Major Swedish womenswear retailer Lindex continues its quest to go greener by 2020, by which time it aims to have achieved 80% sustainable processes. We caught up with sustainability manager Sara Winroth at a Lindex “Better Denim” event in London last week to get the lowdown on the significant steps they’ve taken since we interviewed her last year.
What’s the latest news in your quest for greener denim?
Cleaner denim production is a major part of Lindex’s mission to ensure that 80% of all our processes will be more sustainable by 2020. Last time we spoke, we’d established ways to wash our denim in a greener way – we’ve achieved a reduction of 27% in electricity usage and water’s been cut by 45%. Recently, we’ve extended our sustainable reach to the dyeing techniques we use, opting for the most environmentally friendly dye available at the moment – DyStar. It has a lower environmental impact saving water, energy and chemicals. Moreover, the indigo dye is liquid, which eliminates the dust that is so harmful to factory workers. Almost 90% of our denim line is dyed with DyStar at the moment.
Tell us about your freshly launched up-cycled Re:Design collection, which is made locally in Borås, Sweden. How did it come about?
Alongside our Better Denim drive – which involves making our denim more sustainable from fiber to finished garment – we wanted to prolong the life of garments already in circulation, giving them a second or even third life. This is where Re:Design comes in: it’s a Swedish made pilot project in which we’ve utilized surplus stock from our Better Denim range to create six different designs. We’ve reworked the old denim in various ways to make it appear new and fashion relevant – cropping jeans, adding side stripes, appliques and splashes of color… There’s no existing supply chain working this way and we worked hard to find Swedish partners to help us realize the project. We collaborated with Re:Textile, a Borås based initiative striving to inspire the industry to work with up-cycling and other sustainable means to prolong the life of regular fashion. The interest in Re:Design has been huge and we’re hoping to be able to scale up and explore it further.
Which is your favorite Re:Design piece and what makes it special?
I have a particular weakness for the patchwork kimono coat; it’s such a statement piece. It involved a lot of work and many old pairs of jeans went into making it. It’s great to be able to make unique and fashion-focused pieces without having to create yet more garments from scratch.