Behind The Seams: The Making Of Our Low Water Wash Denim

We've just introduced our Low Water Wash Denim, the first project in our journey to sustainability. Our designers have been working hard to make our denim range more sustainable and now our denim range uses 50% less water in the wash processing than the global standard. Here, we chat to Stella Smith-Stevens, Mens Casual Designer, and Lucy King, Sustainability Manager, about how they teamed up to create our Low Water Wash Denim range.

Photography by Dan Castano.

What was the inspiration behind this project?

"Internationally our industry is making massive strides in improving our production practises. Country Road has made a commitment to ensure all products have a sustainable attribute by 2020. We feel passionately that denim is an area of focus within our brand that needs to lead the way."

How do you even begin on something like this?

"You find the best people to do the job! We have partnered with manufacturers that are championing the use of efficient and economic technology developed by Jeanologia® in Spain. Focusing our production in factories that have embraced these progressive technologies has allowed us to start developing our denim with more responsible attributes without compromising our aesthetic, and ensuring that quality for our customer is maintained."

Can you talk us through the process take from beginning to end?

"All denim jeans start life as raw unwashed garments. They then progress through a dry process and a wet process. When you see colour loss, whiskers, puckering and distress on your jeans, this is all achieved through the dry processing. Traditionally all carried out by hand, we are starting to utlilise lasers to achieve the same results, reducing the use of sprays and manual sanding."

"Then the wet processing involves water! The lighter the colour of the jean, the more it is washed. Because of their modern equipment our manufacturer can half the water that is used in this wet processing, compared to the global standard. All of our main range denim scores GREEN on ‘water usage’ with Jeanologia®’s Environmental Impact Measuring (EIM) system."

Are there any more projects like this in the works?

"In July 2019 we are introducing a recycled denim package where we’ve focused on the fabrication as well as the processing. Our denim fabric will contain the maximum percentage of recycled yarns that have been synthesised from ‘post-consumer waste,’ otherwise known as old clothes. The journey towards responsible denim at Country Road continues."