There is no “one size fits all” when it comes to sustainability, according to ISKO. And that’s why a leading denim producer has carved a path to sustainability on its own terms, inclusive of wholly unique proprietary solutions for denim, and an enduring focus on responsibility.
Here, Baris Ozden, product development manager at ISKO, talks to WWD about its FW2021/2022 collection, emerging technologies in denim, and the firm’s dedication to responsible innovation.
WWD: What was the inspiration behind ISKO FW21/22 collection? What are some of the styles that defined and shaped the collection?
Baris Ozden: The focus – and main inspiration – of ISKO FW2021/2022 collection is our sustainable R-TWOTM program, which embraces our entire denim offer. Relying on a mix of certified reused cotton and certified recycled polyester, the platform addresses the overuse of natural sources under our Responsible InnovationTM approach.
More specifically, R-TWOTM recovers the cotton that usually goes lost in the processing of raw material and relies on recycled polyester rather than virgin. This results in a great improvement of our sourcing efficiency throughout the entire field-to-fabric production and allow us to effectively tackle over-sourcing and combat waste production.
Cotton is certified with the Content Claim Standard – or CCS – of the Textile Exchange. For the recycled polyester, depending on the content percentages, we can provide either the Recycled Claim Standard (RCS) or Global Recycled Standard (GRS) certifications.
WWD: How did ISKO’S ‘Responsible Innovation’ approach inform designs and aesthetics for this collection?
B.O.: Responsible InnovationTM is the holistic vision inspiring everything we do. It stems from the values of creativity, competence and citizenship and it’s deeply rooted in our DNA – it has been a key part of ISKO since the very beginning of its journey in the textile industry.
We keep searching for and studying future trends, colors, washes and even silhouettes, with the ultimate goal to push the endless possibilities of denim even further and find more responsible ways of production.
WWD: Would you share some of ISKO’S key technologies that differentiate it in the denim market?
B.O.: Counting more than 30 registered patents, more than 100 trademarks, and more than 250 patents pending globally among our assets, our FW2021/2022 collection features some of the latest developments of our top products and technologies, now also available in their R-TWOTM responsible version.
Among these, there are some we are particularly proud of, like our ISKO PopTM. This is a glorious patented fabric providing outstanding performance with the most luxurious finish. The technology starts from the yarn and stays in the garment, which features an authentic denim look and the softness of silk with an outstanding comfort on the skin.
ISKO RecallTM, another patented concept of ours, is a durable shape memory fabric that does not deteriorate over time or use. It envelops the body like a second skin, retaining a flattering fit and avoiding baggy knees and bottoms so that garments require fewer washes, which in turn makes them eco-friendlier.
ISKO ReformTM plays a key part in the collection. This exclusive stretch technology provides great recovery, maximum comfort and a unique holding power, delivering a slim look and a streamlined definition.
Patented ISKO Future FaceTM delivers an unbeatable combination of a soft, silky finish with enhanced shape retention and a flattering drape, as well as all the properties of true denim. Comfortable to wear, like a sweatpant, it is the first woven fabric technology that looks like knit.
Made from fibers twice as fine as silk and three times finer than cashmere, ISKOTM Cosy is another concept developed in its R-TWOTM version. This is a double-sided hybrid fabric with an authentic denim look on the outside and an incredibly warm and soft inside to protect from the wind and the cold.
To differentiate ourselves, we work to develop these textile concepts from collection to collection, to meet future trends and market expectations in order to deliver up-to-date and innovative solutions.
With the goal to reach different segments, we also keep pushing further our two performance fabrics and technology platform: ArquasTM and ISKO VitalTM, both featuring extreme versatile woven concepts that can meet a wide range of needs within the industry.
ArquasTM 6.0, the latest edition of our activewear and outdoor platform, now features 35 brand-new fabrics, most of which are made with certified recycled materials including recycled polyester along with organic natural yarns. Aiming to inspire a new era for outdoor, activewear and sportswear, all the fabrics belonging to the collection deliver superior performance and stand out in the industry for being all woven with knit look and feel, providing a wide range of benefits and high-performance properties.
ISKO VitalTM, on the other hand, is the innovative fabric and garment technology platform delivering the world’ s first woven compression product system. This is the culmination of a three-year development led by our research laboratory. Compression is an innovative technology that can be involved in the product development of many industries. Travel, performance, wellness, and everyday life are only few of the areas to which ISKO VitalTM lends itself.
Last but not least, ISKOTM Vulcano. This is a laser friendly finish that delivers natural denim, 3D effects. From a sustainability standpoint, this process is both fast and energy efficient which means that it goes easy on the environment whilst still providing denim with beautiful effects.
WWD: How would you describe the current sustainability landscape in denim? How has the market evolved, and what are brands doing differently?
B.O.: From a sustainability point of view, I think that the current situation can be perceived as a bit confusing, but there are certainly a lot of positive changes going on. Many players are invested in making real efforts to develop a more responsible clothing industry and, more importantly, final consumers are demanding more sustainable products too.
Of course, one should never stand still, as there is always room for improvement, but it is undeniable that the world is now in a very different position than a year ago.
It is important to consider that when it comes to sustainability, there is no one size fits all. Brands and designers all have different needs: some are looking for certified organic cotton, while others want to focus on man-made fibers and recycling. There are also many who strive for innovative solutions to reduce denim processing, whilst others prefer to focus on solutions supporting their customers to be more environmentally friendly.
At ISKO, we are ready to offer a whole menu of responsible solutions, to support at best every single one of our customers. From a product development point of view, when designing a desirable fabric our challenge is to balance sustainable elements and cost effectiveness.
To be sustainable means that you must have your priorities. It’s not an easy journey as there are so many different approaches and ideas of what “sustainability” can be. Most importantly, it has not to be taken for granted that all of those who claim to be sustainable are aware of how much effort goes into the process.