Everything old is new again, at least where the denim industry is concerned. If the trade show floor of Denim Première Vision in November was anything to go by, mills like Kilim Denim, Ortalu Andalou, and Tavex are churning out fabrics made from castoff clothing at record rates. And brands and retailers such as ASOS, Bestseller, H&M, Lindex, and Target are relishing these so-called “recycled” jeans as they move from niche to norm.
All this buzz is thrilling to the Alliance for Responsible Denim, an initiative, based out of the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences, that works to mitigate the environmental impact of the denim industry. Instead of being relegated to a small rack in the back of a room, recycled styles are now “front and center” in the conversation about sustainability, said Hélène Smits, initiator and lead of the Circle Textiles program at Circle Economy, one of the organizations involved in the alliance.