From Levi's to Dow, Eco-Friendly Cotton Is The Way to Compete

Levi's Water

At a cotton conference in Hong Kong, two facts regarding the textile were made clear: first, that the issue of sustainability isn’t going away, and second, that very matter might be what makes some brands more competitive than others.

Some retailers, like Levi’s, are pushing new, efficient water practices.

With the costs of water and energy on the rise, conserving and recycling those commodities is a worthwhile investment, with benefits beyond being able to slap a “green” label on a product.  Besides the lower costs, increased pressure from governments and rising retail interest have made eco-friendly fabric take center stage for some manufacturers.

With those concerned entities on the rise, fabric companies are also exploring ways to cut down on chemicals.  Dow Corning Corp. is reducing their use of fluorine, solvents, and formaldehyde, while Jeanologia, a Spanish company, used the Hong Kong conference to display how they soften denim through new machines using 5 liters of water.  Per every 100 garments, the process normally takes around 100 liters of water.  Big savings, no?

Another technique high on the green trend list is laser, which is being used for everything from efficient final washing processes to cutting animal prints in fabric.

High-end Italian denim has been moving toward more ecologically conscientious production, and more major American retailers are going green just to benefit their bottom lines.  How long, now, before these practices become the new normal in cotton production?