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Lee Jeans joins forces with Artistic Milliners on sustainable denim

By Danielle Wightman-Stone

27 Aug 2021

Fashion

Image: courtesy of Lee Jeans

Denim brand Lee Jeans has developed Cradle to Cradle Certified jeans at the gold and bronze levels in partnership with Artistic Milliners, one of the world’s largest vertically integrated denim and apparel manufacturers.

The new range of selvedge jeans are circular by design, explains Lee Jeans, with every component being 100 percent recyclable, as they have been crafted using 100 percent organic cotton.

Both the Gold-certified Aureola and Bronze-certified Nymph jeans have met the respective Cradle to Cradle Certified Product Standard version 3.1 requirements for certification by the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute across the standard’s five performance categories: material health, material reuse, renewable energy and carbon management, water stewardship, and social fairness.

The classic five-pocket jeans were made in a facility generating 524000 kWh of solar power per year and use fabrics dyed with a process that uses 58 percent less water than traditional denim dyeing processes. In addition, all the buttons on the jeans are raw, virgin metal, meaning they have not been finished with any treatments, so saving energy consumption and eliminating the extra processing.

Image: courtesy of Lee Jeans

Jeff Frye, vice president of product development, innovation, sustainability and procurement at Kontoor Brands, parent company of Lee Jeans, said in a statement: “At Lee, we are focused on finding transformative pathways to design and manufacture products that minimise the impact on our planet.

“Achieving Cradle to Cradle Certified for the Aureola and Nymph styles enables our consumers to wear Lee Jeans with confidence, knowing we are continuously improving the sustainability and circularity of our products with the good of people and our planet in mind.”

Murtaza Ahmed, managing director at Artistic Milliners, added: “Our collaboration with Lee on the development of a Cradle to Cradle Certified range of jeans is a great example of the kind of transformative research and development and innovation that can occur across the value chain.

“It enabled us to use our existing Cradle to Cradle Certified denim fabric as a springboard for creating a fully certified vertical garment. The results are a reflection of our shared commitment to a circular future for people and planet by working with brands that believe in making a positive impact.”

Lee’s Cradle to Cradle certified jeans are available from selected retail stores and online across North America and Europe.