You know those classic stone washed jeans that nearly everyone has owned at some point? Well, turns out they’re not only fashionable but also incredibly popular, with around 1.2 billion pairs manufactured annually! It’s a massive market, worth a staggering $65 billion globally.
Here’s an eye-opener: It takes a whopping 4,000 liters of water just to make a single pair of jeans. But hold on, most of this water is used in growing the cotton, not in the actual manufacturing process. Still, during the production of an average pair of jeans, about 70 liters of water are used in the denim washing phase alone. To put that into perspective, it’s roughly half the total daily water consumption of an average person. On top of that, 150 grams of chemistry and 500 grams of pumice stone are utilized per 1 kilogram of denim for the iconic “stone washed” effect.
Turkey is one of the major players in the global market. The country has vast reserves of this unique volcanic rock, which makes it a prime source of Turkish pumice used in various industries, including denim manufacturing.
Turkey is a significant supplier of Turkish pumice stone and plays a crucial role in the denim industry’s sustainability efforts. As the demand for stone-washed jeans continues to grow, there is a pressing need to find more eco-friendly alternatives, and that’s where innovative technologies like Hand Made Stone (HMS) come into play.
Pumice Stone Washing
Now, let’s talk about pumice stone washing for a moment. After about three finishing cycles (those washes again), the entire load of pumice stone is pretty much useless, turning into mush or sludge in the industry lingo. And what happens then? Well, it’s either disposed of at a cost, sometimes turned into expensive bricks, sent to landfills, or worse, incinerated. Yikes!
Once the Turkish pumice sludge ends up in landfills, it takes up valuable space and adding to the whole waste mess. They mess with the environment, mess with the soil, and can even mess with the water if they need to be managed right.
Oh, and let’s remember the financial side of things. Turkish pumice is not cheap. Wasting it means losing money, and that’s just no good for anyone involved in the denim washing process.
Considering the large scale of denim manufacturing, you can imagine the sheer amount of pumice stone washing that’s being used by these companies. Even moderately-sized manufacturers are using tens of tonnes of it each month, and the big players are into hundreds of tonnes!
Our recent Tunisia Visit
For the last few months I have travelled with our Chief Technical Officer, Yavuz Baykan to the denim manufacture powerhouses of Tunisia and Bangladesh to document the incredible growth of our product with more than four leading manufacturers across three cities (give or take a few). Our team has been working with partners in Tunisia to find a better, more sustainable solution to this wasteful and costly process.
And guess what? The response has been beyond our expectations! We’ve had engaging discussions with some major players in the industry—let’s call them Company 1, Company 2, Company 3, and Company 4 (their names are under wraps for documentation purposes).
Face-to-face interactions with potential customers have been fantastic. We get to hear about their challenges firsthand and offer them solutions that not only promote sustainability but also boost their profits while satisfying the high-quality demands of their retail buyers. Win-win!
So, what’s our game-changing solution? It’s called Hand Made Stone washing, and we’re taking it up a notch with HMS Light, extending its life to many hundreds of cycles, not just three like the conventional method. The perks are impressive:
– Up to 70% less water used in the process
– Up to 50% reduction in chemistry usage
– The process is twice as fast as conventional pumice stone washing
– More denim can be treated per cycle, making it more efficient
And guess what? Our HMS stones can be recycled when they finally reach the end of their very long lives. Sustainability all the way!
A Quick Recap
In the denim business, pumice stone wash, handmade stone washing and denim washing are widely used terms.
Let’s quickly recap the deets of the denim washing process:
Stone washing is a technique that includes using pumice or volcanic pebbles in big commercial denim washing machines. As we discussed, we’re looking to shift away from this traditional denim washing method and move towards using handmade stone washing techniques. This change will help us reduce the negative impact people often point fingers at the denim washing industry for. It’s a more environmentally friendly option that we’re excited to explore!
Aesthetic Impact: The hand made stones scratch the denim’s surface, giving it a vintage, faded appearance.
Distressed Appearance: Handmade Stone washing produces naturally distressed sections of lighter color, giving the denim an elegant, worn-in appearance.
Softening: The procedure also softens the cloth, enhancing wearability.
Variations: Various levels of distressing and fading may be achieved using different Hand made stone sizes, denim washing durations, and chemical additions.
Environmental Issues: Traditional pumice stone washing may use much water and generate a lot of trash, making it less environmentally friendly.
Denim Washing (Various Methods)
Enzyme Wash: In contrast to traditional pumice stone washing, enzyme washing uses enzymes to dissolve the indigo colour in denim, producing a softer and more controlled fading effect.
Acid Wash: Acid washing gives the denim a severely faded and bleached appearance using chemicals like chlorine or potassium permanganate.
Bleach Washing: This process involves treating denim with a bleach solution to give it a faded, nearly white appearance.
Overdying: Over the basic indigo dye, denim can be colored with additional hues to produce striking and distinctive results.
Sandblasting: Sandblasting is a process that involves blasting sand or other abrasive materials into denim using high-pressure air, giving the fabric a distressed appearance.
Customers nowadays want a wide range of denim designs, from vintage and distressed looks to clean and dark-washed styles. To keep up with the demand, denim washing procedures are improving. And since sustainability is a big deal now, the industry is also looking into more eco-friendly ways to do things.
As we grow our business and expand into different sectors, we will offer more variations of Hand Made Stones products to meet various needs. It’s an inspiring time for us, and we’re proud to provide innovative and eco-friendly solutions to our customers. Let’s make a positive impact together!