There is a story to tell for each denim garment. Some stories start at a nice organic cotton farm, somewhere in Turkey or India. While other stories – the ones that usually are much shorter – start at conventional cotton farms and most likely end up in Xintang, China – the denim capital of the world. There they go through various different treatments: dyeing, stone washing, micro-sanding or bleaching. Quite of a denim spa, you might think – all to meet our demands.
But how does all this effect our environment and the quality of the denim clothing? It is no secret that Xintang has been largely affected by the enormous amounts of waste in the production process. The rivers are literally turning blue because of all that waste water thrown after the dyeing from bleaching factories. Ever since distressed denim look came into high demand, it has been a safety and health concern for people working with jeans as well as for people living around these factories. Chemicals like potassium permanganate are used to get that worn out, pre-used look, which puts factory workers’ wellbeing at risk. Apart from the environmental impact and workers’ health issues, denim bleaching, sandblasting and other artificial distressing methods consequently affects the quality of the denim textile. A new pair of denim jeans is sprayed with chemicals and then bleached again to avoid any yellowish tones, just to make them look old and worn to our liking. It makes the fibers thinner and more sensitive to damage, which leads to a shorter lifetime of the garment.
At Yours Again, we find this quite troubling. We highly depend on the quality of secondhand denim, therefore it is important that they live long and remain durable after upcycling. Though we get our denim jeans already sorted for us and most of them are ready for reusing, some of the pairs occasionally cannot be used for redesigning. That’s usually because these pairs has been bleached and treated too much, so that the fabric becomes too thin to be given the second life. Well, we believe that a pair of jeans is worth saving as it has already caused pollution and unsustainable treatments and the most sustainable thing we can do is keep it away from the landfill. Yours Again has already launched a remade denim accessory line, which is focused on using production leftovers. Now we are looking for creative ways to use bleached, lower quality denims. One of our solutions is to repurpose bleached, distressed denim for our accessory line packaging. In other words – accessory bags!
We are constantly looking for ways to improve and reduce the amount of discarded denim. We want you involved! If you have any ideas for upcycling unwanted denim and would like to share them with us, get in touch!