hnst jeans

The New Hall Of Fail Chapter

HNST is taking its responsible and sustainable approach as a brand very seriously. Therefore they published #halloffail on their website. With Hall of Fail, they highlight the next steps they’re working on at the moment to make HNST better and better each day. This feels like a logical step for them as transparency is the key driver that can counter greenwashing.

As they claim themself, ‘’we’re not perfect, but at least we’re honest.’’ The brand is constantly searching and experimenting with new techniques to make its pairs of jeans the most eco-friendly. But, they know that some points still need some extra attention. So, they showcase their challenges, failures, and learnings as a denim company. With Hall of Fail, they also hope to inspire and encourage others in the industry as well.

Stuck Between The Zipper

To ensure HNST’s comfort and an elegant fit, all their women’s fits have a zip fly. Adding a zipper means they’re adding a synthetic material to their cellulose-based jeans, which has to be cut out before recycling. An extra step they would rather drop in the future.

When sourcing the zippers, they searched for the best solution, ending up with a zipper including a polyester tape made from recycled PET. They continue to look for all possible sustainability upgrades to make sure the extra step of cutting out the zipper won’t be necessary anymore in the future.

hnst hall of failure

Limited Chlorine Use

The fashion industry has a chemical problem, to say the least. HNST doesn’t want to contribute to that and that’s why they avoid harmful chemicals at all costs. For their ReBlack™ and Undyed styles, they succeeded 100%. Unfortunately, they’re obliged to use a tiny bit of chlorine in their lighter blue jeans, to give them the desired bright blue color. The small portion that they’re using is limited to the absolute minimum, using 95% less than conventional jeans. But HNST would rather not, so they continue to look for solutions to solve this issue.

hnst hall of failure

Pushing The Buttons

For jeans to be fully recyclable, it has to consist of 100% cotton. That means HNST jeans are made without polyester stretch and metal rivets. Plus, you have to be able to easily unscrew the buttons. The downside is that on some occasions, this could result in the unwanted loosening of the buttons as well. The R&D team of HNST is currently looking into ways to make the buttons more sturdy, but they like to think recyclability is more important than losing buttons.

hnst hall of failure

Taking It Stitch By Stitch

Traditional jeans are contributing to the plastic soup. With the use of synthetic fibers and plastic coatings, traditional jeans can contain between 5 to 15 grams of (micro)plastics, which can end up in our waters when being washed.

Having eliminated plastic fibers and coatings from the HNST jeans they wanted to go one step further and work with a natural stitching yarn to sew their jeans together. It turns out, however, that plastic is stronger than nature as the alternative doesn’t offer enough strength. Quality and longevity are essential to the brand, pushing them to work with an alternative stitching yarn from recycled PET.

In the meantime, they will be working with researchers to quantify the impact in terms of microplastics. Their partners indicate this will be negligible, but they want to be 100% sure.

hnst hall of failure

Any Suggestions?

If you have any suggestions to fasten the HNST sustainable denim journey, please feel free to reach them out here as they’re always open for a chat.

Written by Wouter Munnichs
I'm the founder of Long John. Next to running this daily magazine, I'm working as a freelance denim specialist for the industry. Titled as 'Denim Influencer 2020' by Rivet 50. Celebrated my 10th anniversary with Long John in 2021.