OVAM Toon navigatie menu

Winners Henry Van de Velde Ecodesign by OVAM

Tuesday 29 January 2019

Discover the winners of the Henry Van de Velde Award category Ecodesign by OVAM.

HNST jeans collection & ESG GREEN


Radically different jeans

The innovative, sustainable HNST jeans collection is the result of the collaboration between a creative start-up and many other partners. In an initial phase there was the extraordinary collaboration with textile company European Spinning Group (ESG) that produces textile yarns for different markets and applications. Both partners had previously chosen for open innovation, co-creation and circular design as a business model. The ESG Green yarn used for weaving the HNST jeans collection symbolises this new “design thinking” in classical sectors. 

The jury found the collaboration between ESG and HNST worthy of a Henry van de Velde Award as a positive and inspiring signal that the entire value chain is important in the design process and that co-creation and collaboration between the creative sector, the social economy, the local textile industry and partners in education and research pays off in all areas.

ESG Green - Voorbeeld van circulaire economie

Met ondermeer deze samenwerking wil ESG een voorbeeld zijn voor andere bedrijven en andere industrieën om dergelijke opportuniteiten te omarmen. Productiebedrijven kunnen leren van ontwerpers en start-ups, en omgekeerd.

De ESG Green garencollectie ligt aan de bakermat van circulaire eindproducten van industriële bedrijven, start-ups en van grotere ecologisch bewuste modeketens.

ESG Green - Example of circular economy

With this collaboration, amongst other things, ESG wants to set an example for other companies and other industries in embracing such opportunities. Production companies can learn from designers and start-ups, and vice versa.

The ESG Green yarn collection lies at the roots of circular end products of industrial companies, start-ups and of larger ecologically conscious fashion chains. 

HNST Jeans collection - The most sustainable jeans in the world

The production of the HNST jeans had to be transparent and take place in the EU and entirely in accordance with the rules of the circular economy.

HNST knocked on the door at ItalDenim (Italy) with the request to weave a cloth combining the ESG Green yarn as weft with a warp yarn from ItalDenim itself. After extensive testing, the ideal yarn thickness for the woven fabric was achieved. The innovative dyeing process for the yarn at ItalDenim is another important part in which no harmful chemicals or heavy metals are used and where the indigo is fixed in the yarn with a natural substance instead of with a synthetic fixative as is usually the case.

With this cloth, HNST developed a circular product. The team designed and has had self-removable and reusable buttons produced, uses embroidered rivets instead of the typical metal ones, and opted for a back pocket label made of jacron based on cellulose instead of (synthetic) leather and has reinforced the crotch to prevent tearing of the product in the groin area. In the finishing step, the washing of the jeans, together with RGT they analysed all washing recipes down to the fabric level to re-evaluate them and to come up with new recipes in which no harmful substances are used. The screen print on the inner pockets is done with an ink that is PVC-free.

But that is not enough to become the most sustainable jeans. Because maintenance accounts for 25% of the total environmental impact, HNST launched the Morning After Spray, a probiotic spray that refreshes jeans completely naturally without the use of chemicals or the need to put them in the washing machine. Because they see this as part of the product design, the customer receives the spray when purchasing the jeans.

To close the chain, the purchase price includes a guarantee, that customers receive back as a discount when they buy a new pair of HNST jeans, if they return the old jeans. This then gives HNST another opportunity to valorise the jeans to the highest possible quality together with partners from the social economy.

In March 2018, HNST launched its first jeans collection, consisting of eight different jeans models. The intention is that every year a new collection campaign for old clothes will be launched in order to harvest the ‘urban fibres’ for the new collection.