LONDON — Feeling blue?
Then look no further than the Frieze gallery at No. 9 Cork Street where an exhibition called “Indigo” showcases a rainbow of recycled and upcycled blue denim. The show, a collaboration between the sustainable denim brand DL1961 and Frieze, immerses viewers in a world of revitalized denim.
There are sculptures made from the stuff; sweeping patchwork curtains; block seating covered in fuzzy recycled fibers, and jungle-like, fabric vines hanging from the ceiling to create a denim maze. In a back room, artists and designers have put their own spin on the brand’s sustainable denim.
Costume designer Timothy Gibbons has made a Victorian-inspired couture dress from cream denim, while the DL1961 team has made a sizzling red-carpet number from fabric patches. The painter Marko Ristic took workwear made by DL1961 and splashed it with shades of blue at his barn studio in Michigan.
“We wanted to show the intersection between art, culture, sustainability and denim,” said Sarah Ahmed, cofounder and chief creative officer of DL1961, who has been at the forefront of closed loop denim manufacturing.
Ahmed said that, 10 years ago when she started the business, people weren’t that interested in what she was doing, but times have changed, “and now they are.”
She said the London show is an opportunity for people to experience the process of denim creation from broken-down fibers all the way to a finished denim garment. There’s a film that follows the process of recycling denim, while DL1961 and Frieze have also created a printed newspaper setting out DL1961’s mission, and images of the art.
DL1961, which is based in New York, is known for its vertically integrated, sustainable manufacturing and green textiles. According to the company, every pair of DL1961 jeans is tracked by the Environmental Impact Measurement software by Jeanologia, and made using eco-fibers, optimized water, energy and resource-saving technologies.
The London exhibition also marks the launch of the brand’s Digital Tag Project, which has been designed to combat greenwashing and a lack of transparency regarding sustainability practices in the industry.
The Digital Tag project launches with the “Ella Jean,” which DL1961 created in partnership with Ella Richards, a British model and a granddaughter of Keith Richards. The jeans come with a QR code on the inside waist that reveals how much of each resource (water, energy and recycled materials) was used to make the jean.
DL1961 has recently partnered with Recover on a joint sustainability initiative to create the world’s first high-performance circular jean. Recover is a leading material sciences company and global producer of post-consumer waste cotton fiber.
With the Recover partnership, DL1961’s manufacturing facility now houses one of the world’s largest textile recycling plants. It takes excess goods from around the world, breaks them down and turns them into new, high-tech fibers.
The show runs until Monday at No. 9 Cork Street in London.