Sustainable denim production takes off

Not many realize apparel production involves a lot of polluting waste – from the weaving of fibers into cloth right through to the manufacturing of various dyes used for colorful eye-catching prints – processes which date back centuries and are badly due to more environment-friendly updates.

China firm Advance Denim has set out to maximize its sustainability efforts and minimize its carbon footprint – starting with its new factory in Vietnam – which aims to empower sustainability within denim manufacturing, as this plant is able to complete the dying, weaving and finishing processes all out of just one facility.

Its new fully integrated denim mill via Advance Sico in Nah Trang, Vietnam is designed to efficiently manufacture and ship more product to fulfill growing customer demands throughout Vietnam and Cambodia.

Advance Sico has made the commitment that by 2023, more than 90% of all fibers used will be sustainable. Additionally, 100% of all indigo used at Advance Sico will be Archroma aniline-free liquid indigo. This ensures that minimal sodium hydrosulfite will be used and no carcinogenic aniline will be present in the company’s indigo dyeing process, ultimately eliminating hazards within the production process.

During typical denim production, some aniline stays locked into the indigo pigment and can be difficult to wash off the fabric. The remainder of the aniline impurity is discharged during dyeing. This poses concern as aniline is toxic to aquatic life, and elevated exposure levels can put factory workers at risk.

While Advance Sico aims to commit to pure indigo, the mill also operates its own state-of-the-art reverse osmosis water purification system on site to remove any harmful impurities from its effluent water supply. As Advance Sico grows and diversifies its manufacturing capabilities, the company isn’t losing sight of its goal to produce the highest-quality denim with minimal environmental impact.

To complement the dye ranges, Advance Sico has 160 Picanol rapier looms that are known for their quality and reliability at weaving the full range of denim styles. The mill recently added two preshrunk finishing ranges designed to give added quality and flexibility to the denim. The total capacity is 1.5 million yards of denim a month, with the flexibility to grow with market demands.

The desire for sustainability across the denim industry is more prevalent than ever, and it has gone a long way in convincing Advance Denim that growth depends on adapting with the times.

Back in China, the company is throwing its full support behind the global effort to make the denim industry more sustainable by introducing big-box dyeing and closed-loop finishing in the Shunde mill to save as much as 95% of the added water used in dyeing and finishing.

As the first Chinese mill to adopt aniline-free indigo and one of the pioneers of colonized hemp denim, Advance Denim is now excited to draw from these years of innovation and evolution and bring these capabilities to a new audience in Vietnam.

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