Frame Milan Design week
Frame Milan Design week

In the Air: Denim Daze

Not just for jeans and not just made of twill-weave cotton: denim is adopting surprising guises in the design world. 

You’ve probably seen the posters. Pharrell is being manhandled – or rather, octohandled – by a sea creature while sporting G-Star’s Raw for the Oceans denim. Why a sea creature?Because the collection utilizes fibres made out of recycled plastic bottles salvaged from the sea. The content of salvaged plastic that goes into Bionic Yarn denim is around 39 per cent, and the first collection used 10 tonnes of recycled PET bottles. 

From creating denim in new, sustainable ways to finding ways to reuse denim that already exists, designers are treading new territory with the fabric. Matteo Fogale and Laetitia de Allegri’s -ish collection – which was shown at this year’s London Design Festival – proves that worn-out jeans can have the substance of stone. The first-time collaborators designed a series of objects that emphasize the illusion and beauty of stone-like materials made entirely from recycled and reclaimed postindustrial waste. Nebraska-based Iris Industries, specialists in transforming recycled materials into sustainable composites, supplied its products for the project, such as Denimite, made from denim scraps, and Marblus, composed of remnants of white cotton and polyester.

A sort of follow-up to an existing Nudie Jeans venture – repair stations in which customers can bring back their tired jeans to be fixed for free – the Scandinavian denim brand has involved reuse in its new furniture project. The sitting surface of the foldable Ebbe Camper Seat – which is  hand-braided from the inner and outer seams of nine pairs of Nudie jeans – is teamed with one belt and a leather label. Once the seams are removed, the trouser legs are shredded and transformed into rugs. 

The question is, could you therefore fish plastic from the ocean, turn it into a pair of jeans, and then turn those jeans into furniture? We’ll wait and see.

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