The panelists of Kingpins Transformers fielded questions on sustainability for denim businesses across the production chain.
AMSTERDAM — As the denim industry continues to clean up its act, the Transformers summit held at the recent fall 2018 edition of specialist denim fair Kingpins Amsterdam centered on the cost of sustainable denim.“Don’t ask how, ask why,” said one of the participating speakers, sustainable denim expert and former WWD reporter Paulina Szmydke, whose book “The Cost of Clean Denim” is due out at the end of the year.“When I asked why the industry was not moving faster toward a sustainable business model, the most popular answer was: ‘Because it costs more.’ When I asked how much more, it turns out in some cases it was literally a matter of cents,” she added, explaining that sustainable choices paid for themselves in the long run.Committed brands in the long run are expected to outperform their non-sustainable counterparts, according to Szmydke, with the possibility of seeing returns within a period of three to 10 years.“Fashion is about change. The industrial revolution started with textile, so denim could be the forerunner of the green revolution,” she said, emphasizing that the responsibility lies not only with chief executive officers, but also with designers and the media.Sanjeev Bahl, president of Saitex, a Vietnam-based denim producer and industrial laundry, indicated that most capital investments undertaken by his company in favor of sustainability — from renewing equipment to lowering water and energy consumption — had paid for themselves in four years.Cents are all that remain for players such as Garmon Chemicals. Pointing out the race to the bottom on garment prices, with quotations for jeans falling as low as five dollars, chief marketing officer Alberto Di Conti said green-minded research and development was difficult to fund when faced with the double gambit of dwindling budgets for chemicals and rising certification costs.“Even small choices, such as a change on a button, can have a large impact [on budgets],” said Kristin Kimm, senior denim designer at Target. Switching to 20 percent of recycled polyester involves the equivalent of 5.6 million post-consumer bottles, she added.Ultimately, sustainable finishings on denim cost less, countered Jeanologia ceo Enrique Silla, who summed up some of the current industry standards including water consumption of under 30 liters — preferably using recycled water — and energy consumption of under two kilowatts per garment, as well as prohibitions on 11 blacklisted chemicals known for their hormone-disrupting properties.The priority in order to make costs bearable, he said, lies in anticipating future regulations and best practices rather than reacting to them. A potential future ban on potassium permanganate, a chemical used for surface treatments, was among issues the denim industry needs to act on before legislation has been passed, Silla added.“Focus on better product, rather than better certifications,” commented Alberto Candiani, whose family-owned firm Candiani is subjected to stringent regulations, due to its location in a natural reserve, and has so far refused to participate in any certification programs.“Sustainability and social responsibility are critical to our ongoing success as a business,” said Tom Flicker, who oversees sustainable product development at Target. “Sustainability is a journey,” he added, noting that consumers, while not looking for perfection, do expect progress and transparency from retailers, according to studies commissioned by Target.While solutions are still being sussed out all along the supply chain, the speakers agreed on one point: sustainability is no longer just about storytelling, it’s about actively engaging in the story.
@kith is moving into children’s. The men’s and women’s streetwear brand has launched Kidset, a Kith kids line located in New York at 64 Bleecker Street. The line includes mini versions of staple Kith pieces like the Astor bomber jacket and the Kith box logo sweatshirts, along with a wall that can display up to 120 pairs of shoes from @adidas, @newbalance, @timberland and more. #wwdfashion
“I just wanted to create this fully rounded character, but I do think what excited me most was just the opportunity to give a group of people representation that I feel needs it. I like to do characters in projects that stand for something and Karolina definitely does, so that was really exciting to me,” @ginnygardner says of her new role in @hulu’s “The Runaways.” Gardner plays Karolina Dean, a queer superhero, which is a rarity for @marvel. Read more about Gardner’s character on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: @dandoperalski)
@heriethpaul and @gracebol have a moment on the @victoriassecret fashion show 2017. See every look from the runway on WWD.com. Link in bio. (📷: @giovanni_giannoni_photo) #wwdfashion #victoriassecret #VSFashionShow
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia