Much of fashon’s sustainability progress is focused on the ethics around and emissions of materials used. But many brands are placing just as much emphasis on minimizing the amount of excess inventory created with each collection. Often this takes the form of moving to methods like on-demand production.
But Pangaia, a brand known for its sustainable sweats and outerwear, has come up with another way to reduce waste: It aims to ensure that every pair of jeans in its month-old denim line is the perfect fit. On Nov. 11, the brand will debut a collaboration with custom denim brand Unspun. As part of the collaboration, Pangaia will be the first brand to use Unspun’s new mobile app, which lets customers take a 10-second 3D scan of their body using their phone. Doing so generates a cut pattern for a pair of jeans perfectly fitted to their body.
According to Pangaia’s denim designer Jonathan Cheung, the goal is to simply and efficiently create jeans that can fit any size or shape. It eliminates the guessing game of producing cuts ahead of orders being placed, which inevitably leads to waste and excess materials used.
“Unspun’s technology doesn’t care what gender you are, what ethnicity, what age, what body shape or what size,” Cheung said. “There’s a beautiful simplicity to it. Right from the start, we called this project ‘The Everybody Jean.’ It’s hard not to think that you’re looking at a glimpse of the future of shopping.”
A full 25% of materials that go into creating physical samples of products typically get incinerated or are otherwise rendered unusable, according to a white paper from textile tracking platform Reverse Resources. 3D technology, like the kind employed by Unspun, has become a popular tool in fashion. Brands like New Balance and Under Armour have used it to aid in the design process, while brands like Balenciaga have used such technology in developing consumer-facing experiences like digital clothes in Fortnite.
The new tech is debuting alongside Pangaia’s second denim launch. The first Pangaia denim, which debuted in October, was made from nettle, while this one is made from hemp. Unspun’s own brand of jeans and Pangaia’s jeans are priced similarly, around $200, which will remain unchanged for this collaboration.
Beth Esponnette, co-founder of Unspun, said the company only wants to partner with brands that share its core values around sizing, like Universal Standard. She said Pangaia’s combination of ethical values and focus on how technology can improve fashion was a near-perfect match.
“We feel it’s extremely fitting that Pangaia means ‘All-inclusive mother earth,’ because Unspun’s collaboration with Pangaia [delivers] both inclusivity, through custom fit, and sustainability, through zero-inventory and new-age materials,” said Esponnette.