Jeans giant Wrangler will be the first brand to adopt a new environmentally-friendly indigo yarn dyeing process that uses foam instead of water – eliminating 99% of the water typically used in indigo-dyeing – and has the potential to transform denim manufacturing.

The VF Corp owned brand has confirmed an agreement for denim fabric to be produced later this year in a move that will incorporate the first foam-dyed denim into a line of jeans launching in 2019.

Tejidos Royo, a Spanish fabric mill with a reputation for prioritising environmental performance, will be the first to integrate the foam-dye process, which it calls Dry Indigo. Royo is scheduled to receive the foam-dye equipment in October and expects to begin supplying Wrangler with denim before the end of the year.

“While we have been able to reduce 3bn litres of water in product finishing during the past ten years, we know that more needs to be done across the entire supply chain,” explains Wrangler president Tom Waldron. “Foam technology reduces water consumption and pollution further upstream, helping our fabric suppliers to dramatically minimise the impacts of making denim fabric blue.”

Recognising the potential of this breakthrough, Wrangler and the Walmart Foundation provided Texas Tech University with early-stage funding for development of the foam-dying process earlier this year.

“We invested in the development of this innovation because we believe it can drastically change the denim industry for the better,” Waldron adds. “We’re grateful to have an industry-leading partner in Royo with whom we are taking this revolutionary step towards more sustainable denim.”

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The first line of foam-dyed jeans will be Wrangler’s most recent action to minimise environmental impact and save precious resources. Among the brand’s demonstrated sustainability activities are the ongoing work in US sustainable cotton and a commitment to reduce water usage by 5bn litres by 2020.

According to Royo, applying indigo dye to raw denim with foam instead of water will eliminate the need for the tens of millions of gallons of water typically consumed by conventional wet-dye systems.

“We’re excited Wrangler is dedicating an entire line of jeans to this innovation,” said Tejidos Royo sales director Jose Royo. “Our Dry Indigo process nearly erases the environmental impact of denim dyeing and represents the next generation of denim production.”

Royo told just-style earlier this year how the Spanish company has collaborated with Gaston and Indigo Mill Designs (IMD) on the environmentally-friendly indigo yarn dyeing process.