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  • Writer's pictureDavid Connolly

The Jeans Redesign



Creating solutions for a world where clothes are kept in use


For decades, jeans have been at the heart of countless fashion collections. However, they are no exception to the fashion industry’s take-make-waste approach. Making jeans requires large amounts of resources, such as pesticides, water, and energy, and the way they’re designed and constructed makes them difficult to remake and recycle

after use.


Redesigning this iconic fashion staple is the perfect starting point on the journey towards a circular economy for fashion, where products are designed to be:

  • Used more

  • Made to be made again

  • Made from safe and recycled or renewable inputs



What is The Jeans Redesign?


The Jeans Redesign demonstrates how jeans can be designed and made for a circular economy.


The Jeans Redesign


guidelines - developed with input from 80 experts across industry, academia, and NGOs, encourage leading brands, mills, and manufacturers to transform the way jeans are designed and made.


The first redesigned jeans using the guidelines were brought to market in June 2021. Today, 100+ organisations from more than 25 countries across the industry have redesigned jeans - moving beyond theoretical discussions, learning by doing, testing new solutions, and overcoming innovation gaps.


Shared learnings and transparency are an important part of the project. Participants are required to publicly update on their progress and to show the methods they have used to meet the guidelines. In 2021, the guidelines ‘minimum bar’ was raised to increase the level of ambition and drive the industry forward.


The project’s latest Insights Report (2021-2023), reveals the solutions, innovation gaps and remaining barriers faced by participants.


Jeans Redesign Insights Report 2023 FINAL (5)
.pdf
Download PDF • 11.03MB

1. Circular design can become the norm


72% of participants overcame design challenges to make jeans that met the guidelines, with one-in-nine participating brands redesigning at least 40% of their jeans portfolio to meet the guidelines. The project demonstrates how circular design can become the norm across the fashion industry.



2. The solution pathways are clear

More than a third of participants reported applying the principles of circular design beyond jeans to other garments - including jackets, shirts, jumpers, tops, bags and hats. Proving that many circular design solutions are no longer a technical capability question, but a design choice.



3. Without systems change, the progress that has been made to redesign products will not be fully realised

We need to close the loop. More than two thirds of participants have an ongoing service or business model in place to keep jeans in use. Models such as rental, resale, repair and remaking, keep garments in use at their highest level - unlocking these models at scale will require a radical system change.



Jeans are just the start



Over the past two years, leading brands in the fashion industry have redesigned and transformed over 1.5 million pairs of jeans into garments that are more durable, have more transparent sourcing of materials, are easier to recycle, and are made using safe materials and processes.


But jeans are just the start. Participants are increasingly applying circular economy principles to other garments, proving circular design can become the norm.


Industry and policymakers can take learnings and apply them to all garments. Then we must not only reimagine the products of the future, but also redesign the services, business models, and supply chains to deliver them and ensure our clothes are kept in use.


"Jeans were always intended to be the start of this journey. By redesigning products so they are fit for a circular economy, we are making progress. But to truly challenge conventional linear models at scale we must go beyond redesigning products. We need to redesign the services, supply chains, and business models that deliver garments and keep them in use. The path forward is clear. It’s time to step up the pace and scale of progress."


- Jules Lennon, Fashion Initiative Lead, Ellen MacArthur Foundation




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