We’re thrilled to present our new range of Upcycled Denims produced by The New Denim Project! Among the first of its kind worldwide, The New Denim Project uses a closed-loop production process to craft new fabrics from post-industrial waste. The result of this circular system is a line of hardwearing and high-quality denims that are not only dye-free but chemical-free, meaning they are entirely biodegradable at the end of their life span.
Come along as we explore the history of The New Denim Project and their production process!
A Little History
The New Denim Project came about as a project by Iris Textiles, a third-generation textile mill in Guatemala run by a father-daughter team. Originally established in 1956 by their grandfather, the mill is now run by daughters Arianne, their creative director, and Joanna, who oversees business development, as well as their father Jamie, the head of production.
From left to right: Arianne, Jamie, and Joanna Engleberg. Image courtesy of Intent Journal
Over their 65 years of operations, the company turned their focus to circularity in the textile industry, looking for a way to marry sustainability and technology through their production process. The New Denim Project is the product of these values, breathing new life into otherwise discarded scraps and creating products that are environmentally responsible, from the beginning to the end of their lifespans.
How They Do It
To craft these fabrics, they begin by collecting post-industrial waste from local garment factories (such as the off-cuts from producing jeans), sorting them by colour, and grinding these scraps back down to a fiber form.
Over 1000lbs of leftover scraps from denim factory cutting tables, collected from a single denim mill in Guatemala
Raw fibers ground from denim scraps
In the spirit of zero waste, any unused fibers from this upcycling process, such as cottonseed and cotton lint, are sent to local coffee-growers in the highlands of Guatemala, Finca San Jeronimo Miramar. The fibers are mixed with coffee pulp, manure, wood, and more to create compost that is used to nourish their fields.
Compost used for growing coffee. Image courtesy of Finca San Jeronimo Miramar
Once ground, these fibers are then spun into new yarns without the use of a single dye or chemical and without any synthetic fibers added to the mix.
Roving made from these upcycled fibers being spun into usable yarns
With the supervision of their skilled weaving team, the yarns are woven together by machine to create fabrics in a range of different weights and hues.
The New Denim Project Weaving team
Due to the upcycled nature of the yarns, each of these fabrics features a unique flecked appearance that gives it a beautiful organic look. Our 12oz Upcycled Denim in Concrete Fleck, for example, boasts a subtle confetti-like range of colourful flecks that we can’t get enough of!
Thanks to their closed-loop process, The New Denim Project has saved 834,474 pounds of textile scraps from going to waste in one year alone. According to The New Denim Project, for each kilogram of waste used, they save up to 20,000 liters of water and for each ton of textiles that are upcycled, 20 tons of CO² are prevented from entering the atmosphere.
We're happy to be able to offer a range of lightweight to heavyweight Upcycled Denims that are sure to suit a range of different projects! Sturdy and hard-wearing our 12oz & 10oz Upcycled Denims boast a structured drape and soft hand straight off the bolt compared to raw denim. With a prominent twill weave, these denims are perfect for all your favourite workwear styles including jeans, chore jackets, and overalls.
Our 12oz & 10.5oz Upcycled Denims by The New Denim Project
Our Upcycled Denim Shirtings, on the other hand, are lightweight and breathable with a moderate drape that makes them perfect for classic button downs, shirtdresses, and elastic waist pants.