"Sustainability is no longer if - it is now a question of how." – stated by Hannah Jones, Chief Sustainability Officer and VP, Innovation Accelerator, Nike, at the Copenhagen Fashion Summit, 2016
The recently concluded Copenhagen Fashion Summit highlighted the initiatives being taken by large fashion and youth brands in favor of the planet because traditional fashion industry practices are resource intensive. However, a large part of the industry comprises smaller brands who will have an immense impact on the future. Hence, the “how” in Hannah Jones’ talk takes on a significant role. It calls for deliberation by the smaller players in the choices they will make in growing their businesses sustainably in the future.
The KORRA™ brand has a singular goal: that the clothes people wear everyday be designed, built and sold in a way that will make the consumptive chain future right. We believe that clothes should be beautiful – inside and out. This is because sustainability is in our DNA – it is built into the materials we use, in our approach to design, and in the manufacturing processes we follow.
Sustainable thinking begins with choosing responsibly sourced materials
Denim is at the heart of KORRA™ and we source only raw selvedge denim that is made from either organic cotton, or at the minimum, from 25% Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) content. Since they are raw, our jeans consume no water in the making process.
Metal accessories like buttons, rivets and zipper tabs are made entirely of brass. The zipper tapes are made of recycled polyester yarn.
Threads are an important part of any garment; they hold the seams together and influence the look and life of a pair of jeans. We use only 100% organic cotton threads that are sourced locally.
These choices help us contribute to ecological and social sustainability by reducing the stress on the environment as well as on the livelihoods of communities involved in production.
Sustainable design is the cornerstone of our style and construction
At KORRA™, our design and construction processes are developed around responsibly utilizing resources. Even things like the buttons and rivets have been designed to minimize the use of machines and are assembled by hand.
Working cohesively with our environment and responsibly utilizing resources sometimes also means veering away from the traditional route without compromising on what’s important. The number of stitches per inch determines the seam strength and influences longevity of a pair of denims. Since we use only 100% cotton threads that are weaker than polyester threads, we have increased the number of stitches per inch from a traditional 7-8 to 10-14 to compensate for thread strength, and this in turn gives a cleaner finish.
KORRA™ also believes in helping users make the most of their denim. Each pair of KORRA™ jeans is lined with a soft twill fabric made of 100% organic cotton that is soft to touch and does not irritate the skin. This is to make sure that the denim clothing remains comfortable for the user to wear even for long periods of time, maximizing the utility of the product.
Pockets in jeans need to be reinforced as they are meant to secure the wearer’s belongings. All our pockets are reinforced with a double layer of fabric that increases longevity and reduces the need for repairs. In the back pocket, we have incorporated leftover selvedge from the cut to minimize waste and have embedded it in our design. This, in fact, is our registered mark as well.
Sustainability begins with using less, wasting less and re-using scraps
This idea of re-use also extends to maximizing the utility value of the selvedge denim fabric. For instance, the 19 different selvedge denim parts that come together to make a pair of jeans are each cut into a different shape from a single bolt of fabric, and therefore fabric utilization is only 85%. We have designed a bag that uses the leftover denim to package and ship our jeans in. This means we also don’t invest in additional packaging. Smaller bits of scrap are cut into uniform patches that are used to make patchwork fabric for essential daily use items like bags, carpets and pouffes. The completely unusable scraps of threads and fabrics are collected from the shop floor every couple of hours and recycled into denim paper that we use for flashers for our products or invoices for our customers.
We also encourage our customers to send us their pairs for repair to help increase the lifecycle and add character to already worn pairs. This reduces the need for replacement pairs.
At the heart of KORRA™ lies a continuous commitment to creating great fitting jeans by making deliberate and considered choices. Great looking clothes are so because they look good when worn and feel good as they are made with a conscience – they are beautiful inside and out.