Clean jeans

Barkers menswear launches what it believes to be New Zealand’s cleanest range of denim.

The menswear brand is on a mission to build a more responsible future for fashion by partnering with Vietnam-based Saitex, a Fairtrade-certified world leader in clean denim manufacturing.

Each pair of Barkers jeans from the new range uses just 1.5 litres of production water after recycling, versus the industry average of 80 litres.

And while other denim brands typically discard their waste water, 98 per cent of the water used in production of Barkers jeans is recycled. After undergoing reverse osmosis, it’s even safe to drink. The other two percent is evaporated, making for a zero discharge facility.

The jeans are then 85 per cent air dried instead of being entirely tumble dried, the industry norm, before being finished with a quick spin in a commercial dryer – powered by solar energy. Using renewable energy resources such as solar power has seen the factory’s emissions reduce by 80 per cent.

The hardware applied is nickel-free and the ‘lite’ leather patch means the leather is manufactured using especially low water and energy consumption. Made by one of the world’s most respected tannerys, a special man-made wetland is used to purify 100 per cent of the tannery’s production water waste.

The toxic ‘sludge’ from the denim manufacturing process is then treated and mixed with concrete to create non-leaching bricks to build affordable homes in the local community. So far, ten have been built.

With Saitex supplying big name brands such as J Crew, Everlane, Madewell, G Star Raw and Outerknown, Barkers Group Managing Director Jamie Whiting believes Barkers is the first major New Zealand retailer to adopt these more responsible production methods.

Knowing the fashion industry is a major contributor to environmental waste, Barkers has for several years been working away on a more responsible business model and is making good progress on minimising its environmental and social impact, says Whiting.

“It’s a journey,” says Whiting. “We’re not saying we’re perfect or that we’ve achieved all our goals already, but every step in the right direction is better than sitting on the side lines doing nothing about the welfare of the planet or the people who make our garments.”

Vietnam-based Saitex is a Fairtrade-certified world leader in clean denim manufacturing.

Made from quality Japanese denim in five washes across three fits, slim, tapered and straight, these are clean jeans that look good too. Available now at Barkers online

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