Two years after Tommy Hilfiger (TH) had taken some significant steps and encouraged the industry to start collaborating and lower the impact of jeans and fashion production, Nicolas Prophte, VP Sourcing, Production & Innovation Denim, Tommy Hilfiger, believes it’s time to drive the denim industry to embrace new paradigms. He explained The SPIN OFF what new standards Tommy Hilfiger wants to achieve while igniting an overall collaboration within the supply chain and its main players.
At PVH Corp., we’re working to drive fashion forward for good, and as part of that vision, we want to inspire the industry to transition to more sustainable denim practices. On this journey, we are embracing a holistic approach, from raw materials to end consumer, while focusing our efforts on responsible fibers, responsible processes, circularity, and traceability.
The reinvention of the denim supply chain will be driven by teams with expertise in denim industry, sustainability, and innovation, that are dedicated to push the boundaries in both design and manufacturing.
In addition, collaboration across and beyond the denim industry, will be crucial to commit different stakeholders throughout the supply chain and align standards and processes to produce jeans that are both attractive to consumers while also respecting the environment and the people.
The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated conversations and awareness around sustainability across the fashion industry. There’s now more urgency to put in place new strategies to combat and resolve some of the most serious challenges we face as an industry. The pandemic has, however, brought opportunities to think out of the box and collaborate with our partners across the value chain to overcome difficulties and accelerate change in the denim industry. For instance, TH had started its denim circularity program already in 2020.
How is it driving the change?
Powered by parent company PVH Corp’s Forward Fashion strategy, in 2020 we launched TH’s vision to create fashion that “Wastes Nothing and Welcomes All”, where we defined 24 ambitious targets on inclusivity and circularity, towards 2030.
Within our vision, denim is a priority and that’s why had already begun our journey in 2019 offering and pioneering jeans made with 100% recycled cotton.
We see enormous potential to produce high-quality sustainable denim, through recycled fibers and technological advancements in the value chain. At TH, we’re striving for a Fall 2022 collection made with 20% post-consumer recycled cotton (POCR) denim as a minimum standard across all our denim products. Together with Kipas, we are pioneering a100% recycled cotton fabric with a blend of 50-50 Pre- and Post-Consumer mechanically recycled cotton.
In 2021, we also started applying the Ellen MacArthur Foundation (EMF) Jeans Redesign guidelines to produce more than 40,000 circular denim pieces, with more pieces planned for 2022. In addition, TH joined the Dutch Denim Deal and started setting up a recycling hub with our suppliers in Turkey.
The Dutch Denim Deal was launched by the Dutch government in 2020, in line with the European Green Deal and Circular Action Plan. Through a public-private collaboration, it aims to collectively set up a reverse value chain that enables the collection, sorting, and recycling of textile garments to be used as fiber input.
It has the concrete goal to produce three million pairs of jeans with at least 20% POCR by December 2023. As leaders in the denim industry, we’re committed to scaling innovation and sustainability. This deal represents a unique opportunity to collaborate with public authorities and key stakeholders across the entire denim value chain. We are excited to be part of this deal and offer our expertise and experience, with recycled cotton, to help scale volume across the denim industry.
Scotch & Soda, Mud Jeans, Kings of Indigo, JOG, 247 Jeans and, obviously, PVH Europe, are some of the jeans brands and companies that joined it. Along with them, there are also many other stakeholders like global denim mills including Bossa, Calik, Orta Anadolu, Kipas, Soorty, Isko, DNM Textiles Egypt and Sharabati Denim, as the supply chain is becoming wider and international.
I think the objective of this deal is to make it become more and more international in order that this model can be scaled. This project was started by the Dutch Government, and it’s important to understand how different stakeholders, public, and private companies and policymakers have one metric and how we all can scale this metric, and engage circularity in our supply chain in our business model.
By when can some significant results be reached within the entire value chain?
We all have to work according to a long-term strategy, and we have a lot of possibilities to collaborate with brands and different stakeholders.
We need to engage this movement in the industry to make sure that the use of 20% POCR is becoming a standard for denim mills for any brand. That's the objective. We can make a big difference and a big impact by adopting recycled cotton fibers in the fabrics.
At this moment, it's important to get the industry involved.
I can speak for TH. We communicate when we include POCR in our garments. The real difficulty are the waste garments. We communicate with hang tags to embrace the message and make it visible to other consumers, but I think that each brand has to find its own way. The consumer needs to know that the circular model is something for the next 20 years, and I think we are just at the beginning.