Wrangler Blue Jeans are Going Green!

A new type of Indigo dye uses 99 percent less water to produce.

Jun 30, 2019


Wrangler Blue Jeans are Going Green! | A new type of Indigo dye uses 99 percent less water to produce.

Nothing is more American than blue jeans. The blue denim pants were invented in 1871 and were initially made for miners and cowboys but became a popular fashion among youth in the 1950s and 1960s counterculture. Denim soon went mainstream making jean pants, jackets, skirts, and more a big part of western culture.

Now, Wrangler which has been making jeans since 1947, is greening the industry by dyeing denim with indigo – the deep blue color used for jeans –  foam instead of the traditional way of using vats of Indigo liquid dye.

While indigo is a natural compound and has been used to dye cloth for centuries, most of the indigo dyes used today are synthetic, and dyeing yarn for the production of blue jeans is very wasteful. The thread has to be pulled through multiple dye boxes filled with around 2,000 liters of liquid dye and water, and the process has to be repeated several times for the dye to hold according to Fast Company.

The new eco-friendly foam dyeing method was developed at Texas Tech and uses over 99 percent less water than the traditional method. In 2017, Wrangler, the Walmart Foundation, and Lee, another blue jeans brand, invested in new technology to make the industry more sustainable.

In the new "Indigogood" method, the yarn goes through three chambers where it is sprayed with the foam indigo dye; then the chambers are sealed and filled with nitrogen which helps the yarn absorb the dye. The process saves more than just water; it is expected to use 60 percent less energy and produces 60 percent less waste.

“While we have been able to reduce 3 billion liters of water in product finishing during the past 10 years, we know that more needs to be done across the entire supply chain,” Wrangler president Tom Waldron told Fashion Network. “Foam technology reduces water consumption and pollution further upstream, helping our fabric suppliers to dramatically minimize the impacts of making denim fabric blue.”

The Spanish mill Tejidos Royo will be the first to use the foam-dye process and will receive the dyeing equipment in October 2019. The first Wrangler jeans using the new method will be available by the end of 2019.

The Indigogood dyed denim will be available in the premium Icons line, but Waldron is aiming to scale the new dyeing method for more products, and hopefully, it will become the industry standard.

Wrangler is also working to become a more environmental brand by funding US sustainable cotton and by pledging to reduce its water usage by five billion liters by 2020. The new foam indigo dyeing process is a giant step in the right direction.

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Bonnie has dedicated her life to promoting social justice. She loves to write about empowering women, helping children, educational innovations, and advocating for the environment & sustainability.