by Stephen Garner

PANGAIA has introduced its first-ever denim. The introduction of denim signals an expansion for the brand beyond its loungewear products, and also re-affirms a continued dedication to finding alternatives to overproduced, resource-intensive materials such as cotton.

Created by denim designer, Jonathan Cheung – the first drop will feature denim made from Wild Himalayan Nettle and organic cotton, sourced from India. The unique blend of materials was created in collaboration with the Candiani Denim Mill in Italy. This is the first time that selvedge denim has been made with Himalayan nettle. The new material was created as a left-hand weave, a rarity in denim – making the material softer by balancing the strength of the nettle with softness that comes from reversing the direction of the weave. The result is a denim that is both soft to the touch, highly durable, and breathable; cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Dyed using Candiani’s state-of-the-art water and dye saving process, the Himalayan nettle denim is woven, on a shuttle loom, operating at a slow speed. Due to the special nature of this denim, before sewing, the fabric undergoes a resting period that allows the yarns to settle in and relax.

“The denim jean is the most democratic, inclusive, hard-wearing, long-lasting, and culturally influential piece of clothing in all human history,” said Cheung. “No other piece of clothing has been worn for so long, by so many people and I’d argue that a simple pair of jeans is the coolest piece of clothing you can own too. Our work has been like farm-to-table, starting at the plant level to make even better, unique denim. This is just the beginning, we’re literally growing our future jeans right now”

“The future of creating a more sustainable fashion industry involves using existing natural materials, like regenerative nettle, that are augmented by scientific and technological processes,” added Dr. Amanda Parkes, chief innovation officer at PANGAIA. “The goal is to promote biodiversity and regenerative agricultural systems, while creating resilience in the supply chain by utilizing a greater variety of plants as fiber sources. We are working towards other new innovations in our denim portfolio to bring an entirely new material library into commercial reality.”

In keeping with the brand’s move towards circularity, each of its denim products will contain ‘digital passports’ that were developed in conjunction with connected products innovator EON. Powered by a QR code and cloud-hosted digital twin, the digital passports bring to life each garment’s unique journey and offer customers access to product-level impact reporting in a more interactive way. First launched with the brand’s Horizon collection, the digital passports are designed to help accelerate greater transparency, traceability, and circularity in the industry, while inspiring responsible consumer choices.

PANGAIA denim is now available for purchase on the brand’s website. The first release of Himalayan Nettle denim products will consist of pan-sex straight leg denim pants ($225) and ‘90s vintage-inspired jacket ($275), as well as a women’s high rise straight leg pant ($225), each available in both a rinse wash and mid wash. Following the initial release, PANGAIA will expand its offering with the introduction of hemp and organic cotton denim – due to be available from November 2021.