The question that keeps me up at night is "how do we make the most sustainable pair of jeans in the world?" The pursuit of sustainability is a journey, and I'm always pushing for better options.
Earlier this year, I went on a road trip down to the Carolinas to see what I could find. I visited factories and mills, some still in operation and some long shuttered. The one thing I found everywhere I went: perfectly good fabric, collecting dust in storage or headed for the landfill. But what the industry calls waste, we call opportunity.
This Summer, we're showcasing eight of these exceptional and rare denims, in our attempt to prove that a better model is possible.
What is deadstock?
Deadstock fabric is any leftover fabric that can’t be used for it’s original purpose. Deadstock material is a byproduct of the fashion industry’s broken model of speculative manufacturing.
Here's how it typically works:
1. A brand guesses how many garments they’re going to sell next season and places an order with a factory to produce these garments.
2. The factory receives the fabric and trim for the order. Standard practice dictates ordering 20% more than will be needed.
3. The factory makes the garments for the order and delivers them to the brand for distribution. Any leftover fabric is called “deadstock,” is considered a sunk cost, and heads to long-term storage to collect dust or worse, the landfill.
Why don’t the factories reuse this material?
Most factories require large batch minimums - we’re talking tens of thousands of garments before they’ll even consider taking on an order. A few hundred yards of fabric is not a viable option for these factories.
how does Detroit Denim use this material?
Detroit Denim operates on a model of responsive manufacturing. We don’t make anything until a customer places an order. Our minimum batch size is one. To us, 50 yards of denim is an ideal candidate for creating a badass run of jeans you won’t be able to find anywhere else.
Wait, so is this musty denim that’s been sitting on the floor?
Not at all! We hand-picked each of these materials and took great care to ensure that each deadstock denim we chose was well wrapped and stored away from damaging elements like heat, water, and dirt.