Global jeans brand Wrangler has started its new The Wrangler Rooted Collection, a limited edition premium jeans capsule meant to support US sustainably grown cotton in five Southern states. Each piece–the Alabama Jean, the Georgia Jean, the North Carolina Jean, the Tennessee Jean and the Texas Jean–uses fabrics made with cotton grown, milled, then cut and sewn in the United States and treated with a unique wash, as well as trim and patch details featuring the state’s silhouette and other embellishments. The collection will also include two T-shirt designs for each state and two national designs.
The sustainable cotton used for each state’s jean is fully traceable to a family farm in that state. As part of this program Wrangler aims to source 100% of this sustainably grown cotton by 2025.
Roian Atwood, senior director of global sustainable business at Lee and Wrangler, explained how the project was born and will evolve.
Why did you decide to involve some local US cotton growers and start producing these jeans in the US?
Prior to launching the Rooted Collection, Wrangler was already using US cotton to make our products. In fact, a majority of the cotton we use in our jeans is grown by US producers. As we work towards our goal of sourcing 100% sustainable cotton by 2025, we knew we would have to work with US cotton growers to increase land stewardship and soil health practices. The Rooted Collection is our first effort to highlight farmers who grow sustainably, but it’s not our first time using sustainable cotton and certainly won’t be our last.
Will these items be more expensive than regular Wrangler jeans? And what was consumers’ response?
The Rooted Collection is on par pricewise with our other US made products. We have seen a lot of enthusiasm so far for the collection, which has been very exciting. There are also a few super-unique trim items that represent the state where the cotton comes from.
Where will this collection be sold? Only in the US or also in other countries?
Currently, the products are only available at Wrangler.com in the US. They will be sold in select US retailers this fall.
In which kind of stores will they be sold?
Because The Rooted Collection draws so heavily on our heritage, the collection will be available in Western stores and some select farm and fleet stores located in the five different states represented by the Rooted Collection.
How does Wrangler want to further identify itself as an authentic US brand, and a product involved in supporting its own local communities and economy?
Wrangler was born out of the American West and we continue to honor that heritage today. We look to embrace our history and are always looking for ways where we can continue to support local communities, the farmers who take care of the land and innovate more sustainable practices throughout our supply chain to protect our land. Beyond making products, we have a dedicated Wrangler Science and Conservation team that is made up of soil scientists, farmers, innovators and agroecologists. This team has been working with the FFA (Future Farmers of America) and Wrangler is sponsoring healthy soils trainings in Millen, Georgia; Brinkley, Arkansas; Halifax and Lumberton, North Carolina. Next year, we are showing up in Mississippi, Texas and California. The Rooted Collection is the perfect example of all of our efforts coming together and sets a high bar for as we continue to do more of this in the future.
As by 2025 Wrangler aims to source 100% of its cotton from farms pursuing sustainable practices how will its plans develop?
We are actively trying to source more sustainable cotton and plan that by the end of 2025 to only have sustainably grown or recycled cotton in our products. It’s a big goal, but we have a lot of great partners helping us reach it. At Wrangler, sustainable cotton means cotton grown with soil health and land stewardship in mind. Our research shows that three practices (cover cropping, conservation tillage and complex rotation), when used together, can increase yields and resilience to weather events, while decreasing impacts. That means less energy, less water, fewer greenhouse gas emissions (and actually, the practices put carbon back into ground) and fewer chemicals.