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M&S clothing sets new sustainability standards for denim


M&S has started switching all denim to more sustainable indigo dyes including nearly 50 percent of the new range, which also uses 86 percent less water compared to the industry average for denim finishing, and 100 percent responsibly sourced cotton. M&S has brought the new sustainability features to life in its Spring/Summer marketing campaign.

M&S has launched new sustainability standards for one of its most popular hero categories – denim – as customers say responsibly made clothing is important. In a recent M&S survey (M&S customer insight from January/February 2021, 1000 respondents), 58 percent of customers agreed sustainability is a key consideration when shopping for this wardrobe staple and 75 percent are looking for jeans that are made to last.

The first M&S range to meet the new standards launched online this week across womenswear, menswear and kidswear, and all products are made of 100 percent responsibly sourced cotton, 86 percent less water, and kinder chemicals.

With M&S selling one in 10 pairs of jeans to customers across the UK, the new standards are part of its wider approach to sustainable clothing and focus on three key aspects of denim manufacturing from sourcing to finishing: the fabric, the wash, and the dye.

The fabric, always made from 100 percent sustainably sourced cotton that is soft, breathable, and hardwearing and is the core material in the denim M&S customers love.

The wash is the process that gives denim its distinctive look and ensures everyday comfort and the high-quality, long-lasting finish customers trust M&S to deliver – however it’s typically a water-intensive process. By partnering with Jeanologia, the leader in sustainable finishing technologies, M&S together with its suppliers has worked hard to address these challenges by innovating and investing in the latest technology. As a result, on average M&S jeans are now made with 86 percent less water compared to the industry standard for denim finishing.

Dyes are used to creating the popular range of denim shades, from light to dark indigo. However, as part of its new standards, M&S is committed to switching standard indigo dyes with cleaner alternatives that are kinder to people and the planet – requiring less water and chemicals to produce. Nearly 50 percent of the Spring/Summer range have been made with this lower-impact dye, M&S said on its website.

“Denim is a wardrobe staple for our customers – but we know now more than ever they want style where sustainability is built in as standard. By taking collaborative action with our denim suppliers, we can give our customers the confidence that every pair of M&S jeans they buy for the family are not only stylish, great quality, and fantastic value – but have been responsibly made too. Our new Spring/Summer denim campaign brings that trusted value promise to life across our digital channels,” said Monique Leeuwenburgh, head of Product Technology for M&S Clothing & Home.

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