Jeans have become such an important part of our wardrobes because they are cool, comfortable, and they never go out of style. But have you ever given any thought about your jeans’ impact on the environment? Surprisingly many people haven't though about it or are not aware of the amount of resources that are used to produce blue denim.
Just for you to have an idea of how complex the problem is : your denim is basically made out of cotton fabric, and in order to grow cotton, you need gallons of water and in order to make denim you need a lot of cotton. Just like that the cycle repeats. With that said, it makes me question : Do we really need that another pair of jeans? Well, if you really insist, I want you to know that currently there are several brands developing sustainable approaches towards a more sustainable lifecycle of your dear pair of jeans.
As an example, NOE3OU will introduce you to a brand new company called Yours Again.
The brand is bringing upcycled denim back to you. The concept behind the company is to work with Sustainable fashion where making a difference by giving the thrown jeans items a new life instead of producing something completly new by using more resources.
Yours Again understands that it takes a tremendous amount of resources to produce denim fabric, therefore they feel that it would be a shame if denim clothing had just one life. With this mindset, the Founder and Designer Simona Uvarovaite was motivated to launch an eco fashion brand with its focus on sustainable denim. Well, the brand is not only about how to up-cycle denim but rather have a broader perspective within the whole lifecycle of the products by striving to ensure that every and each part of the value chain would correspond to that.
NOE3OU had an exclusive interview with Simona Uvarovaite - the sustainable fashion designer behind Yours Again :
Where does the idea behind YOURS AGAIN concept comes from?
- Well, I might had start developing the whole idea from when i was doing an internship at a sustainable brand and the owner made me reflect upon something... something like if you really would like to be sustainable than you can't produce more products because that is also kind of going against your values, even though you might use organic cotton or something else the point here is that you still produce, and create even more stuff. I though this idea throw and i could not just leave this thought behind. So i was thinking about it a lot! How should i become a designer if than i will produce all the time?! Than i though of up-cycling off course, since that i have learned a lot about it during my bachelor in sustainable fashion design. I always though that it was something very interesting. My only concern at the time was that actually when you are trying to make a collection with up-cycled materials it is hard to find the same colours, same materials and sizes so that the final piece would not be completely different. So i was trying to find a material that i could work with that would be easy to work with in that way, without compromising the aesthetics. Than i though of denim! In that way it is perfect because it does not come in so many colours, it comes in more or less similar shades and it is very durable. It even get’s better with time so it is perfect for up-cycling! So that is basically how i developed the idea behind the brand.
Could you say that Sustainability is the core value of your company?
- Yes, definitely. I really think about it all the time and try to implement sustainable approaches along the whole value chain in as many areas as possible. I personally hand pick all of the materials that i work with so that i know where they come from. Since that i am a start up company i still can have control over all the aspects. It is very important for me that each step of the process is controlled. Maybe that might be the reason why the company is moving forward slowly as i try to look at every single detail. Even the smallest details like the threats for example, i check if they have certificates, also for the hand-tags and labels, i check if they also have certificates. On top of that, i also try to think of the packaging. The boxes that i use for package are recycled, so i do take different aspects in consideration. Also now that i have started to make accessories, i have also start thinking about the trims, the buttons and everything. It is challenging because you have to use the new ones. You can not simply reuse them from old denim so in that way i still have a bit of a gap now so i am trying to fix that. Only the buttons are not up-cycled at the moment so that is the thing i need to improve now. During the production process i also consider the way that i work with the patterns and how the old jeans pieces are taken apart. It is not a process of just cutting the fabric, it is removing the sticking apart, so that even the seam allowance are left there so that we are able to use most of the material.
Where is YOURS AGAIN production based?
- Lithuania. We got a new production house now. The production place is newly open, so the seamstress is alone with a helper and she is also starting to grow. In that way , i hope that we can grow together and have a nice connection because she also shares the same values as we do in YOURS AGAIN and that is important for me.
Where do you get your materials from?
- I also have a supplier in Lithuania, and i have been really lucky with the supplier because they do a lot of sorting for me. They basically buy all sort of second hand clothes from everywhere and than distribute them to several stores. My supplier gets all sort of discarded clothing (not just jeans) that they get from people that donate or throw out their clothing. Most of the jeans that I get are not very suitable for selling - they usually have some damage. In this way it makes sense both for me and the supplier - I reuse discarded clothing, and my supplier gets a chance to sell some jeans that most of the shops wouldn't buy. I buy from them before they distribute the clothes. In that way they kind of sort it for me just like i asked them to. The way i ask them for is that they sort the biggest size as you can find in black, dark blue and bright blue colours. So basically they do the colour combination and i just come and pick it up. It takes time as well. It is not so hard to find a second hand supplier but the problem is it has to be a reliable one and it had to be affordable as well.
In terms of collections, what is the plans for YOURS AGAIN?
- I don’t want to follow the main trends with 4 or 8 collections a year, so i am working more towards coming out with new styles seasonly but basically when the right time comes, with something like maybe before christmas or something like that. I believe that having new items is also important for the consumer because if i would like to be an alternative for the unsustainable brands, than i have to come up with new items sometimes as well but definitely not seasonally in the way that is at fashion fashion and not 4 times a year. So we design our styles to represent slow fashion and be worn on all seasons. We reuse, recycle and redesign so you can re-wear it each and every season, where you can style it and match it with your favourite outfits.
What are your future aspirations and plans?
- My biggest dream would be to have my own production house, a place that would produce only for me in a way, a sort of a mini factor. A place where i could have a easier control of the whole process. I feel now for example that i need to be there and instruct them all the time. When the designer is not there, the seamstress and its helper just sew, they don’t have the designer eye, so my biggest dream would be to have a mini factory where i have a very close contact with the production and being there and making sure that they are happy, and that i am happy, and that everyone is happy in that way. Making the process in the most sustainable way as possible.As a plan wise, i don’t have the intention of opening a store, but mostly likely a pop-up store once in a while or just try to sell through retail because also now more consumers and shopping online, so that is also probably where the future is and it just keeps on growing. I am also trying to lower the price as i can because i believe that sustainable fashion has to be affordable and now is quite expensive without compromising the quality or the production. is our responsibility as designers to think smart and design in a way that is easier to produce and does not cause a lot of troubles. So starting from there and than moving to all the stages of the value chain.
Yours Again see themselves more than a sustainable denim brand. They have chosen the material denim as a way to forward the message of sustainable choices in which the brand stands and care for. With small actions and few steps at the time, brands like this can indeed create a huge impact upon how the current fast fashion is harming the environment that we all live in. Every decision that a conscious consumer takes, even the smallest ones can affect positivly on the journey towards a more sustainable fashion world.