In the fast-paced world of fashion, where trends come and go, one timeless wardrobe staple continues to capture the hearts of consumers: denim. But behind the classic appeal of denim lies a hidden environmental cost that the industry can no longer ignore. Fabrica X, the impact retail store operated by The Mills Fabrica, has a new campaign, ‘Denim Futures,’ which aims to shed light on the future of sustainable denim and revolutionise the way people think about their favourite pair of je
jeans. Denim production has long been associated with staggering environmental impacts, from water depletion to carbon emissions. Each pair of jeans consumes a staggering 3,781 litres of water and emits 33.4 kilograms of carbon dioxide equivalent. However, Fabrica X, situated in the heart of Hong Kong, is set to change the narrative. At the forefront of this denim revolution is Cintia Nunes, general manager and head of Asia at The Mills Fabrica. She emphasised the significance of denim in the techstyle industry and its impact on the environment. Her goal is to unite portfolio companies, partners, and stakeholders across the supply chain to not only showcase the future of denim but also celebrate the progress and commitment to sustainable practices. The ‘Denim Futures’ campaign offers a unique opportunity for consumers to explore the entire supply chain lifecycle of the denim industry, from material innovations to sustainable denim products available for purchase. As Fabrica X opens its doors to consumers, businesses, and retailers, it sends a clear message: the future of denim is sustainable, and it requires the collective efforts of all players in the ecosystem. The campaign is more than a showcase; it’s a movement that aims to make denim one of the most sustainable fabrics in the world. The story so far “Riding on the success of the last campaign which was focused on biomaterials, we’re excited to put the spotlight on denim sustainability with our latest campaign, ‘Denim Futures’, for the next eight months at our impact retail store Fabrica X,” Nunes told Inside Retail. Through ‘Denim Futures’, she wants to shed light on the latest advancements in alternative solutions for retailers, manufacturers, and consumers, so that they can make or incorporate more sustainable choices in their decision-making or operations. “The showcase was designed and set up with a track on the ceiling that imitated the traditional denim manufacturing factory, linking up each part of the denim supply chain lifecycle – from design, materials production, and denim production to solutions that encourage circularity,” she added. Nunes said Levi’s has embraced circularity by integrating new innovative and sustainable styles unique to each generation. Its WellThread collection is the most sustainable collection that lessens the impact on earth at every step, from design to production process using Water<Less finishing methods to processes for greater circularity and recyclability. Advance Denim’s water-saving ‘BigBox’ dyeing technique and use of plant-based botanic dyes is another prime example. The Mills Fabrica’s two portfolio companies – Circ and Renewcell are also well on their way towards sustainability in this space too. “Circ has pioneered responsible chemical recycling technology to recycle polyester-cotton blended textiles and apparel waste such as denim containing polyester; while Renewcell is using 100 per cent textile waste including worn-out jeans and production scraps, to create ‘circulose’ pulp, a new, biodegradable raw material that helps prevents textile waste from going to landfills,” she noted. Education and engagement According to Nunes, education and consumer engagement are key elements for all the campaigns at its impact retail store. “For ‘Denim Futures,’ we provide a behind-the-scenes look at innovative and creative denim technologies, showcasing the entire supply chain lifecycle of the denim industry. Visitors can see and feel new material innovations and purchase sustainable denim products from a curated range of retailers,” she stressed. By raising awareness of the environmental impact of traditional denim and highlighting sustainable alternatives, Fabrica X aims to encourage consumers to make more informed and sustainable choices. “We strive to leverage this interest and further amplify the impact of the retail store concept by launching Fabrica X at more locations in both Hong Kong and globally,” she said. With that in mind, international brands like M.ATO, Story Wear, Sophie Hawkins, and Klee Klee were carefully selected for their range of products, and as they have demonstrated their commitment to sustainability through their practices. “We are planning to expand Fabrica X into more markets. Our goal is to bring the impact retail model beyond Hong Kong and London. We can redefine retail by using physical storefronts as a tool to educate the masses on sustainability and bringing innovations in techstyle – the intersection between technology and lifestyle – to more people,” she opined. Approaching a milestone The Mills Fabrica is an innovation platform launched by Nan Fung Group, a property development company that has roots in the textile industry, particularly in the cotton spinning sector. The Mills, where The Mills Fabrica is located in Hong Kong, underwent a remarkable transformation from a thriving cotton mill to a major supplier of the denim industry during the 1980s. As the group approaches its 70th anniversary next year, the ‘Denim Futures’ campaign holds a special significance, exemplifying how the firm aims to make a difference in the denim industry, as well as in the broader textile and apparel space. “This campaign also demonstrates how we leverage our ecosystem connection to bring players from all the entire denim supply chain lifecycle together to advance the industry forward,” Nunes concluded.