Designing at NASDA - Soorty's R&D Micro Factory
I am so excited to share the sustainable denim production process with you based on my experience at Soorty's R&D centre, NASDA. This project came about when the Soorty team and Denim Dudes were talking about how many influential, strong ladies there are in the denim industry that all approach denim and indigo in their own way. Some of these ladies are at the back stage of the supply chain (like the beautiful women harvesting cotton or weaving fabric) while some are closer to the next level, which is ultimately closer to the consumer. For example, take myself. I have positioned myself on the communication side, raising awareness for a cleaner industry to consumers. In a nutshell, this is a collective story of women in denim, performing their unique art in a world dominated by men.
Sustainability starts with design. The designer should have the type of fabric and finishing materials in mind from the beginning to ensure the design is not compromised due to technological limitations. For example, when designing my blouse, I pictured a breezy sheer peasant blouse. Unfortunately, that look was unachievable with the Cradle2Cradle fabrics I wanted to stick with, so I had to take a step back and rejig my original design to an opaque dusty blue.
Nonetheless, I am over the moon with how it turned out! I ended up using "Meltemi Blue," which is a light weight, 100% biodegradable shirting fabric from the SS20 Natural History container. It is a blend of cotton (50%), linen (25%) and Tencel (25%) for a very soft, and authentic feel. We then applied an eco-bleaching technique in the finishing stage to get the “sky blue”color, radically lowering the environmental impact by keeping the water, energy and chemical use low.
The JEANS! I designed my "perfect fit" based on measurements I have collected over the years of different styles I have really loved. The result is a hip hugging loose straight. I chose to use "Loop Clean Blue," which consists of 99% organic cotton + 1% recycled elastane content from Soorty's AW2021 Cradle to Cradle verified fabric collection. C2C is their design system for developing sustainable products based on a circular economy and this fabric is a new color addition using the world’s first clean liquid Indigo to make aniline free denim. It utilizes zero waste water in fabric dyeing and finishing with up to 90% water savings! I also had my name lasered on the back pocket for the ultimate customization touch :p
For the jacket, I really wanted to create a statement piece showcasing how fun sustainable fashion can be. I chose to do an oversized military looking long jacket with a hood, exaggerated sleeves and enlarged, removable utility pockets on the front side. The ability to move the pockets around can create multiple looks, as well as completely removing them for a completely different styled jacket. This is an example of creating multiple uses in one design, which can also help extend the life of a garment. I used "Cobain Ecru" from Soorty's Winter Whites container and hand dyed it, to achieve this unique look.
Follow my Instagram to see pictures of my designs and a step by step series on denim production! Also, head on over to Denim Dudes to read more on the design process and come back next week for a more in depth look at some of the eco-processes involved in manufacturing. In the meantime, STAY DILIGENT FRIENDS!