A praiseworthy, eco-friendly initiative to help lower our impact on our planet comes from Freitag. The Swiss company is the brainchild of graphic-designer brothers Markus and Daniel Freitag and was founded in 1993 to produce their weather-resistant bags made from discarded truck tarpaulin ("tarps").
The factory has recently come up with an innovative denim textile, named “F-ABRIC”, that is 100 % biodegradable.
Color and texture-wise, the F-ABRIC-made jeans look like their common cotton cousins. However, rather than employing those cotton denim fibers, which generally require extensive irrigation (and, more often than not, the use of insecticides and pesticides), Freitag uses a linen, hemp and modal blend.
Linen (aka “flax”) and hemp are both extracted from the Bast fibre, the plant’s inner bark, renowned for its sturdiness and thermo-regulating property. These organic fibers require smaller amounts of water and chemicals, compared to cotton. Their modal is made from cellulose, extracted from self-propagating beech trees.
Aside from denim – woven by a family-run weaving mill in Lombardy, Italy, near Milan, one of the major fashion centers in the world - Freitag has ventured into other innovative fabrics: chambray (for work shirts), broken twill (tear-proof and scrub-resistant pants), jersey (stretchable and breathable T-shirts), and herringbone (pants’ pockets). While jeans retail from the Freitag site for the same price as luxury brand versions of regular denim blues - about US$200. t's, shirts and other items also run along premium price lines, so while they're not quite accessible o all, there is hope that the considerable process pioneered by the Freitag company will find its place in fashion and filter through the fashion food chain.
For those of you daily jean-wearers wondering just how compostable the jeans are - well, every single clothing component, with the exception of the pants’ buttons, decompose within months. Pop them into your compost pile and they'll transition into fertile soil for new raw materials - and may the cycle continue.
For more on how the jeans came to be, check out the official YouTube video below:
Images from the Freitag website.