EXCLUSIVE: Everlane Strives to Win at ‘Clean Denim’ With Latest Launch

Even cleaner denim from Everlane is here — and the devil is in the (stretch) detail.

In the latest iteration of Clean Denim (which was introduced in 2017), Everlane is launching a three-piece line of Global Organic Textile Standard-certified organic cotton with stretch. Styles include a jean jacket for $88 in sizes XXS to XL, a baggy jean style for $88 and short for $50, available in sizes 23 to 35.

While elastane, or spandex, is traditionally added to give fabrics stretch — it dashes a brand’s hopes for a fully recyclable garment. As with others, Everlane is on a mission to find a solution that could have a lasting impact on the industry.

To edge closer to this goal, the brand worked with Italian mill partner Candiani to weave Roica V550 stretch yarn into its Clean Denim fabric ensuring no compromise is made between high-performance stretch and sustainability. The yarn is Cradle-to-Cradle Gold certified, meaning it passes the mark for being able to break down into the natural environment without releasing harmful chemicals.

The Clean Denim fabric, which Katina Boutis, Everlane’s first director of sustainability, calls a “milestone” in the brand’s journey, is 98.5 percent GOTS-certified [Global Organic Textile Standard] organic cotton and 1.5 percent Roica V550. Additionally, the proprietary innovation uses microplastic-free dyes (instead of vegetable-based dyes) and recycled trims, in some styles.

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Vietnamese LEED-certified denim factory Saitex is a close partner of Everlane and integral to its Clean Denim innovations, where the facility recycles 98 percent of water, energy is renewable and byproducts find their way back into use. 

“We’re excited about this moment in time and for the continuation of this fabric into our styles and collections in the future,” said Boutis, who acknowledged there is always more work to be done. “What I’m most excited about is this progression, this iterative journey over time. We’re working our way up the supply chain.”

Everlane has two core commitments around organic cotton and the reduction of virgin plastic. One year in from setting the commitment, organic cotton comprises more than 50 percent of the company’s material mix. Everlane said it’s on track with its commitment to remove all virgin plastics by the end of 2021, with 90 percent of its virgin plastic switched to recycled feedstocks, but closing the gap on that last 10 percent poses manifold challenges, according to Boutis.

“A lot of this is stemming from our no new plastic commitment,” said Boutis. “Elastane, or stretch, is one of those last components we’re trying to solve for,” she added, highlighting a lack of infrastructure and need for collective innovation. In April, Everlane launched its joint initiative “The Next [Collective]” meant to pool resources and innovative ideas.

On her priorities for 2021, Boutis said, “In my first year, I’m hyper-focused on furthering and building on the brand’s mission to create positive change in the fashion industry across our value chain and operations.” Her role will encompass social compliance efforts, carbon reduction efforts, material innovation and moving along existing commitments.

Everlane has long ingrained the concept of “radical transparency,” and Boutis said she will continue to approach transparency “as a tenet of sustainability,” one as foundational to the brand and a “key driving force across supply chain and operations.”

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