Not Just Denim
Nudie Jeans strive to take responsibility for the full range of products.
In our comfort and power stretch denim options, we have included between 1–3% elastane, which gives the denim a soft and stretchy feel. When spinning the yarn used to weave the denim fabric, cotton fibers are spun around a very thin thread of elastane. The elastane is therefore at the core of the yarn. In 2020, we introduced the use of recycled elastane in one of our denim fabric qualities. The elastane producers are known to us, but we have not yet been able to trace the specific production units used.
In 2020, our use of recycled polyester and our total polyester use decreased, primarily because we made fewer coats in a recycled wool and recycled polyester blend. During the year, we have continued to only work with recycled polyester in the denim fabrics containing a polyester blend, and we also use recycled polyester for linings. Polyester is a fossil-based synthetic fiber and it is used because its properties are desirable for some garments. For example, adding polyester to our most stretchy denim optimizes the recovery of the stretch, and adding polyester to a cotton or wool yarn improves the yarn strength. But the use of polyester, recycled or not, involves a risk of microplastic release, and microplastics in the oceans can contain harmful chemicals – and end up in animals and humans. To decrease the risk of microplastic release, we sell the Guppy Friend washing bag, which is a washing bag specifically made to capture the microplastic fibers inside the bag, instead of flushing them out into the sewage systems. Most of our recycled polyester originates from India, and we are still in the process of tracing the virgin polyester that we use.
Lenzing’s TENCEL™ is currently the most sustainable human-made cellulosic fiber and is one of the textile fibers with the lowest environmental impact of most virgin fibers. Unlike viscose and modal, which are the same type of fiber, Lenzing’s TENCEL™ production is sustainable due to the use of a closed-loop system for the solvent spinning process. The solvent is recycled and can be reused many times. Nudie Jeans is proud to be working only with TENCEL™ Lyocell as our main human-made cellulose-based fiber. In 2020, we increased our use of TENCEL™ by replacing cotton in several of our shirts and jackets. The cellulose used to produce Lenzing s TENCEL ™ comes from a sustainably managed forest in South Africa, Czech Republic, Slovenia, Slovakia, Scandinavia, the Baltic countries, Russia, The US, and Poland, where PEFC and FSC certification schemes are applied.
Polyamide, often called by its most common brand name Nylon, is a synthetic fiber, and can like polyester shred microplastic particles when washed. Like polyester, polyamide is used in some garments to add strength and abrasion resistance. Nudie Jeans used polyamide in socks, and in some knitted items, such as knitted sweatshirts and beanies. Polyamide is also included in some of the metal buttons used on our denim. We have not yet been able to trace the origins of the polyamide used in Nudie Jeans products.
Wool is a natural and durable fiber, and its longevity and natural stain-repellent properties make it a great fiber for garments. The fact that airing wool garments is often just as effective as washing also allows for sustainable use. Using recycled wool is more sustainable, as it decreases the environmental impact of the material. But recycled wool poses other challenges: it has shorter fibers, which must be taken into consideration when choosing the material blend, spinning the yarn, and knitting the fabric in order to obtain a high-quality product that meets Nudie Jeans’ standards. The recycled wool we use comes from the Prato region of Italy, and we have not yet been able to trace the origin of the certified virgin wool.
Alpaca and Mohair
In 2020, we worked with a small amount of alpaca to create lighter and more voluminous knitted sweaters. The alpaca we use is sourced from Peru. We have taken steps to increase the traceability of the fibers, and during the process, we learned that we need to expect much longer lead-times to obtain full traceability, and this is something we will continue to work on within the coming year.
Silk is a natural protein fiber that is produced by the worm of the silk moth. For the most common silk, Mulberry silk, the silkworm spins a closed cocoon made of long silk fibers, where it transforms into a moth. In conventional silk production, the cocoons are harvested and boiled before the butterfly leaves and break the cocoon and the silk fibers, to retain the fiber length. For Eri silk, or Ashima, Peace or vegan silk, as it is also called, the silkworm's cocoons are harvested after the moth has left the cocoon, as the Eri silkworms spin an open-ended cocoon allowing the moth to exist the cocoon without breaking it. We have chosen to only define certified organic silk as a sustainable fiber. The difference between Eri Silk and certified organic silk is that, in addition to harvesting the cocoons after the hatch, organic silk also includes regulations for pesticides and fertilizers. We have worked with Eri Silk from India, but we have not yet been able to source certified organic silk.
Lenzing’s TENCEL™ Lyocell production is very sustainable due to the use of a closed loop system for the solvent spinning process.
Throughout Nudie Jeans’ history, we have chosen to work with leather because just like denim, it is a material that becomes more beautiful with time. The leather industry presents many challenges regarding chemical usage, traceability, and animal welfare. We, therefore, work with one specific Leather Working Group Gold-rated supplier based in India for our leather jackets. We also believe that a leather jacket can be a sustainable choice if it is used for many years. Most of our leather accessories are made with vegetable-tanned bovine leather. This is one way to decrease the use of chemicals in the leather industry, but until we can guarantee that the animals are from a certified organic farm, we will not define our leather products as sustainable. The goat leather used for jackets is of Indian origin and the leather used in our accessories is from Polish cows.
In 2018, we stopped using leather patches on our denim and replaced them with Jacron patches. Jacron is a material made of FSC-certified cellulose fibers and acrylic polymers made in Germany. Offering leather-free denim was a natural step in Nudie Jeans’ sustainability journey.
Trims and labels
The treads for our denim come from Coats, Gütterman Threads, and MIC SPA, Zippers come from YKK and are bought locally by our suppliers in each supplier country. The booklets in the back pocket of each pair of jeans are made in Denmark by A-tex and the paper used is FSC-certified. The woven Nudie Jeans label placed in our garments is made in recycled polyester from the Fall20 collection forward, and the paper waist tag is made with FSC certified paper. All our labels and hangtags are made in Turkey by A-tex. The paper box for underwear is made locally in India with pre-consumer recycled cotton from fabric and spinning waste. In 2020, we have continued to work towards replacing the plastic buttons for shirts and jackets with Corozo buttons. To not waste the resources already put into the plastic buttons we are using our stocks and all new developments are corozo buttons. We are working with a Portuguese supplier for both the plastic and the corozo buttons. All our metal buttons, rivets, and snap fasteners are made under environmentally safe (EMAS) and transparent conditions by Berning & Söhne in Germany.
Sustainability for us means taking responsibility in all steps of the supply chain, and for all material decisions taken. Therefore are all our woven polyester labels in our garments made in recycled polyester from the Fall 20 collection and all hangtags are made with FSC certified paper.