Ever tried Ancestry.com? It's pretty amazing we are able to trace back our family lines through the study of genealogy, but it also feels like its a little bit of a game. It's fun and exciting discovering where you came from and who your ancestors are and I think the same goes for our jeans. Cue *** genes / jeans pun *** Wouldn't you find it interesting to be able to know exactly where your jeans came from - down to the plot of land the cotton was picked? Your jeans have traveled far and wide and touched many lives, so I think they deserve to have their stories told and be heard!
Traceability has been top of mind for me, as the definition of "sustainability" has continued to lose all meaning. Every product is "sustainable" in some way, but no one really tells you why.
At Transformers Catalysts, Fibertrace, Orta Anadolu, and Nobody Denim sat on a panel to discuss the amazing partnerships between the three in creating a jean that is fully traceable from seed to shelf.
It starts with Good Earth Cotton, "Earth's most ethical cotton." Not only is Good Earth Cotton carbon positive, meaning growing the cotton actually removes carbon from the air, but it is also 100% traceable with Fibertrace technology.
Tracing fibers are added to the cotton and I previously questioned whether or not these added fibers would have any negative consequences for the wearer or environment during its production. However, it starts with a pigment that the USDA has actually classified as grass, so you can actually eat it! Once it is embedded into the cotton, it has no effect on texture, performance, dyeing or finishing.
Once the cotton is picked and put into a bale, every step along the supply/value chain is scanned and the environmental, social, and geographical data is stored, using blockchain technology, on Fibertrace's platform. Brands also have the ability to link back to this platform to share all of the information with their consumers. And there you have it, folks! From seed to shelf. Is this something you would like to see in all your clothes!? Please let me know in the comments!
The R Collective has also been experimenting with tracing upcycled products but has taken it one step further than purely supply chain traceability. Through a collaboration with Levi's unused inventory, the Denim Reimagined project offers supply chain information, washing tips, restyling tips to prolong the life, and advice on recycling the product at the end of its life. All stored in the label's QR code, a quick phone scan will walk you through these four experiences using Avery Dennison platform Evrythng. This, to me, is the future of fashion.
I think we all know greenwashing must be put to an end, and traceability will be the answer to seeing who is actually walking the walk not just talking the talk. Orta Anadolu director Sedef Uncu Aki said it best, "You can't manage what you can't measure."
It's time we start tracing and collecting real data. Anyone can say anything these days and it's terribly frightening! But, digital tools will be an enabler for traceability and we are continuing to see the adoption of digital tech to help solve problem areas in our industry. Come back next week for "Going Digital."
Until next time friends, STAY DILIGENT!