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How the Idea of Circular Jeans became a Reality?

Why does the Fashion Industry need to change?

In today’s fashion industry, the phenomenon ‘fast fashion’ has become increasingly popular amongst well-known brands because it provides them with a quick turnaround of new styles, increasing the number of collections offered to them in a year, resulting in lower prices.

However, this idea of ‘fast fashion’ is not good for the economy in the long run because it leads to an environmental disaster. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) have calculated “the fashion industry produces 10% of global carbon dioxide emissions every year, while it is estimated to use around 1.5 trillion litres of water annually.”

The problem of this is ‘fast fashion’ – cheap clothes are bought and being cast aside as fashion trends are continually changing at a rapid pace.

This is why many companies are moving to a circular system within the industry, allowing them to earn around $560 billion. To take on this opportunity will require them to create new business modes and collaboration across the value chain to keep safe materials in use.

The Initiative Make Fashion Circular was launched as the Circular Fibres Initiative, at the Copenhagen Fashion Summit, in May 2017. This idea was to bring together leaders from across the fashion industry to create a new textiles economy followed alongside the circular economy’s principles.

Why Redesign Jeans?

One way companies are moving to a circular system is from the way they produce denim, especially in jeans. Today, the way we produce jeans is causing a huge problem for the environment with waste and pollution produced. When making jeans, harmful substances are used at all the stages of production, impacting both garment workers and the environment. When it comes to the recycling process, it is made very difficult because of all the in-built hazardous chemicals.

What is the Jeans Redesign vision?

The jeans redesign vision, set out by Ellen Macarthur Foundation, has come up with a selection of guidelines for what companies should follow to create jeans that fit in with the circular economy.

The minimum requirements are garment durability, material health, recyclability and traceability.

These guidelines are put in place that is based on the principles of the circular economy that will work to ensure that jeans last longer, can be easily recycled, and are made in a way that is good for the environment and the health of garment workers.

When the foundation decided on the “Make Fashion Circular” initiative back in 2017, they successfully brought together more than 40 denim experts from all different fashion industry areas to help develop the guidelines.

Since this movement, they have partnered with various well-known fashion brands like H&M Group (through the H&M and Weekday Brands), GAP, Tommy Hilfiger, and many more.

What are the Guidelines?

Here is a detailed list of what are the guidelines that brands should follow when producing jeans:


  1. Jeans must withstand a minimum of 30 home washes while still meeting the brand’s minimum quality requirements.

  2. They should include clear labels about the information on product care.

Material Health

  1. All jeans should be produced using cellulose fibres from regenerative, organic or transitional farming methods.

  2. All jeans should be free of hazardous chemicals and conventional electroplating. Stone finishing, potassium permanganate (PP), and sandblasting are prohibited.


  1. They should be made with a minimum of 98% cellulose fibres (by weight).

  2. Metal rivets should be designed out or reduced to a minimum.

  3. If you want to add any extra material it should be easy to disassemble


  1. Each element of the guidelines requirements has been met and should be made easily available.

  2. An organisation that have met these guidelines will be granted permission to use the Jeans Redesign logo on their jeans.

  3. The Jeans Redesign logo will be reassessed annually, based on compliance with reporting requirements.

The Jeans Redesign is just the beginning of a circular fashion by setting an example of how all clothing can be made safely using renewable material to impact the environment positively. As well as improving the business models so they can increase the use of clothing items and old clothes can be turned into new.

Don’t forget to keep an eye out for the Jeans Redesign logo in stores and online.

To find out more information about the Jeans Redesign project visit:

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