Fashion and lifestyle brand Volcom has launched its ‘Water Aware’ denim collection, as part of its ongoing journey to sustainability, which will see the brand reducing its water consumption by 40 percent, an estimated 4 million litres, by the end of the year.
The Water Aware collection for men, women and kids, features a reformulated, water-saving wash and finishing process in the production of denim, which results in an average savings of 13 litres of water per each pair of jeans.
Volcom’s new Water Aware programme is also ‘stoneless’ which means the production process for denim no longer uses pumice stone in the wash process. This omission means that less water is used, cleaner waste water, no heavy machinery operated to mine the pumice stone and resulting in less energy consumption overall.
In addition, the lifestyle brand is also using a laser finishing technique on select women’s jeans, which allows them to design washed looks digitally, and then laser that look directly onto the jeans. This technique means that the process has a “positively contributing to diminishing its environmental impact” as it bypasses the need for additional chemical steps to achieve a similar look, adds Volcom.
The brand’s autumn/winter 2019 denim collection also marks the introduction of Repreve recycled polyester fibre made from recycled plastic bottles in select colourways, specifically ‘black on black’, ‘vintage blue’ and ‘whiskey blue’. It notes while the amount of polyester it uses in its jeans is minimal, around 3-7 percent, it is part of its strategy to add “better” fibres into its products, especially when they are produced in greater volumes.
The aim of the collection is part of the brand’s commitment to addressing environmental impacts associated with clothing production, added Volcom, a journey it states has seen it seek solutions for responsible manufacturing practices over the last 12 years as part of its Eco-True initiatives.
Denim is one of the brand’s largest categories, which is why it has been the focus of its sustainable efforts, and its Water Aware technique has been inspired by the Water less techniques developed by levi and using its source: water innovation guide which volcom is encouraging other brands to adopt.
Volcom’s global design director, J.J. Gonzales and the brand’s production team worked with factory partners to employ enzyme and ozone washing and finishing techniques. Additionally, it has combined traditionally separate wet cycles into a single process, thus saving significant water and energy resources.
"In some washes, we're seeing up to 35 litres of water saved. Our medium blue and blue swift colourways are examples of washes where we’ve been able to significantly save water in the production process,” said J.J. Gonzales, Volcom global design director in a statement. “It’s pretty epic and we’re excited to build upon our successes and create an even greater impact over time.”
Ryan Immegart, Volcom chief marketing officer, added: “The largest amounts of water used in making jeans is associated with cotton growing, followed by the consumer’s care, which is why we’re really excited by the prospect of expanding our farm to yarn organic cotton programme into future denim production and developing customer educational material that urges them to join us in reducing their impact once they take their jeans home.”
Water Aware is the next chapter in Volcom’s ethical and sustainability efforts following its Fair Labor Association accreditation and the introduction of more sustainable materials around other high volume categories, like men’s Mod-Tech trunks, Frickin chinos and women’s swim, where they introduced Repreve’s and Econyl’s recycled fibres, respectively.
Images: courtesy of Volcom