HOW WE MAKE OUR JEANS III: WASHING AND TREATMENTS
If you haven't done so yet, read part 1 and part 2 of How we make jeans first. We think of men's jeans making in three stages. First, denim is made from cotton. Next, that denim is sewn into jeans. Then comes washing and laundry treatments. This is our favourite part. Denim only really comes to life when it's faded. This happens naturally when you wear it (learn more about how and why here). However, getting a good fade can take years. Luckily, modern treatment processes allow us to speed up the process, and with innovative technologies and old-fashioned craftsmanship we have become experts in recreating authentically worn in jeans.
Character Is Created In the Laundry Room
The natural fade can be replicated in many ways. Depending on the desired outcome, we work with a number of different treatments. Each pair can go through as many as 16 different manual operations.
Overall Fading: Stonewashing and Ozone Treatment
For an even all-over fade, we use both traditional washing, either with or without the small pumice stones, and ozone treatment. The latter is an innovative laundry method in which a gas, in this case ozone, replaces water to lighten the colour of the denim. Ozone laundering, which is a cornerstone of our Low Impact Denim initiative, helps us reach our goals of reducing water and energy consumption by at least 40% and 30%, respectively, in the treatment process.
Local Fades: Bleaching, Sanding, and New Innovations
For local fades, a bleaching agent can be applied with brush or spray. One of the most recognizable treatments is the moustache effect on the thighs of the jeans. These characteristic lines, also known as whiskers, are normally made with sandpaper or laser. As you've probably realised by now, we go a long way to recreate the naturally worn in look in our jeans. We even replicate the 3D-effect of the natural creases; a waxy fluid substance called resin is applied to the jeans to keep creases formed on mannequins in place. The jeans go through a large, industrial oven at 160°C which hardens the resin.
The Final Touch: Trimming
Even though the processes may be the same, no two jeans will look alike in the end; that's the beauty of it all! The jeans have been given their signature looks and the only things missing are the very last touch. This is added during the trimming and finishing step where the remaining patches, buttons, and hangtags are attached and the jeans are packed in boxes.