stretch denim Kuyichi sustainable organic denim brand

Stretch denim – our love/hate relationship

Everyone loves a comfy pair of jeans. For most people (except for dry denim lovers), comfort is the #1 thing to look for when buying jeans these days. That’s why stretchy denims are so popular. But there’s one thing: stretch isn’t known to be a sustainable fabric. Why is that? And how do we deal with this as a sustainable company? Are there ways to include stretch in a better way? 

Jeans used to be (only) practical and durable

For decades, a pair of jeans was the ultimate workwear. They were mostly worn by miners and cowboys because it was practical and durable: jeans were the perfect garment for hard labour because it could endure a lot. Stretch didn’t exist back then, (denim) fabrics were always made from 100% raw cotton. Making your jeans feel comfortable on the skin was hard work: you had to wear your jeans in and it would actually have to ‘grow on your body’. Some people even got into a bathtub wearing it, to speed up the process.

The birth of stretch

But then things changed. The first stretch fibre was invented by a big chemical company in the ‘60’s, DuPont. They introduced us to (what we now call) lycra or spandex, which are synthetic fibres, that made it possible to develop more flexible fabrics. That was great: because of this new innovation, jeans were all of a sudden comfy from the first wear and it could be worn closer to the body. This also created possibilities to make garments that adjust easily to a variety of bodies. Perfect! It’s why stretch became the biggest success factor of casual wear.

The downside of synthetic fibres

Sounds great so far, huh? Well, stretch does have some big downsides. First: it can get saggy over time. You want a pair of jeans to hug your body in the right places – nobody feels good in a saggy pair of jeans. Second: with synthetic stretch fibres comes the shedding of microfibres. Every time you wash a garment with synthetic fibres, microfibres get loose and flow away in the water to the oceans. Microfibres are a big contribution to the plastic soup in the ocean and a growing problem. That’s why we work hard on limiting our synthetic fibre usage. Last year only 4,4% of our fibres were synthetic based.

Why we do use stretch, but try to do it differently

We love to make sustainable products that are so well made that it becomes somebody’s favourite. That’s why we focus on denim fits with little to no stretch in our current collection. These fabrics are usually most sustainable. But reality is that stretch jeans have become the norm in the past decades. Many people prefer it, especially in figure hugging fits. As it’s our mission to inspire a big group of people to take – sometimes even their first – steps into sustainable denim, it’s important to us that we can offer the perfect better alternative for everybody’s needs.

That’s why we do offer stretch denims as well. But we always try to give you the most sustainable option within our knowledge and possibilities. For example, we focus on using recycled synthetic fibres (made from recycled PET bottles) to offer you the stretch you love. But there’s more.

New in our collection: T400 ecomade, better and more sustainable stretch

We’re always aiming for you to get an optimal use out of your jeans. The longer you wear it, the more the initial impact your garment made, during production, is worth it. That is why we’re combatting the saggy stretch denim. We found the perfect fibre for this: T400 ecomade. This stretch fibre from Lycra (what was once DuPont) consists of 1/3 recycled PET polyester, 1/3 plant-based polymers and 1/3 virgin polyester. What’s nice is that the different components react differently to your body warmth, creating the stretch while keeping the shape of the product. This means your denim literally needs to warm up to you. The biggest benefit of T400 ecomade is the recovery, it turns back to its original shape after cooling down, creating a lasting fit of your denim. No loose saggy stretch fabric guaranteed!

This way you can wear a stretch denim with a conscious heart. Saving old used bottles from the ocean while wearing our jeans and looking great. Or choose a non-stretch denim if you want and let it surprise you! You might have to put in a little more effort, but it sure will grow on you! Whatever you go for, we got your ass(or back).


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