ZERO WASTE COMMITMENT
Our mission is to make the design, manufacturing, and consumption of fashion intentional.
We aim to reduce global carbon emissions by 1% (no small feat, we know) using our tech and vision because we know the earth needs some serious TLC if we’re going to continue enjoying it.
To be clear: we are not zero waste (yet!) and actually, no one is.
However, we don’t have inventory and we’re implementing the most sustainable practices available to us to ensure we’re reducing and reusing to the best of our ability. This looks like, localized production, low impact fabrics, and on-demand manufacturing for now but, we’re creating a future of closed-loop, zero-waste supply chains where jeans can be disassembled and assembled again.
HOW TRADITIONAL METHODS FALL SHORT
resources are precious, that’s why we use ours with the utmost intention.
Typically, water is used to grow the raw materials, chemicals are used to dye and finish the fabric, large amounts of energy are consumed by spinning the yarn, weaving the fabric, and transporting it to sewing facilities, sometimes across the globe. A garment passes through many hands and labor conditions before it arrives at the doorstep. With such a depleting process, you’d think we’d care more for our clothes. Instead, garments become waste through traditional manufacturing models, ending up in landfills or burned, never used, never making it to a consumer. At unspun we recognize that each piece of fabric and all garments are made from finite resources that should not be wasted.
Ever wonder what happens to garments from the sale rack after the sale is over? Goodwill reported that just in the SF/Mirin/San Mateo area 50,000 lbs/month of unsold clothing is donated to them and 60-70% they’re unable to sell. Our jeans are made only once they have a home. We’ve done away with producing inventory altogether.
zero cutting waste
Traditional methods of garment manufacturing for pants create approximately 10% cutting waste. So when you use 10,000 yards, at least 1,000 yards of that are destined for landfills in the form of cutting waste. This got us thinking. We use so many precious resources to create a fabric that wasting at least 10%, even before garments are made, seems insane. To address this, we have an entire team at unspun dedicated to developing a weaving machine that will create woven garments to shape without creating cutting waste. No wasted fabric.
We make jeans that are particular to your shape and your desired style so that you don’t need to buy more. Similarly, our jeans are made with durable and responsible materials that work best with certain styles to ensure a long and comfortable life cycle. We advocate to #washless to maintain the fabric. We try to make a special bond between our jeans and the wearer, by having them choose aspects like the thread color and by putting their name in the jean, so they keep them for longer and wear them often.
We know that a package’s journey doesn’t end once the jeans are delivered. Packages sent from our San Francisco location are 100% compostable due to the great access to compostable disposal. In Hong Kong, however, that’s not the case. Access to composting (and even recycling) facilities are more difficult. To adapt we’re creating a system where the bags are able to be reused – we’re encouraging folks to send their package back to us if they’re not planning to reuse it. We include a shipping label for them to do so. Additionally, label stickers are 100% recycled.
Direct emissions include our office space and the energy it takes to power it. There’s also direct emissions when we send our jeans to folks, as opposed to them picking up. We fly our fabrics in to HK and SF in order to provide the best quality but in doing so, transportation waste is high. Producing locally helps but we hope to minimize waste as much as possible. Indirectly, we know there are emissions through the supply chain and machinery used in the factories. We aim to reduce global carbon emissions by 1% through automated, localized, and on-demand manufacturing.
chemical + water use
We require all facilities to be Oeko-Tex® and/or GOTS certified. We choose fabrics that use dye reduction processes (ex. nova, fuel black, glow black, raw pocketing fabric that are undyed). Any new mill must have initiatives and research in-house to address less water and toxic chemical usage (ex. candiani kiotex, evolx total care campaign).
our supply chain
Evolox fabrics use all recycled denim and BCI cotton; their processes use less dye while reusing materials that already exist. Evlox is GRS certified and uses all BCI cotton. Their facility saves 93% water 15% energy 30% CO2 and 22% chemicals compared to traditional dye and finishing facilities. They even have an “evlox total care” campaign that evaluates all processes from raw to final fabric.
Is our vertically integrated mill in Italy. We love them because they’ve signed the Greenpeace Detox Commitment and run a homegrown business with all 650 employees originating from Robecchetto where they continue to pass on their expertise. Candiani uses SAVEtheWATER-kitotex® clean dying.
SAVEtheWATER-kitotex® clean dying
SAVEtheWATER-kitotex® clean dying is salt & microplastics free. Dying is accomplished by 100% biodegradable polymer obtained by recycling food waste and has a deep color penetration for denim that doesn’t fade. For every pair of jeans, we save 2.565 liters of water.
N-Denim uses 30% fewer chemicals and eliminates hydrosulfites and fixation agents. For every pair of jeans, we save 2.565 liters of water.
Cone has been around for ages and that’s because they do a darn good job of providing sustainable fabrics made from recycled materials. They use SGENE® superior stretch technology with body-conforming stretch and a soft hand feel. Our space blue fabric is from the Sustainblue™ collection. Made with REPREVE® fiber, over 10 billion plastic bottles are recycled and counting. This minimizes the environmental footprint and promotes responsible stewardship of the area’s natural resource.
YKK NATULON® zipper is recycled from PET bottles and other post-consumer materials such as yarn waste. The advanced material recycling technologies are from Taiwan.
Dorlet eco-finish buttons don’t use an electrical plating process. We save 3,600 kWh(*) per 1,000kg of buttons. *3,600 kWh = average electricity consumption per family for 20 days.
Copen pockets from plastic bottles using REPREVE®. They’re made from recycled yarn produced from plastic bottles taken from landfill sites. For every 1 pound of REPREVE® polyester yarn, 0.4 gallons of gasoline are saved along with huge energy savings.
We use Thread A&E which contains REPREVE® – a mix of pre-consumer fiber waste and post-consumer plastics with core and cotton on the outside.
for the love of animals
We don’t use leather, fur, or animal-based textiles (except for exoskeletons of shrimps from food waste).
We employ small localized facilities that we work with closely in an on-going, open relationship. Our policy when looking for suppliers prioritizes social responsibility and the people involved. The people come first.
China: Continental Factory is located on Dongguan City, established in 2009 and now employs 50 workers. They have 56 holiday days off, plus time off for Chinese New Year. Most of the workers are paid a salary and do not work by the hour or piece. Additionally, internal training to develop the potential of the workers is highlighted, which results in high loyalty and retainment.
San Francisco: We work with our neighbors on market street, National Apparel. After working alongside them for over a year, we’ve developed a mutual open door policy. We visit frequently to see how things are running and how we can learn from their 15 experts. They are also one of the SF made approved facilities and are one of the last sewing facilities in SF still producing.
raw material goals
- phase out of all cotton not recycled, organic, or BCI
- double our amount of recycled cotton by 2020
- phase out all virgin poly in our fabrics
- decrease dye used by using fabrics with fewer dye dips
- using more color from up-cycled yarns from old jeans, to avoid dying whenever possible
- buttons will use no toxic electroplating process
- increase shipping fabrics by ocean by 50% (instead of air)
- increase in-store pickups by 20%
social responsibility goals
- visit all mills, and trim factories in person, and create internal reports
- have all sewing factories vetted by 3 parties