British multinational retailer Marks & Spencer (M&S) has launched a new line of jeans that use less water in the washing process than conventional jeans.
Denim uses large amounts of water in production as well as washing. Growing cotton too, is a water-intensive process and industrial washing to get the finish right also historically uses large amounts of water. However, with the growing concern about sustainability among customers, M&S took the mantle of developing denim that combated this water wastage. The new water-conscious jeans, including a new line called Magic Jeans, will be launched this spring.
The fabric used in jeans is an important consideration. Today, 100 percent of the cotton sourced for all M&S clothing (including denim) is organic, recycled, or responsibly sourced from BCI, the Better Cotton Initiative. BCI supports farmers to develop more efficient production process, increase their yield, and reduce water usage.
“With jeans, the company also has a great opportunity to reuse resources. The new super-soft fits bought out in Autumn 2019 had 100 percent of the polyester made from recycled plastic bottles from a company called Unifi who makes Repreve yarn. Each super soft denim jean contains the equivalent of around ten plastic bottles. The yarn is created by melting down waste plastic bottles and builds on our wider efforts to tackle plastic usage by reducing, reusing and recycling,” Sarah Danbury, denim technologist at M&S, wrote on the website.
“All of the factories [we work with] adhere to our Global Sourcing Principles which, put simply, guarantee good working conditions and fair pay. But we’re also proud of those who go above and beyond. They are supporting projects across themes including health, gender empowerment and wage digitisation,” Danbury added.
She added, “A lot of effort goes into our jeans and our denim is designed to be loved and to last – but we also continue to encourage customers to give their jeans a second life if they do purchase new ones – by dropping their jeans in one of our in-store shwop boxes – the jeans can then be re-sold by Oxfam or recycled. It’s a simple way customers can truly make sure their jeans are doing some good.”