Beanie Jean: Rethinking Denim with Soy Fibre

January 13, 2022
the Editorial Team
Soy being grown in the fields
Denim has always been a wardrobe staple, but it is also extremely harmful to the environment. Through research and development, we at Neela have explored new possibilities to lower the impact of denim on the environment.

It’s a common belief that buying a new pair of jeans is like turning on the shower and letting the water run down the drain for a whole day. The reason for that is cotton, which is used to make denim, requires a great deal of water. It takes 1,800 gallons of water to grow enough cotton to make one pair of blue jeans.

Furthermore, surveys conducted by McKinsey & Company in 2020 asked consumers whether COVID-19 had altered how they perceived fashion. According to the findings, 67% now consider buying clothes made from sustainable materials to be important. Therefore, we must also adapt to changing consumer attitudes, in particular those about sustainability. 

Neela strives to always be at the forefront of change, which is why we have invested a significant amount of resources in developing solutions that preserve the denim heritage for a conscious generation. In that vein, we are pleased to introduce our latest product development: Vegan Cashmere Denim made with soy fibres.

Soy fibres, or "vegan cashmere", are one of the most eco-friendly fabrics in the world with the softness of silk. As a spinnable fibre that is predominantly composed of soybean hulls - which also gives this fibre a natural cream hue, we are repurposing a waste product in a way that uses minimal toxic chemicals. 

Because soybean blends are highly elastic and drape well, denim wearers will feel more comfortable in them. Also, denim fabric when enhanced with soy fibres does not wrinkle or shrink. As a result of its chemical composition, soybean fabric also possesses unique properties. It has a higher UV resistance (99.7%) than cotton, viscose and silk, as well as antimicrobial properties. Besides being soft and lightweight, the fabric is also light-reflective, giving it a silkier look. Since soy fibre is made from a waste product, it is also biodegradable, so it isn't a major pollutant.

This fibre has many of the same aesthetic characteristics as natural fibres, as well as physical characteristics which are similar to synthetic fibres. Soybean fibres work exceptionally well when exposed to moisture, with absorbing qualities equivalent to cotton fibres. In addition, soybean fibres also provide excellent ventilation properties.

It also boasts excellent washability, fast-drying, and wrinkle resistance.

Because hygiene is also a vital concern for denim wearers, fibre from soybeans is highly resistant to Staphylococcus aureus, Coli bacillus, and Candida albicans. Amino acids present in them make them beneficial for the skin and for human health. As well as activating collagen, soybean protein fibre can prevent trickling and moisture loss. 

One of the good mechanical properties of soybean fibres is its tenacity of 3.0 Cn/dtex, which is higher than that of silk, wool and cotton fibres. Nevertheless, soybean fibre’s wet strength is 35–50% that of its dry strength. 

Overall, the fibre is malleable and can be modified using molecular genetic techniques, which can enhance the fibre’s properties for specific applications. In conclusion, the price of petroleum has increased by 21 times, whereas the price of soybean protein has only increased by 6.5 times. Soy-based denim blends can be a significant alternative to poly-based denim blends. Get in touch with our product representatives or book a sales call here to learn more about our S/S 23 collection.