Like millions of people around the world, Adam, Ania and Mark Taubenfligel, the cofounders of Canada’s Triarchy denim, live in jeans.
But after viewing the 2015 documentary “The True Cost” — an exposé on the garment industry’s impact on the environment — brother Adam knew beyond question that the “real-life” luxury jeans brand that he and his siblings had built since 2011 had to change.
“I’ve been working in denim for a long time. But seeing that movie stopped me dead in my tracks,” Adam Taubenfligel, the brand’s creative director, said. “That’s when I knew that Triarchy couldn’t go on until we could make it sustainable and make our brand become part of a bigger story.”
To that end, the Vancouver-born, L.A.-bred label embarked on a self-imposed hiatus for 10 months to research and implement more sustainable methods of production. “We went everywhere to find the right partners, but the hunt proved challenging,” he admitted.
Yet from much trial and error emerged a Triarchy denim collection that is now sustainably sourced and manufactured in Mexico City, in a factory that uses 85 percent recycled water. The search also gave birth to the newly “green” Triarchy Atelier, a sister collection of handmade pieces produced in Los Angeles that blends reconstructed vintage denim from the Eighties and Nineties with rare textiles from the same French mills used by Chanel.
The final results of this eco-overhaul will debut on Triarchy’s web site, which relaunches on April 22 — 2017’s Earth Day — equipped with visuals, insta-graphics and other features that clearly explain the company’s new “green” vision.
“Communicating our message online and educating people about sustainability is going to be a huge part of our business from now on,” said Triarchy brand manager Ania Taubenfligel. “Most people just don’t realize that the average pair of jeans consumes 2,956 gallon of water before they’re even purchased. That translates into roughly 70 household bathtubs filled with water, which is a huge water footprint to be attached to a single pair of jeans. We just couldn’t be part of that kind of endless water consumption anymore.”
Indeed, Triarchy’s decision to change its way of doing business eventually led to a move away from cotton denim to a more sustainable cotton-Tencel, which reduces water consumption to 1,300 gallons a pair. Triarchy also introduced recycled hardware into all its finishes and began making its labels from recycled leather and water bottles.
However, the company’s “greening,” as the Taubenfligels are quick to point out, in no way signals an end to its high-end feel or its vision for the future to become an evolving lifestyle brand.
“In many ways today’s fashion industry is experiencing what the food industry went through over the last decade,” said Adam. “Becoming sustainable is expensive. It’s a big decision to make for any company. But we always looked at this as a way of changing the engine that drives our company from behind the scenes. Being sustainable drives all that we do now. But Triarchy remains a luxury brand first. That’s the way we still want to be perceived.”