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Levi’s to release sustainable version of its 501® Original

YarnsandFibers News Bureau 2022-01-06 10:52:36 – USA

Levi's® will release organic cotton and post-consumer recycled denim version of its most iconic product, the 501® Original, in early 2022, which is also meant to be recyclable. The launch is part of Renewcell and Levi's® ongoing cooperation, and it reflects both the 501's enduring nature and Levi's® commitment to evolving toward more circular products and methods.

Patrik Lundström, CEO of Renewcell, said that for several years, they've been working with Levi's to push the boundaries of what's possible for large-scale textile-to-textile recycling. Incorporating Circulose® into the 501® Original and launching it in stores demonstrates Levi's® inventive capabilities as well as Circulose commitment®'s to replace considerable amounts of virgin cotton with recycled fabrics in high-quality products.

The launch is built on the release of a collaboration between Renewcell and Levi's® Wellthread™ line on the 502™ for men and High Loose for women using the same materials, which was named a "World Changing Idea" by Fast Levi's®. Levi's® employed a combination of Circulose® fibre from Renewcell, a sustainably derived viscose made in part from recycled denim, and organic cotton in each case.

Paul Dillinger, vice president of Design Innovation, said that their work with Renewcell last year demonstrated that this could be done, that they could develop a man-made cellulosic fiber derived from recycled denim that was robust and durable enough to match their quality criteria. With mechanically recycled denim, it wasn't conceivable before.

Dillinger added that now they're taking that innovation and putting it to the 501, which is arguably the most iconic garment in all of the fashion, demonstrating how serious they are about getting toward circularity. Their circular 501 jeans will not only be intended to stand the test of time, as they have always been, but they will also be able to be repurposed into new outfits.

Because these jeans are made with recycled denim and certified organic cotton, they require much fewer natural resources and chemicals to manufacture. Reduced environmental impacts of materials are an essential component of Levi's® Buy Better, Wear Longer message and campaign, which is part of the company's broader strategy for resource conservation across the life cycles of Levi's® goods.

Una Murphy, Levi’s director of Design Innovation, said that they aim to enhance their design techniques and preserve environmental resources in any way they can as part of their continuing research and development. They study what's possible and work toward solving some of their most pressing concerns by embracing sustainable innovation.

The utilization of renewable and recyclable materials by Levi's®, such as Circulose and certified organic cotton, is an essential aspect of the company's overall circularity strategy. Every component of these circular 501 jeans was designed and chosen to adhere to a stringent single-fiber strategy that allows for efficient recycling at the end of the jean's useful life.

Levi's® has eliminated pollutive elements that would otherwise interrupt the cotton recovery process by replacing those parts of the garment that would ordinarily be manufactured from synthetic fibers — such as polyester pocketing, threads, labels, and interfacing — with 100% cotton equivalents. The outcome is new jeans manufactured from old jeans that are designed to be remade into new jeans over and over again.

Dillinger explained that they’re still in the early stages of the apparel industry's shift toward true circularity, which is critical considering how consumptive and wasteful this industry can be. By creating their trademark jean, the 501, with recycled content and in a method that makes them recyclable, they hope to demonstrate to themselves and the industry that it is possible to provide a more sustainable product that saves resources, looks beautiful, and satisfies the highest quality requirements.

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