sustainable denim
Photograph courtesy of Triarchy

Triarchy’s New Skinny Jeans are Made With the World’s First Plastic-Free Stretch Denim

We caught up with Canadian designer Adam Taubenfligel to find out more about the groundbreaking new range.

Jeans are one of the worst offenders in our wardrobe when it comes to the environment – the amount of water used to create a single pair is eye-wateringly high (in the thousands of litres) and washing our jeans on the reg has a lasting impact thanks to the release of microplastics from the denim into our water supply. How then do you decide between sustainability and style? Well, thanks to Canadian designer and creative director Adam Taubenfligel of LA-based denim brand Triarchy, you don’t have to. Triarchy has just launched its new website and with it sustainable stretch denim made with zero plastics – and it’s as gamechanging as it sounds.

The denim – developed and patented by Italian denim mill Candiani Denim – is made using 96 per cent organic cotton and four per cent natural rubber which gives the material its stretch. Traditional stretch denim derives its stretch from petrol-based, plastic elastane which can take centuries to break down once it’s been thrown out, however the natural composition of this new denim means it is entirely biodegradable. However Taubenfligel – who takes educating his customers on sustainability very seriously – is wary of focusing on this aspect of the denim to avoid consumer confusion. “Biodegradability requires conditions – you need a compost, you can’t just take it and throw it over there and be like, yay, I did it! That’s not how that works. It’s a little misleading because not everyone knows how composting and biodegradability works and so people [can’t] just put it in the garbage or recycling. That’s why we market it as plastic-free stretch because that’s true and if you want to read more on the website, we talk more about biodegradability and the conditions needed to do that but the whole point of the conversation is that it’s the first pair of stretch jeans that don’t have plastics and therefore don’t have any run-off of microplastics either.”

Photograph courtesy of Triarchy

The brand is the first to bring this stretch denim to market for women, which is a huge achievement for the brand – however pioneering a new category isn’t without its challenges, as Taubenfligel has discovered. “Everyone is really excited about [this new innovation] but then [buyers] go, ‘Hmm, if I put these on the wall next to my 80 pairs of traditional stretch denim, I’m basically saying that to the left of [the Triarchy] jeans is trash. And I’m like, yes, correct,” he says with a laugh.

Bringing the jeans to market was also possible because at the end of 2018, Taubenfligel made the decision to stop selling skinny jeans given that, at the time, there were no sustainable denim materials that met the standards he holds himself and his brand to. “All our poly was made from recycled water bottles which is great,” he says of his old stretch denim range, “but the truth is you’re still making new garbage with old garbage.” His patience paid off and the earlier business decision has meant that he can shout about the incredible properties of the fabric without a) being hypocritical and b) cannibalizing his existing inventory – which he suspects is why other brands have been slower to adopt the new fabrication.

In terms of fit, the designer says that the jeans “hold you in beautifully” and have the exact same fit and feel as “every other pair of stretch jeans on the shelf” – the major difference being that “your skin will breath” in the Triarchy offerings because its not being smothered by plastics. This technology, he says, is primed for use in athleticwear, too. “I’m more excited about this making its way into athletic than I am for denim.”  As for sizing, Taubenfligel says that by reintroducing stretch denim the brand has “expanded its size range by three or four waist sizes” and there are plans to expand that further in the next production run.

Triarchy’s new website launched last Thursday and Taubenfligel says he sold more jeans in the five days that have followed than he did for the last half of September. This, he believes, is due in large part to the website’s focus on providing customers with an easy-to-digest sustainability snapshot on each product. “There must be a correlation between all of the sustainability stuff and [making people] feel comfortable – and that’s what I strived to do, to give that comfort and knowledge. This is an informed purchase.”

Discover the website, and new sustainable denim line, here.

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