From the new Maje HQ – in the 18th-century environs of the Louvre Museum in Paris – Artistic Director Judith Milgrom has started the process of combating climate change in the chicest way possible. “We started thinking of how to be more sustainable, and it appeared urgent and obvious to start with one of the most wasteful production processes in fashion: denim,” Judith tells Grazia.
The result? First Stone, billed as a sustainable capsule collection of denim to mark the first step to Maje taking a more ethical approach towards eco-friendly fashion. The collections uses new stone-wash techniques which reduce the use of water by up to 95 per cent, energy savings of up to 79 per cent and up to half the chemicals. Judith adds, “Technological advancements like laser printing onto the textiles and ageing denim with natural gases has made large strides in this production process. That’s not perfect,” she acknowledges, “but it’s a start – our first stone.”
Happily, Maje isn’t alone in this endeavour. Having launched its first Conscious Collection made from sustainable materials such as organic cotton and recycled polyester in 2010, H&M continues to innovate by incorporating recycled brass, recycled zinc and fibres partly made from waste cotton into the range. Mango’s sustainability goal is for 50 per cent of the cotton used in its collections to be sustainable by 2022, while Zara pledges its entire collections will be sustainable by 2025.
And Maje doesn’t plan to stop any time soon. “Sustainable denim is our first step, and more will follow,” promises Judith. “It’s been very well received so far, our customer likes the idea we’re making efforts to become more and more sustainable, and that we’ll follow up on the next steps. We’ve already started offering items made of recycled wool, eco-friendly viscose and organic cotton in our collection, and we are engaged in rising the proportion of eco-friendly products in the coming seasons.”
By Summer 2020, to be precise, Maje promises that 100 per cent of its denim will be ecologically friendly and 70 per cent of T-shirts in the collection will be made from organic cotton. A partnership with the pre-loved and pre-worn online resale platform Vestiaire Collective has also been announced, and transport and packaging are also under review.
To celebrate the launch of First Stone, Maje has enlisted three eco-conscious creatives to help spread the word. Artist, writer and holistic nutritionist Bianca Valle is a self-styled wellness militant who believes that self-care and self-love is how you can save the planet. Founder of Rowse Beauty, Nuria Val’s mission is to connect people to their environment with her range of 100 per cent plant-based products. Finally, model Michaela Thomsen founded Thomsen Beauty with her sister because, in her own words, “To be honest, I was tired of the big groups who use [man-made] chemicals as ingredients, so I decided to create my own beauty brand. If I can take care of me and the planet at the same time, it’s perfect!”
Maje.com asks shoppers to share the steps they’re making towards sustainability on Instagram, so it’s only fair to ask Judith about hers. “I try to avoid plastic as much as I can, I do my best not to waste energy. I try to keep travel by plane to a minimum, and I recycle as much waste as possible.”
And Judith’s advice to Grazia readers who, like Maje, are seeking to take their first steps towards sustainability? “I would recommend taking action to reduce your consumption of energy and [harmful] chemicals,” she suggests, but declines to dictate. “Any first step you take is in the right direction.”