Mary Peffer / Courtesy of J Brand

This is what it really takes for a brand to go 100% sustainable, according to a major label undertaking the challenge

We caught up with denim giant, J Brand.

12 Apr 2019

It's the topic on the lips of every activist, fashion editor, and now - thankfully - almost every shopper, but while we're all busy considering how we can ensure our own wardrobes are as sustainable as possible, we rarely consider it from a brand's perspective.

As daunting as it seems to have to entirely re-direct your sartorial antenna, our wardrobes - as important as they are - only make up for a very minor part of our lives as a whole.

Imagine if your business, your entire livelihood and life's work, was also shifting focus. Especially when the direction you're now heading is so murky with conflicting advice from every angle.

We caught up with - the off-duty model's denim of choice since its inception in the early '00s - who have just launched their 50% sustainable spring collection. And the remaining 50%? That'll be sorted in the next few months, as the label pledges to have the full collection produced sustainably by 2020.

Here's what it really takes for a brand to go 100% sustainable...

On a brand's biggest challenges during the transition

One of the biggest challenges can be understanding greener options, then learning and getting used to applying new techniques in an industry (like denim) that’s been around since the 1870s.

For J Brand, figuring out how to achieve the same high-quality look and hand/feel our customer has become accustom to was top of mind.

On the surprisingly simple changes to be made

The road to sustainability is ongoing but once we began the learning process, we were surprised how much we are and will be able to achieve simply by adopting new practices. Some improvements we’ve been able to implement in recent seasons:

1. Innovation of fabrics through laser technology

2. Eco denim uses up to 99% less water

3. Reduction of toxic chemicals like bleach

4. Fabric development scraps are upcycled and turned into insulation

From the SS19 Lookbook / Courtesy of J Brand

On the most shocking detail about un-sustainable denim

The amount of water that is used. J Brand's techniques can use up to 99% less water.

On the decision to become sustainable

J Brand is a part of . Fast Retailing released a sustainability statement in 2017 which states our promise to always work toward a better, more sustainable society.

The main statement of FR, “Changing clothes. Changing conventional wisdom. Change the world,” has always expressed our commitment to business and sustainability. The scope of the FR Group’s impact and responsibility has been increasing along with the global expansion of its business activities.

From the SS19 Lookbook / Courtesy of J Brand

On the suggestion that sustainability might just be a fad

Sustainability - as it contributes to reducing global warming - is massive in scope. It would be impossible for it to be overlooked with the amount of information accessible in the present day.

So many brands in the denim and fashion space have become more eco-conscious in their approach to design. It’s not so much a fad as it is a responsibility.

From the SS19 Lookbook / Courtesy of J Brand

So now you know the sacrifices and determination it takes for a brand to make the transition, maybe you'll re-acknowledge those doing so.

And with this renewed interest, it's time to read up on how to make your own practices more sustainable...