A new collaborative project shines a spotlight on the staying power of black denim. At Kingpins Amsterdam, Cone Denim, Lenzing and Unifi launched Future Black+ denim featuring Lenzing Modal branded fibers and Repreve Black recycled fibers made out of plastic bottles.

Future Black+, the industry’s first certified fade-resistant black denim, joins Cone Denim’s family of TruTone fabrics. Jeans made from Future Black+ denim contain as many as 17 recycled plastic bottles and provides softness, color retention and stretch, while minimizing the impact on the environment. Wash tests have proved that Future Black+ denim shows no sign of color loss even after more than 20 washes.

“By combining Lenzing Modal fiber with Repreve, we are able to satisfy some of the biggest consumer demands for the marketplace,” said Jay Hertwig, Unifi vice president of global brand sales and premium value-added sales.

The denim achieves its durable color by utilizing dope dyeing—an energy-saving and environmentally friendly dyeing technique that introduces the pigment during the production process. By adding the colorant during manufacturing, the entire body of the fiber is colored instead of only the surface. The technique eliminates the need for a dye bath later in the process.

“Lenzing has always been committed to sustainability and making our manufacturing process as eco-friendly as possible,” said Tricia Carey, director of global business development for denim at Lenzing. “By partnering with Cone Denim and Unifi, we were able to work with like-minded companies to create an advanced product that saves resources throughout the manufacturing process.”

Each company is doing their part to reduce the jean industry’s environmental impact. Repreve fibers are made from recycled plastic bottles by Unifi. Lenzing Modal Black has 50 to 60 percent lower environmental impact than conventional dyed fabric. Meanwhile, the Lenzing manufacturing process requires less chemical and energy inputs during manufacturing, and uses 64 percent less water during the dye process. Together, these earth-friendly fibers create a high performing, highly sustainable denim.

The collection includes three fabrics: 7700J, which is made with 41 percent Lenzing Modal and 57 percent Repreve recycled polyester and contains 17 plastic bottles; and S364J and S365J, which contains approximately six plastic bottles each.

“This collaboration elevates our commitment as a sustainability leader and denim innovator,” said Kara Nicholas, Cone Denim vice president of product design and marketing. “Color retention in black denim is an increasingly important trend for consumers and a perfect fit with our TruTone fabric story focused around black and indigo-like navy fabrics that offer supreme color retention, plus all of the added benefits of the environmental story.”

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