Neela By Sapphire Fibres Makes Denim That Is Better For You and The Planet

June 4, 2021
the Editorial Team
How to make circular jeans - notes by Ellen MacArthur Foundation - Jeans Redesign 2020-2021
Every second, one garbage truck of clothing is landfilled or burned. Today’s linear make-take-waste economy causes huge environmental impacts and substantial economic loss to the denim industry. In a time when the environmental impact of fashion, particularly denim is being scrutinised more closely than ever, our mill, Neela By Sapphire Fibres is embracing a unique opportunity to reinvent the industry by developing innovative ways to increase the value of existing garments.
Features of circular jeans - notes by Ellen MacArthur Foundation - Jeans Redesign 2020-2021
Features of circular jeans - notes by Ellen MacArthur Foundation - Jeans Redesign 2020-2021

Circularity is at the core of what we do here at Neela, and we are pleased to announce that we have joined the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s Jeans Redesign project. We are rethinking the way we produce jeans to tackle waste, pollution and harmful practices across the industry alongside 60+ participants. The jeans redesign is a pioneering material design guideline made to create long-lasting denim so that when they are at the end of their life, they can be remade into new jeans.

Denim mills and brands supporting The Jeans Redesign Project by Ellen MacArthur Foundation 2020-2021

About the Guidelines

Built by over 80 experts in the denim industry, the guidelines set out essential requirements on garment durability, material health, recyclability, and traceability. The guidelines are based on the principles of circular economy and will work to ensure that denim lasts longer, can easily be recycled, and are made in a way that is better for the environment and the health of garment workers.

What does this mean for Our Customers?

Compliance with the guidelines ensures that our fabric:

  1. Will be able to withstand a minimum of 30 home laundries with additional information on how to care for your garments, e.g. whether fabric needs caution due to special process of finish.
  2. Is made of cellulose-based fibres from regenerative farming, organic or transitional methods, and
  3. Is free of hazardous chemicals and conventional electroplating and are not subject to stone finishing, potassium permanganate (PP), and sandblasting.

This will be verified by:

  • Dimension Stability AATCC 135
  • Tensile Strength (kg) ASTM D5034
  • Tear Strength (gf) ASTM D1424
  • Crocking AATCC 8
  • Abrasion resistance ISO 12947–2

And our mills comply with Level 1 Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals (ZDHC) manufacturing restricted substance list (MRSL) and ZDHC wastewater guidelines as a minimum. The latter making sure that the wastewater volume created for denim fabric is below 0.025 m3/yard. ZDHC Gateway will verify this and so will GOTS/OCS Transition Certificates and Levi’s accredited Sapphire Fibres Limited Denim Division Lab.

This is the start of an industry-altering journey, an important step, but it is not the end of this journey, and we will continue to raise our level of ambition. Through pioneering material innovation and a global partnership, we are a step closer to making denim truly circular.

About Neela By Sapphire Fibres

Neela By Sapphire Fibres is a Pakistan-based Gold Leeds Certified mill disrupting denim by setting new standards in sustainability and social responsibility. Founded in 2016, Neela sets itself apart with it’s over expertise forged over 80 years of industry experience spread across three generations. Innovation, sustainability and responsiveness to the people & environment are deeply Ingrained in Neela’s roots, values and culture.

Today, Neela’s parent company — Sapphire Group is a publicly listed company in Pakistan and a vertically integrated premier textile mill manufacturing cotton yarn, fabrics and garments. The Group has also diversified into the power generation and dairy sectors and continues to be a beneficiary to health and educational development in Pakistan — all of which have contributed to the foundation that Neela was built on.

The Jeans Redesign Project resonates with Neela’s value system and hence is a natural partner program to align with. As a responsible member of the denim community, Neela wants to provide customers with a product that meets the highest standards, and the project will speed up the process to meet that benchmark.