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  • MAP Asia Pacific Ltd

Is garbage the future of fashion?

The denim industry is doing damage control.

After decades of bad PR and being called the “most polluting” garment, denim-focused brands are making headway in becoming more sustainable. That’s largely been driven by a combination of collaboration, prioritization and expanded opportunities to scale.

Even fast-denim brands are making progress, with Guess announcing this week an expansion of its sustainability goals, based on great progress. And according to a manufacturer, Zara is “ahead of the game” on denim sustainability.

“It’s pushing to make more of its styles sustainable,” said Sarah Ahmed, founder of 4-year-old denim brand Warp+Weft. Ahmed’s family owns a B2B denim factory in Pakistan, where it also produces Warp+Weft and fellow house brand DL1961.

Within the last year, more consumers have become thoughtful about their purchases, and have also embraced sweatpants. Now, denim companies are increasingly shining the light on the work they’ve done to clean up their acts — even if that’s been confined to a small assortment. They’re campaigning to repair their image with marketing that rejects old, negative notions about their business, while ensuring they have ample evidence to back their sunny, circular claims.

On Thursday, AG launched The Jean of Tomorrow, a capsule collection composed of 100% biodegradable versions of three of its most popular styles. On the same day, Levi’s introduced its new “Buy better, wear longer” marketing focus, calling attention to its impact reduction and product durability. And in March, Gap debuted Generation Good, a campaign spotlighting its most sustainable styles to date.



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