My passion for design is evident in every product I create, from carpets to men’s fashion. My products also reflect my passion for the environment. In my Spring 2009 men’s line I launched Rhedux, clothing with a fresh look, a trimmer silhouette, and an environmental conscience. Here is a quick look at Rhedux, and how I am working to adopt environmentally sensitive practices in everything I make.
One area that has always intrigued me is the amount of sample materials, including yarns and fabrics, that mills produce and inadvertently throw away. All mills create sample yarns and yardage to market to designers. Some of these materials, often of the highest quality, may be too expensive for their intended audience, or may not meet designers’ aesthetic needs for that season. In this case, these high-end materials end up in the trash.
For years, I dreamed of a way to collect and harness these materials. Just think—a literal gold mine of fabric was going to waste at mills all over the world! Finally, in 2008, I made an extended tour of many of my factories. I identified a number of truly luxurious fabrics that were being stored in research labs, purchased them at a good price, and worked with my design team to make them look more like me.
For example, here is Crescendo. The reclaimed fabric was a soft seersucker with simple grey and white stripes. While the texture was intriguing, the fabric needed more color and depth. I designed a blue print to sit on top. The print is digital, which uses less wash water than a regular screen print, and also has an unlimited color palette. The resulting shirt has a sophisticated interplay of color, texture, and pattern.
I am now using digital printing in ways no one has ever done before. In Fall 2009, I am introducing Jhane Barnes Digital, a line of engineered digital garments! While I love the freedom to design with millions of colors, I also love the fact that I am helping to reduce water wastage.
Another recent development is the introduction of shirts made in India, where printing and dyeing is done by hand. The dyeing and printing use less wash water than a screen print produced at an industrial mill. This is just one more way I am choosing to partner with mills who are sensitive to the environment.