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Lee Jeans launches sustainable denim with Artistic Milliners

Tom Bottomley
27 August 2021

Denim giant Lee Jeans has joined forces with Artistic Milliners, one of the world’s largest vertically integrated denim and apparel manufacturers, to develop Cradle to Cradle Certified selvedge jeans at the bronze and gold levels.

The new range of jeans is circular by design and every component of the jeans is 100% recyclable. Crafted using 100% organic cotton, the fabric is dyed with a process that uses 58% less water than traditional denim dyeing processes.

The stretch denim comes in two styles for men, "Luke" slim tapered and "Daren" regular straight, as well as "Carol" regular tapered for women, and they all come in dark denim or worn look.

The Artistic Milliners facility generates 524000 kWh of solar power per year, and all of the buttons put on the jeans are raw, virgin metal, meaning they have not been finished with any treatments, therefore saving energy consumption and eliminating extra processing.

Both the Gold-certified Aureola and Bronze-certified Nymph jeans have met the respective Cradle to Cradle Certified Product Standard version 3.1 requirements for certification by the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute across the standard’s five performance categories: Material health, material reuse, renewable energy and carbon management, water stewardship and social fairness. Both jeans are classic five-pocket styles made using a premium 12oz selvedge denim.

Jeff Frye, VP of Product Development, Innovation, Sustainability and Procurement at Kontoor Brands, parent company of Lee Jeans, said: “At Lee, we are focused on finding transformative pathways to design and manufacture products that minimise the impact on our planet. Achieving Cradle to Cradle enables our consumers to wear Lee Jeans with confidence, knowing we are continuously improving the sustainability and circularity of our products with the good of people and our planet in mind.”

Murtaza Ahmed, Managing Director at Artistic Milliners, added: “Our collaboration with Lee on the development of a Cradle to Cradle Certified range of jeans is a great example of the kind of transformative research, development and innovation that can occur across the value chain.

“It enabled us to use our existing Cradle to Cradle Certified denim fabric as a springboard for creating a fully certified vertical garment. The results are a reflection of our shared commitment to a circular future for people and planet by working with brands that believe in making a positive impact.”

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