyeing denim throughout its supply chain.
“Indigood raises the bar on what consumers can expect from us in terms of environmental performance,” says Roian Atwood, director of sustainability at Wrangler. “We are continuously looking for opportunities to improve the sustainable impact of our products from field to seam and we are proud of what we’ve promised to achieve through Indigood.”
The foam-dye process entirely replaces the traditional water vats and chemical baths of conventional indigo dyeing, reducing by virtually 100% the amount of water required to produce indigo blue denim. While small amounts of water are used to clean machinery and mix solutions, 99.99% of wastewater is eliminated.
The new dyeing process also reduces energy use and waste by more than 60% compared to the conventional denim dyeing process, the company says.
The new development has the potential to clean up the traditional denim supply chain, which uses vast amounts of water. It is estimated that around 7,000 litres of water are required to make each pair of jeans – with a large fabric mill using millions of gallons of water every day to dye denim. Chemicals used in production, including dye fixatives, oxidising agents, reducing agents, and enzymes are all washed out in the wastewater stream.
The Indigood products will be featured in Wrangler’s Icons Collection, which includes both male and female jeans, shirts and jackets in light and dark denim shades. They also incorporate recycled cotton, laser finishing and ozone finishing.
Wrangler calculates that since 2007 it has saved more than 3bn litres of water through technology upgrades – and aims to increase this to 5.5bn litres at owned and operated facilities by 2020.
The brand’s other global sustainability goals include using 100% preferred chemistry throughout its supply chain by 2020; powering all owned and operated facilities with 100% renewable electricity by 2025; and sourcing 100% sustainable cotton by 2025.
In April it launched a new Made-in-USA denim apparel collection made from 100% sustainable cotton that can be traced to one of five US cotton farms using best practices for soil health.
Earlier this year, Roian Atwood, director of sustainability for Wrangler and Lee jeans, discussed the methodologies involved in discovering brand purpose – and how it was put into practice at Wrangler.