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Making a difference without having to compromise is still a rarity in today’s high street fashion landscape. When it comes to making ethical, eco-friendly purchases, customers are, often, faced with a tough choice. This is changing thanks to the pioneering work of G-Star RAW.

“They have expression, modesty, sex appeal, simplicity – all I hope for in my clothes,” said late fashion designer, Yves Saint Laurent about blue jeans. And while on the surface, jeans continue to have those exact characteristics, producing denim is anything but simple, particularly when it comes to the environment.

This has never deterred G-Star RAW from discovering innovative ways to produce premium quality denim within planetary boundaries. One could argue it has emboldened the Dutch brand who since 1989 has consistently challenged conventions surrounding denim production, becoming a pioneer in the field of sustainability. 

In 2018, the Dutch company initiated its most ambitious project to date with the launch of its “Most Sustainable Jeans Ever” collection—a milestone in both the company’s history and in denim’s 150-year history.  

Eliminating waste completely

This spring, the Amsterdam-based company aims to make history again, with its new line of stretch denim icons designed for re-use. By scaling its circular offer and presenting a responsible choice that is both comfortable and stylish, the denim brand hopes this new product will give customers the chance to make a difference without having to compromise.

“It is our long-term ambition for 2030 to eliminate waste altogether. To get there we will focus specifically on circular design in which we design for re-use and use waste as a resource. In order to get there, it is important to collaborate, with our longstanding partners but also with the rest of the industry, by sharing our innovations. We can only scale and create real impact together,” 

Sofie Schop, Sustainability Director at G-Star RAW

Designing for re-use and using waste as a resource remains a challenge for many brands even for those who initiated the process. As outlined in the CEO Agenda 2020, complexities around changing fashion’s linear model of production have impeded movement towards achieving circularity. Brands, like G-Star RAW, who continually challenge the traditional business model through new technology and innovation, illustrate how brands upon embracing a circular approach to fashion can successfully transition away from an unsustainable pattern of production.

G-Star RAW’s new stretch denim icon collection demonstrates what happens when a brand fully embraces the circular approach.  Composed of organic cotton and imbued with a sustainable stretch fibre to ensure ultimate comfort, the stretch denim icon relies solely on renewable energy and uses zero harmful chemicals throughout the entire production process. This includes the indigo dyeing, which is normally a laborious and wasteful process. Additionally, no water is wasted during the entire wash process—not an easy feat for any denim manufacturer. More importantly, the product is 100% recyclable. 

G-Star RAW continues to incite positive change in the denim industry and has set the bar high with its latest denim endeavour. By leveraging previous sustainable innovations as a building block for the next while also making these technologies openly accessible to brands eager to transition to a more sustainable production model, G-Star RAW remains a leader in the field of sustainability.

Schop and her team hope that 2020 will mark the year the denim brand further combines and scales its sustainability efforts. By expanding their sustainable offerings throughout G-Star RAW’s collections and providing more responsible choices, the hope is that customers will be able to make a positive change with their purchases and do so with style. 

Spotlight On is a monthly digital feature from Global Fashion Agenda highlighting sustainability updates from our partners and extended network. Read more about our partners and network.