Original article: Sourcing Journal
It’s no secret that global warming and climate change are starkly affecting the planet, and Twin Dragon’s mission in textile production is to reduce the use of chemicals, water and energy at every step of the process—using sustainable materials and developing new technology in dyeing and finishing.
Based in Los Angeles with offices and a showroom in New York, the vertical denim manufacturer has production facilities in China, Vietnam, Mexico and Central America, all contributing to a comprehensive world view.
“There are steps we must take to protect our environment, as it is our responsibility to preserve and shield our planet from any further damage, but we also need to keep our industry alive!” stated Stephanie Poon, director of marketing and merchandising for Twin Dragon Marketing Inc. “The two cannot be mutually exclusive, and innovations that help the planet must be easily accessible and result in a product that is attractive and sustainable.”
The first step is to start with clean and green fiber. Fiber that is biodegradable and eco-friendly, such as lyocell, will drastically help to offset the amount of water used in growing cotton.
Lyocell uses around 90 percent less water per pound than cotton, which is a paramount amount of water savings. “In addition to implementing more lyocell, we are planning to use only recycled and biodegradable polyester versus the virgin counterpart,” said Poon, noting that TDMI is already starting to incorporate this initiative with blends of both recycled and biodegradable poly, and the company plans to release this new collection in January 2023. “We have some existing items but we are in the process of expanding and creating more items with higher lyocell content to off set the water consumption,” she said.
Better biodegradation and better dyes
As long as there are plastic bottles being produced, recycling plastic will help to reduce waste discharged into landfills. No one can argue the benefits of that, but many brands and consumers might still ask, ‘Does recycled poly degrade in landfill or the ocean?’
“This is where biodegradable poly plays a large role in completing the full circularity cycle,” said Poon. The key is to make sure brands and consumers understand how this works, and how important a garment’s end-of-life is when looking at the full cycle.
The second step is to continue to innovate and discover new ways of dyeing and finishing that will save water and energy.
“We have already introduced the use of liquid indigo and eco finishing technology, but we are close to releasing a new type of dye that will eliminate the need to use much water at all,” said Poon. “Extending the eco tech for our customers in the garment manufacturing side, we are working with a Los Angeles-based denim lab to create washes that achieve the lowest environmental impact measurement (EIM) scores in the industry.” All new development will be introduced in January around Kingpins.
Twin Dragon is also focusing on a collection of indigo colors that reduces the amount of dips to achieve lighter colors for garments that will be washed down to its lighter forms. This strategy is to help the customer reach their intended outcome through using less energy, time and processing, and is already being applied by TDMI to capture the vintage trend in a more sustainable way.
“The final step is to continue to produce the best quality denim we can at a fair price to reduce purchasing overconsumption on the consumer end,” said Poon. “We are firm believers in creating quality over quantity and being intentional in every aspect of our production process.”