Lee also wants to do its bit to save the planet and has just introduced the brand’s first global sustainability platform “For A World That Works.” The platform features ongoing initiatives at Lee testing more sustainable production methods together with a series of new technologies and materials, mainly circling around denim production. Among the program of developments, there are three main initiatives: “Indigood Denim,” “Back to Nature” and “Sustainable Selvage.”
Indigood Denim is a foam dyeing technique that–according to Lee–does not use water and features 89% less chemicals and 65% less energy than traditional dyeing. It has been first introduced by Lee’s sister brand Wrangler.
At Lee, Indigood is featured in the spring preview ’20 range on two different washes on the slim tapered Luke fit men’s jean.
Back to Nature features pieces that are meant to be completely biodegradable. They are made using entirely compostable linen-cotton yarns, and no rivets, so that when the garment is no longer needed, the buttons can be unscrewed for re-use and the rest is just thrown into the compost, where it will biodegrade. Featured in this initiative are the men’s Rider Jacket and Rider jeans in a rigid ecru denim. For women an elongated and belted version of the Rider Jacket features alongside wide leg jeans in rigid ecru denim.
Sustainable Selvage is an ongoing collaboration with Italian denim mill Candiani. The result is a series of jeans created using less energy, water and chemicals. Sustainable production and finishing processes include the use of Kitotex dyeing, derived from the food waste industry, Indigo Juice dyeing–a more superficial yarn dye; and mineral dyeing, using the N-Denim nitrogen dye and Earthcolours dye, which comes from unused natural waste. Sustainable laundry treatments include lasering that does not use chemicals, E-Flow which uses less chemicals and water, and PP spray (used for creating worn effects) has been replaced with an eco-friendly bleaching additive.
Premium Italian denim is made with organic cotton and at least 20% recycled fibers.
Free From Cotton
This alternative to cotton uses at least 20% Lyocell (a cellulose fiber made from wood pulp) and recycled fibers per garment.
This initiative sees a range of bottoms made with no less than 20% recycled fibers.
A variation of the traditional Lee Jeans Jelt that is made with at least 20% recycled fibers.
“With so many different definitions for the term ‘sustainability’ and so many opinions on what makes a product ‘sustainable,’ we launched For A World That Works prior to making commitments or goals because we didn’t want to commit to something that wasn’t meaningful. We are in the process of building a portfolio-level scorecard to understand and assess the sustainable attributes of our products. This global tool will allow Lee designers to view how our entire product line is progressing on sustainable attributes. It will benchmark our sustainability initiatives’ impacts on environmental and social issues and help us set targets over time. We’re on a journey. We understand that simply launching a sustainability platform won’t make us a sustainability leader overnight. But it will provide the framework for Lee to passionately challenge ourselves to create a more sustainable future.”