Ellen MacArthur Foundation publishes insights from The Jeans Redesign after working with some of biggest names in fashion


Working with some of the biggest names in fashion to create jeans fit for a circular economy, the Ellen MacArthur Foundation has published The Jeans Redesign: Insights from the first two years

To date, participants of The Jeans Redesign have put more than half a million pairs of circular jeans on the market, meeting minimum requirements for durability, traceability, and recyclability, while using safe materials and processes. Although the number of circular jeans makes up just a small part of the total market, the insights gained can go a long way in informing bold action towards creating more products in this way.  

The Jeans Redesign: Insights from the first two years reveals the barriers, solutions and innovation gaps faced by the 72 brands, retailers, garment manufacturers, fabric mills and laundries signed up to The Jeans Redesign’s common guidelines and definitions

Throughout the first two years of the ongoing project, some criteria were consistently reported as being among the toughest requirements for participants to meet. They include identifying and sourcing cellulose-based fibres produced in nature positive ways, hardware solutions that prohibit conventional electroplating – a technique that generates hazardous waste, zippers that can be removed and reused or recycled without losing fabric, and limiting non-cellulose based fibres to 2% or less to ensure recyclability, while still delivering styles and comfort that appeals to customers (including jeans with stretch).

Laura Balmond, Make Fashion Circular Lead, at the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, said: “The Jeans Redesign supports organisations to build the confidence to explore and learn about how to use circular economy principles to put products on the market. The collective challenges and solutions identified made it clear where investment and innovation are needed. The Jeans Redesign demonstrates it is possible to create garments fit for a circular economy and now the concept has been proven, there’s no reason to delay progress. We call on industry and government to build on this growing momentum to rapidly transition to a circular economy for fashion at scale.”  

To build on the momentum of The Jeans Redesign, the Ellen MacArthur Foundation calls on:

  1. All businesses in the fashion industry to take bold action to adopt circular economy principles today
  2. All businesses – including collectors, sorters, and recyclers to collaborate and innovate to overcome barriers to a circular economy for fashion
  3. All businesses and policymakers to align on definitions and parameters for regenerative production and sourcing, and put in place enabling mechanisms to support the production of materials that have nature-positive outcomes
  4. Policymakers to create the enabling conditions for the circular economy to emerge at scale in the fashion industry, building on a set of common policy goals