No less than 50% of Flemish clothing ends up in the residual waste. That is a pity, certainly if we know that the cultivation of cotton, the main ingredient of most clothing, is hugely damaging to the environment and labour-intensive. Moreover, this material is perfectly recyclable. Yet only 1% of all collected textiles is recycled into new high-quality textiles.
With the HNST project (which stands for honest, fair), we want to show that things can be different and make a positive difference. We created a new brand of quality jeans made from recycled denim.
For this project, together with De Kringwinkel Antwerp, we first collected more than 6,000 pairs of jeans and sorted them into re-wearable and non-re-wearable. About half of the collected jeans were still in (very) good condition and ended up in the second-hand sales circuit of De Kringwinkel. The jeans that were no longer wearable were recycled into fibres in Germany. The jeans fibres were then spun into yarn in Flanders. Circular Textiles and Texperium together succeeded in making a yarn that consists of half recycled old jeans and half Tencel. In the end, the HNST jeans fabric consists of 56% recycled cotton, 23% new Greek cotton and 21% Tencel.
With this recycled jeans fabric, Ellen Robinson designed a collection of timeless jeans that are in turn also (better) recyclable. In March 2018, the collection was launched for press and public and online sales started at www.letsbehonest.eu.