Frank And Oak minimal: Making Hydro-Less jeans
Blue jeans going green: our move towards sustainability
Frank And Oak staff
If you’re a day-one fan of Frank And Oak, you’ll know that we started out as a small independent webshop that offered inexpensive, yet on-trend menswear. Maybe got you hooked on monthly collections of sharp menswear, maybe you saw our ads (they were everywhere to be fair) that proudly proclaimed that you could get all this great stuff for “Under $50”. Pretty sweet.
But last year, we did a lot of soul-searching as a brand.
We decided that we need to re-examine how we make our products and why we make them. These are serious times and fashion is the second dirtiest industry behind oil. With this in mind, we found new factories and suppliers and thought hard about every product we wanted to bring to life. We decided that it was important to use more eco-friendly processes and sustainable fabrics. It wasn’t enough to make clothing that is of lasting quality, it’s not enough that it’s also fashionable, it needs to do both of those things while being responsible.
One of the first things we looked at was overhauling how we make our denim. There’s a lot of ink spilled about water waste from the beverage industry or even agriculture, but fashion - and denim specifically - is actually one of the largest consumers of water.
The manufacturing of a single pair of your average jeans uses more than 10,000 litres of water. To achieve popular washes and colours jeans are washed and dried in a laundry which uses a ton of water as well.
The world is facing a freshwater crisis with over a billion people in need of access to safe drinking water. Being the second largest consumer and polluter of water, the fashion industry, needs to take it upon itself to produce garments using fewer resources and that’s exactly what we’re doing.
New Hydro-Less denim
We’ve partnered with Desert Studio, an eco-certified facility in Dubai that specializes in the research and development of sustainable denim production. They’ve helped us implement a new, innovative, green approach to making your favourite pair of denim. Here’s some cold, hard numbers.
Up to 95% less water
On average, a single pair of jeans uses 42 litres of water. Our supplier utilizes nano-bubble and Ozone-wash technologies to conserve up to 95% less water as compared to standard practices.
Up to 79% less energy
Less water equals less time, equals far less energy used. Plus with their commitment to renewable energy, Hydro-Less has reduced its energy usage by nearly 80%.
Up to 50% fewer chemicals
Desert Studio uses the latest in low impact chemicals, paired with its innovative methods, it reduces chemical use by up to 50% against standard practices.
Our supplier recycles 100% of its used water along with any waste that comes from their cutting tables. They’re also fully certified for the highest standards of sustainability and ethics. With this attitude, they’ve also invested in the latest most efficient technology.
We’re using innovative new methods that will reduce the amount of chemicals used to reproduce worn-in denim. The technique involves taking a photo of the clothing and using computer software to design the colouring, rips and other fine details to make a new pair of denim look aged. A 3D twin laser finishing system replicates a worn look without the use of water or chemicals.
Sustainable and efficient, these new technologies guarantee huge amounts of water, energy and chemical-usage will be saved. Previous methods could take more than six months from the start of the design cycle. The new process will also replace the manual sponging and sand papering that has been harmful for the workers’ health.
Nano bubbles a.k.a. E-flow is also a brand new technology on the market that does a lot to control the amount of water needed. The e-flow “breaks up” the surface of the garment that achieves a soft hand feel and controls shrinkage. Minimal water is needed and zero waste is discharged from the process. Air from the atmosphere is introduced into an electro flow reactor and subjected to an electromechanical shock that creates nano-bubbles and a stream of wet air. As seen in the illustration below, air, rather than water is transformed into nano-bubbles in order to treat the denim with a small amount of low-impact chemicals.
On top of the reductions in water use (up to 98%), energy use (up to 47%) and eliminating chemical dumping and water waste, the use of nano-bubbles also results in pre-shrinkage of the fabrics–one less thing to worry about when choosing a quality pair of jeans.
Yes, that’s right. Our denim is washed by the atmosphere. The garments is added to atmosphere generators where air is converted to Ozone gas. The gases are then transformed back into air with zero discharge–this not only cuts back on emissions but also water, energy and chemical use. The result? Denim without the excess indigo (no bleeding) or reproducing bleached, aged effects. This entire process is done without the need for water or chemicals and with a pretty significant reduction in time
Let's share the responsibility
45% of the water used in a single pair of denim actually comes from the customer washing them. With that in mind, we’re challenging people to think about their water and energy consumption. You don’t need to wash your jeans every time you wear them. Barring a large coffee or wine spill you can go weeks or months without washing them. If they start to smell a little funky, you can simple throw them in your freezer for a day or so - a quick hack that should eradicate most smells. If you do wash them we also recommend hanging them outside in the summer or using a dry rack in the winter.
Our goal is to have the majority of our products made with sustainable methods by the end of 2018. This is just the first step in our commitment to being a more environmentally conscious company. We hope you’ll join us.
You can shop our new line of eco-friendly women’s denim. Don’t worry fellas, the men’s stuff is on its way very shortly.
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