hnst jeans

Designed in Antwerp, Produced in Europe

HNST is a young, contemporary jeans brand that aims to set new standards in the fashion industry. HNST jeans are stylish, timeless and extra comfortable. On top of that, they are produced in a fully circular way. With a clear focus on sustainability and recyclability, they’re saving 6,639 liters of water compared to a conventional pair of jeans.

HNST creates perfected essentials with high-end finishes, while being fully sustainable. You can look at HNST as your go-to brand whenever in need of staple pieces, foundations of your closet, building blocks you can rely on. The brand makes no compromises on sustainability, style and quality.

When buying a pair of HNST jeans, you can be rest assured: there are no unnecessary chemicals, plastic fibers or extra labels involved. From a social perspective, the brand makes no compromises when talking about issues like unethical labor practices. HNST communicates in an honest and transparent way about their products and production process, hoping to inspire other brands to do the same.

hnst jeans

Timeless and Comfortable Denim Styles

The HNST collection includes must-have styles in several washes for both men and women. The NOOS collection serves timeless, well-thought-out fits that will last a lifetime, in style, quality and comfort. The brand argues all styles need to fit perfectly. After all, they are here to last a very long time.

Several additional styles and colors are planned, but HNST will not launch them according to traditional fashion seasons. HNST doesn’t go along with fast fashion. Instead, they work with a NOOS collection, dropping new styles whenever the time is right. HNST is timeless in every way.

hnst jeans

hnst jeans

The Five Key Elements of a Pair of HNST Jeans

It may sound shocking, but less than 1% of the textiles used to produce clothing is recycled into new garments. This lack of textile-to-textile recycling has various reasons. Most of the garments today are not designed with recycling in mind. In most cases, mixed fabrics and the upper part of a pair of jeans create obstacles. Metal rivets, buttons, zippers and polyester labels lead to material losses of up to 30%.

How does HNST solve these design mistakes?

    • Unscrewable buttons guarantee longevity and recyclability. They’re replaceable whenever necessary and can be easily removed at the end-of-life.
    • Plastic free fabric and coating stand in line with the brand’s circular philosophy, fighting against the use of microplastics.
    • Using embroidered rivets instead of metal rivets ensures less material loss when recycled. Jeans containing metal rivets have up to 30% material loss when being recycled.
    • The cellulose based back patch is made of FSC® and OEKO-TEX® certified Jacron paper, instead of synthetic or animal leather.
    • No unnecessary, polyester labels are used on the jeans. All necessary information is printed on the inside of the pockets with GOTS-certified and PVC-free ink.

      hnst jeans

How HNST Approaches Recycled Denim

At HNST, jeans are produced with minimal impact on people and the planet. That means they save old jeans from landfill and recycle them into new cotton fibers. This process takes place in Germany. Afterwards, these cotton fibers are blended with Tencel® in Belgium and spun into HNST yarns. These yarns are then taken to Italy, where they are weaved into a high-quality denim fabric. The sewing of the garments happens in Portugal.

In the end, each pair of HNST jeans contain 56% of recycled cotton, 23% of Greek cotton and 21% of Tencel®. As a result, they only require 361 liters of water per pair. This means HNST jeans reduce water consumption by 95%, compared to conventional jeans.

hnst jeans

An Insight of the Production Process

The first step of production is collecting old pairs of jeans via their unique harvest campaigns. Their first campaign started in 2017 with De Kringwinkel. At this point, they collected around 17,000 pairs of worn-out jeans. Ready to reuse in future collections.

The next step is the sorting of the jeans and doing quality control. About half is of good quality and is donated to people in need. A small part is too dirty and unusable, since it would pollute their recycling process with chemicals. This small part will be downcycled, while the biggest part is ready for the recycling process.

In Germany, the HNST jeans recycling partner has developed a state-of-the-art technique that removes all hard parts and labels first. After this process, they carefully shred the jeans into fibers through mechanical recycling.

In the spinning process, recycled cotton fiber lengths are too short to create a fabric consisting of 100% recycled fibers. To attain good quality properties, ESG blends the recycled denim fibers with Tencel®. Tencel® is a low-impact lyocell fiber made from sustainably harvested eucalyptus wood by the Austrian company Lenzing.

To prepare for spinning the fibers are first carded and sometimes combed. Carding is a mechanical process that disentangles, cleans, and intermixes fibers to produce a continuous web. Subsequently, combing removes fibers that are too short by means of a rotating ring or rectilinear row of steel pins. The weft yarns for the HNST collection are made out of 50% recycled old denim (cotton) and 50% Tencel®.

The next phase of the production process is yarn preparation. To properly weave denim fabric, yarns have to be pre-treated. Normally, this is done by using low-cost Poly Vinyl Alcohol (PVA). The residues of PVA are microplastics being released during industrial and domestic washing. Instead of PVA, they use a film made of industrial vegetable waste to protect the yarn during processing and to favor its bonding.

For the dyeing process, the Italian denim mill Pure Denim uses a patented technology named Smart-Indigo. This is an electrochemical process using considerably fewer resources than conventional methods. Only relying on electricity, water, indigo pigment, and caustic soda, this method requires 6 times less energy leading to a 10 times lower carbon footprint (for the dyeing process).

The Smart-Indigo solution is the most sustainable way to dye denim because it completely skips the use of chemicals, causes zero environmental burdens and health hazards, and only discharges oxygen.

The final step in production is to weave denim fabrics. The HNST jeans denim mill partner Pure Denim has been on a journey towards ecology for over 12 years. With their experience, the brand is able to create recycled warp yarn. Their warp yarn consists of 60% pre-consumer recycled denim (fabric waste from pattern cutting) and 40% Greek cotton (non-GMO). Combining 60% of Pure Denim’s warp yarn with 40% of the HNST weft yarn, consisting of 50% post-consumer recycled denim and 50% Tencel®, lead to the creation of the HNST fabric containing 56% recycled denim, 23% Greek cotton, and 21% Tencel®.

hnst jeans

hnst jeans

hnst jeans

hnst jeans

hnst jeans

Closing the Loop

HNST offers their customers a € 15,- discount on their next purchase, if they bring in a pair of worn out jeans. This motivates the customer to bring back old pairs of jeans, so HNST can give them new life. This way, HNST closes the loop by making their brand 100% circular.

hnst jeans

hnst jeans

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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.