During the current edition of Denim by Première Vision (May 25-26), French jeanser Dogg Label (Le Temps des Cerises) takes part in a round table for ecological jeans production. In the run-up of this event, Sportswear International talked to Lylian Richardière, Creative Director and co-founder of the brand.

Could you explain your concept of ecological jeans production?
We launched a line of jeans produced completely without water consumption called ‘Japan Rags Zero’. We have special machines for an ‘ozone treatment’ to bleach the pants just with the help of air. We started five seasons ago and this line now makes up 20% of the whole collection of Japan Rags. Our aim is to produce 100% of the collection with this ecological procedure within the next four years.

Are the prices higher for these jeans, and if so, why?
Yes, the price of these jeans is about 10 to 15% higher than others. But the maximum price still stays affordable with €140. The reason for the higher price is that regarding production much more handcraft is needed before and after the treatment.

Do you think consumers are aware of this ecological benefit and do they accept the higher price?
Every jeans of Japan Rags Zero comes with a tag which explains our approach. In France, only a small number of consumers are ready to spend more for a pair of ecological jeans. But the Northern European countries are much more aware and this is the reason why we focus on them and will present this kind of jeans also at Bread & Butter.

Why do you offer the Zero line only within the men’s collection?
The eco-jeans are less soft, because there is no water at all involved in the production. But for women, softness is one of the most important sales arguments. Another reason is that 80% of all jeans for women use spandex in the textile, which doesn’t work so far for our ozone treatment. But we are working on it, and hope to launch it in summer of 2012, at least some first styles.

What are your expectations from the round table during Denim by Première Vision?
I don’t have fixed expectations, but in my opinion we have to stop to fool the consumer. There are brands who declare to reduce water in the production by 30 to 40%. 30% of what? From a very high pollution to a small pollution? I’ve seen factories in China which produce jeans for European brands, where the polluted water directly runs from the villages into the river. Ecological behavior is very often a marketing gag and a big ‘greenwashing’. Only a zero consumption of water can be regarded as real ecological production. And there exist some different technologies to realize this no-water-production. The jeansers have to work together to develop an eco-standard or a label and to progress in the process of a sustainable production.