Spanish denim research and development company Jeanologia has unveiled its latest technology designed to lessen the environmental impact of denim processing.
This story first appeared in the April 2, 2009 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
The G2 finishing machine was introduced at the company’s Valencia headquarters on Wednesday. Rather than relying on the traditional combination of water and chemicals to produce various shades of denim, the G2 uses a process that relies on air. In addition to eliminating the use of water and chemicals, the G2 rids the finishing process of toxic emissions and dumping, and reduces overall energy usage.
The company’s development comes at a time when the denim industry is seeing a resurgence in the popularity of vintage and washed-out styles. Achieving these looks requires the use of significant amounts of water, chemicals and energy. Jeanologia estimates that 158.5 billion gallons of water and 1.3 million tons of chemicals are used each year in the denim finishing process. Were the entire industry to adopt the G2 process for denim and other garments, Jeanologia believes the amount of water saved would be enough to supply Spain with enough drinking water for eight months.
Jeanologia said the savings per garment are equally dramatic compared with the standard finishing process. Energy consumption is lowered by more than 50 percent and the time required is reduced by more than 50 percent. The overall cost per garment is estimated to be 52 percent lower than using traditional finishing methods.
The company has been developing the G2 system since 2006, but it isn’t its first product aimed at lowering costs and environmental impact from the denim development process. In 2001, Jeanologia introduced a textile laser in the market under the GFK brand. Advancements in the technology have progressed to such an extent the system can scan a vintage pair of jeans and reproduce the exact look, including holes and abrasions, in under a minute.
At the July 2008 edition of the Kingpins denim textile show here, Jeanologia hung vintage jeans from the 1950s and 1970s side-by-side with their reproductions and challenged designers and buyers to identify the imitations. Few were able to discern the difference.
“There’s a perception in the market that we are on a mission to dispel: that if you use a laser in production of the jeans, it will look fake,” Michelle Branch, creative director at Jeanologia, told WWD at the time. “Many think there’s no way to make it look authentic, and 10 years ago that was true.”