Xeros technology is being installed by a major denim manufacturer - a first step to greener jeans
Denim is arguably the world’s favourite fabric.
Popularised by 19th century labourers requiring hard wearing garments, denim has been transformed from the original workman’s PPE to become a staple of the global fashion industry.
Today, more than 1.2 billion pairs of jeans are sold every year. It’s thought the average woman has 7 pairs in her wardrobe, the average man, 6.
But denim exacts a high toll on our environment.
Every pair of jeans consumes a vast amounts of fresh water during production and manufacture.
Harsh chemicals are used to produce fashionable looks like acid washes, generating harmful emissions, while the fabric itself releases microfibres into our oceans every time it’s washed.
And because of this, the industry is under pressure to reduce the impact its products have on the environment.
Thankfully, forward-thinking companies are working hard to change this, striving to produce denim in a more sustainable way.
Following a landmark deal between Ramsons and ABA, jeans made in Bangladesh and supplied to brands like H&M, Zara and America Eagle, will be made using our sustainable technologies, dramatically reducing their environmental footprint.
Having proven that our XOrb™ and XDrum™ technology can dramatically reduce water, chemistry and energy use, and lower emissions in laundry, we turned our attention to developing solutions for apparel manufacturing.
Making clothes is a complicated business that involves many distinct and specialist techniques.
But one common process that is used repeatedly in factories, is washing.
Before finished garments can be shipped to stores around the world, the fabrics made to use them, and the finished garments themselves, are washed many times.
Washing processes are also used in applying certain textile finishes. This is particularly important when it comes to denim.
Raw denim is hard and stiff. But by applying special finishes, it is softened and made comfortable to wear and, crucially, achieves the all-important looks that consumers love.
The most common of these is Stone Washing.
Many of you will remember Levi’s TV commercial from the 1980s when a young man walks into an American laundrette, strips to put his jeans in the drum before tipping in a bag of stones.
The classic stonewash look is achieved by washing jeans with lots and lots of stones. Pumice stone to be exact. All of which degrades to a sludge after just three or four washes and must be manually disposed of.
XOrbs can be used to achieve the same stonewash effect, but without using stones, using around 75% less water, less chemistry and less energy.
So, just as our technologies reduce the environmental impact of laundry, they can significantly improve sustainability in denim finishing.
These were just some of the factors that convinced Ramsons and ABA of the benefits of Xeros technologies.
ABA Group is one of the largest manufacturers of finished garments in Bangladesh supplying many of our most familiar fashion brands.
It makes 45 million garments every year and 70% of those are denim.
It has long advocated sustainable processes and has already taken giant steps to improve environmental performance.
Four of its manufacturing facilities are certified by the US Green Building Council as compliant with ‘LEED’ (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design).
And to date the company has made water savings of 53%, energy savings of 46% and reduced its carbon footprint by 45%.
The addition of Xeros technologies offers ABA even greater scope to improve these figures – and produce outstanding denim!
Sunder Belani, Managing Director of Ramson said: “Xeros technologies were one of the principle reasons for ABA Group selecting Ramsons to equip their new denim finishing operation.
“As one of the largest apparel manufacturers in Bangladesh, supplying global leaders in the fashion industry, ABA operates to the highest environmental standards.”
SECURING THE DEAL
For several months we have been producing sample products for ABA to demonstrate that we can deliver garments to the high quality required by ABA’s clients.
This wasn’t easy during lockdown! Normally, our teams work side by side with our partners to ensure everything runs smoothly.
This time however, working with Ramsons, which has the exclusive rights to use and distribute Xeros technologies in South Asia, and ABA, we managed to achieve the same thing, virtually. Thank goodness for Zoom!
One of the samples we were asked to produce was a high fade / bleaching effect, like that sought by the leading High Street brands they supply. Historically, ABA has used a multi-stage, multi-machine process that involves pumice, abrasion, washing, bleaching, ozone, and acid washing.
Not only were we able match the quality of the samples using our technologies, but we could complete the whole process in a single Ramsons machine, using significantly less water, energy and chemistry – reducing effluent emissions, saving time, improving productivity and reducing costs.
The result is that ABA will install 9 Xeros-enabled Ramsons denim finishing machines in a brand-new ABA facility. Eight of the machines are 5,000 litre capacity each able to process up to 300 pairs of jeans at a time.
The deal with ABA is an important step for us at Xeros.
It marks the first time that our sustainable technologies will be used in the supply chains of the world’s leading fashion brands.
It demonstrates too, to companies across the apparel manufacturing industry, that technologies exist that can help them meet, and go beyond, tough environmental and quality standards required by legislators and consumers alike.
The order with ABA Group is a first step for Xeros into garment manufacturing. But it will be the first of many that help us take a giant step towards achieving more sustainable clothing for all.
If you would like to find out more about how we are applying our technologies in the apparel sector, or if you are a garment manufacturer looking for sustainable solutions, please get in touch using our contact form.
Managing Director, Commercial Products