Lee Teams with Artistic Milliners to Create Earth-Friendly Jeans

By: Kontoor Brands News Team Aug 30, 2021 Feature Story Tags: Lee, Product, Innovation

Lee® Jeans recently joined forces with denim manufacturers Artistic Milliners to create a line of 100% recyclable jeans with a perfect fit for the planet.

Lee, a Kontoor brand known for its timeless denim style and innovation, has helped create a new offering of Cradle to Cradle® Certified jeans – a globally recognized standard for safer, more sustainable products created for the sustainably-minded circular economy.

Alongside Artistic Milliners, one of the world’s largest vertically integrated denim and apparel manufacturers, the jeans are certified at the Bronze and Gold levels and sport a selvedge (or self-finished edges of fabric) design with a contemporary, but comfortable, high-end look.

The two styles of jeans, labeled the Aureola and the Nymph, offer several fits in either a deeper, darker Indigo-hued denim or lighter denim with touches of abrasion.

Cradle to Cradle closely scrutinizes garments for inclusion in their certification, and both the Aureola (Gold-certified) and Nymph (Bronze-certified) styles meet or exceed five performance categories: Material Health, Material Reuse, Renewable Energy and Carbon Management, Water Stewardship, and Social Fairness.

“At Lee, we are focused on finding transformative pathways to design and manufacture products that minimize the impact on our planet,” said Jeff Frye, VP of Product Development, Innovation, Sustainability and Procurement, Kontoor Brands. “Achieving Cradle to Cradle Certified styles enables our consumers to wear Lee Jeans with confidence, knowing we are continuously improving the sustainability and circularity of our products with the good of people and our planet in mind.”

Additional highlights and features of this collaboration include:

  • Every component of the jeans is 100% recyclable
  • Both jeans are classic five-pocket styles made using a premium 12oz selvedge denim with comfort stretch
  • Crafted using 100% organic cotton, the fabric is dyed during a process using 58% less water than traditional dyeing processes
  • Both styles of jean are made in a facility generating 524,000 kWh of solar power per year
  • All the buttons are raw, virgin metal that have not been finished with treatments, eliminating additional, unnecessary energy consumption

During the accreditation process, a C2C accredited assessor praised Lee for partnering with Artistic Milliners, citing the team’s innovation and production of safe, circular denim and materials in order to deliver garments that meet the world’s most rigorous standards for sustainability and circularity.

The Cradle to Cradle Certified jeans align with the initiatives of Lee’s For A World That Works platform, which brings together a range of developments and innovations designed to drive sustainability across all aspects of brand activity.

Lee’s C2C Certified jeans are available from selected retail stores and online across North America and Europe.