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DL1961 taps influencers for new sheer denim labeling project – Sourcing Journal

DL1961 rethinks traditional labeling to fight against greenwashing.

On Wednesday, the vertically integrated brand for men, women and children introduced the Digital Tag Project, a QR code inside the waistband of its jeans that allows consumers to access information about the journey of the garment, from the fiber to the finished garment. The code shares exactly how much of each resource (water, energy, and recycled materials) was used in production.

The sheer tool launched with Ella Jean, a vintage ultra-high straight cut created in partnership with Ella Richards, British model and granddaughter of Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards.

The family-owned Artistic Denim Mills (ADM) of DL1961 in Karachi, Pakistan is key to providing this level of transparency to consumers. By overseeing the entire manufacturing process under one roof, the brand says it can be responsible every step of the way for every pair of jeans. ADM also uses Jeanologia’s Environmental Impact Measurement (EIM) software to monitor the environmental impact of garment finishing processes in an efficient and economically viable manner.

ADM’s recent investment in Recover, a certified and traceable recycled cotton fiber, adds another layer of responsibility. In February, DL1961 introduced its first jeans made with the sustainable fiber.

Ella Jean’s digital label reveals that with 20% recycled cotton fibers, only 4.99 gallons of water and 0.63 kWh of energy were used during the manufacturing process. By comparison, the brand reports that a typical pair of jeans is made with around 1,500 gallons of water. However, DL1961 uses less than 8 gallons on average.

The jeans, which come in faded black and light blue, are available on DL1961’s website and sell for $209. A second pair of jeans with the QR code will be launched in the fall.

The digital label project is DL1961’s response to consumers’ post-pandemic shift towards more personal and conscious shopping. “Where a lot of people buy vintage and then tailor their jeans as a durable, customizable option, we wanted to take personalization to the next level,” said Sarah Ahmed, co-founder and chief creative officer of DL1961, adding that the Sharing measurable data for the end user should be part of this experience.

The Ella jeans are the first in a series of custom garments created for the Digital Tag Project by DL1961 in partnership with influencers, models, editors and environmental activists. Each participant met with the DL1961 design team for a personalization experience that involved trial-and-error on fit, fabric, wash, hardware, and other personalization details. Their preferences were then sent to the brand factory where each resource metric was tracked, recorded and entered into an individual website accessible via the digital tag.

Jean Ella

Contributors include content creators Sarah Corbett Winder, Noor Pahlavi and Natalie Suarez, stylist and sustainability consultant Mary Fellowes, Elle fashion director Alex White and many more.

Transparency is at the heart of several DL1961 initiatives. The brand recently wrapped up an exhibition at Frieze London from May 26-28 that explored its denim-making process. The immersive “Indigo” exhibit included five areas covering life on the factory floor, a “fiber forest” that featured Recover and Tencel, and a photo gallery of campaign images with Richards. An accompanying magazine gives a deeper insight into the processes.

“By presenting the raw materials broken down in this way, customers can get a true sense of the texture, density and feel of denim in its early days,” Ahmed said.

The exhibit also included models wearing custom garments commissioned by Ukrainian denim designer Ksenia Schnaider, fine art painter Marko Ristic, costume designer Timothy Gibbons and the brand’s in-house design team.

“The exhibition represents the global effort of denim designers, manufacturers and innovators,” she added. “It’s amazing how everyone involved pushed the envelope and was so passionate about every detail to bring every element of this exhibit to life. We are very lucky.