09.10.2015

Destination Denim

Jack & Jones take us on their jeans journey

Jeans are the backbone of Jack & Jones and with millions made every year they use a lot of denim. Denim is mainly made from cotton; a fragile and fluffy staple fibre grown on a plant that is turned into a sturdy hardwearing textile.

Cotton is by far the most important raw material for jeans production. The road from fuzzy to fashion is long and the cotton goes through numerous steps before it is ready to be used for clothes.

Being a natural fibre, cotton grows in bolls on plants in vast fields. Cotton farming requires warmth, sun, and moderate rainfall. These requirements are perfectly met in places like India, Egypt, and the southern states of the US. 

The cotton bolls are picked with a machine that removes the crop without damaging the plant. Once picked and collected, the cotton goes through the ginning process. Sharp discs split the seeds from the fibres and the cleaned cotton is then packed in bales and shipped off for further processing.

At the denim mill, cotton from different countries with various features, such as strength or fibre length, is mixed to make sure the final product has the desired qualities that the designers are looking for. The cotton bales are put through a cotton opening machine which pulls and elongates the fibres.

Before the fibres start taking shape, they go through a process called carding. Tiny teeth on a big rolling cylinder catch one fibre each, aligning each fibre and cleaning it once more. Then, in the spinning phase, the ropes of cotton, called slivers, are stretched, twisted, and spun to make the fibres stronger and ultimately form yarn. For stretch denim, elastane and sometimes polyester are mixed with the cotton in the spinning step.

Now, the cotton yarn is ready for the warping phase where an immense web of yarns is rolled onto enormous balls.

The yarn is then dipped in vats of indigo dye to give it the signature blue colour. Once the yarn leaves the vat, it goes through the so-called oxidation process; it turns from a greenish colour to its original indigo blue. The higher the number of dips the darker the colour of the denim will be.

Advanced technology and automated looms have replaced mechanical looms and made weaving easier and faster, and has reduced defects created in the process. Most Jack & Jones denim is made on these “wide looms,” but they also do selvedge denim, which is made on vintage-style narrow shuttle looms.

The vertical, indigo dyed blue yarn, known as the warp, is woven together with the horizontal, white yarn, which is called the weft. To make the denim stronger and stiffer, and to make the yarn able to withstand the stress of weaving, it is dipped in a starchy substance.

Once woven, the denim is pre-shrunk, through the sanforization process, to make sure that it does not shrink later on once the garment is washed. To give the denim a smoother texture and a more visible weave, it passes over a controlled flame at the speed of 80/100 metres per minute, burning the surface fibres. This is known as singeing.

After thorough quality control, the finished fabric is marked and graded and put on large rolls. Now the denim is ready to go from automated machines to the creative hands at the sewing phase.

Turning fuzzy white cotton into a sturdy blue fabric is a complicated procudre. But, while weaving denim is an almost completely automated process, the stitching step is where craftmanship really starts to matter.

Stitching a pair of jeans involves a lot of teamwork; it requires many hands, eyes, and creative minds working together. The jeans pass through various stitching stations and the job carried out at each station is equally crucial for the final result; a handcrafted pair of Jack & Jones jeans.

 Before the seamstresses can start churning out awesome jeans, they need to know which pieces go together.

That’s where the pattern maker enters the stage. Not only will the pattern help seamstresses distinguish the fronts from the backs, it also determines the fit of the jeans.

Once a pattern is developed and approved by the Jeans Intelligence Studio, it will be printed on paper and placed on as many as sixty layers of fabric. Then, the pattern cutter uses a jigsaw-like cutting machine to cut out all the pieces. There is absolutely no room for errors – a wrong turn with the saw can’t be undone.

Once the denim is cut into pieces of legs, pockets, waistbands and so on, the sewing can begin. A generic pair of five-pocket jeans consists of around 20 individual pieces of fabric and it takes around 15 minutes to sew them together. If the jeans have special design features such as extra pockets, there will be more pieces and the sewing will take a little longer.

Most of the stitching is done manually on sewing machines in assembly lines. Despite being optimised by technology, the stitching process is rooted in dexterity; it requires great hand and eye coordination, but you better believe that the seamstresses know what they are doing – and that they’re fast at it!

When the jeans are stitched, they go through thorough controls to make sure that they meet quality standards. The stitched raw jeans are packed according to style and are sent off to the laundries to be washed and treated.

The last stage comprises washing and laundry treatments. Denim only really comes to life when it’s faded. This happens naturally when you wear it. However, getting a good fade can take years. Luckily, modern treatment processes makes it possible to speed up the process, and with innovative technologies and old-fashioned craftsmanship Jack & Jones have become experts in recreating authentically worn in jeans.

The natural fade can be replicated in many ways. Depending on the desired outcome, they work with a number of different treatments. Each pair can go through as many as 16 different manual operations.

For local fades, a bleaching agent can be applied with brush or spray. The process requires meticulousness and is repeated until the perfect result is achieved. One of the most recognisable treatments is the moustache effect on the thighs of the jeans. These characteristic lines, also known as whiskers, are normally made with sandpaper or laser.

To recreate the naturally worn in look in their jeans, Jack & Jones replicate the 3D-effect of the natural creases. A waxy fluid substance called resin is applied to the jeans to keep creases formed on mannequins in place. The jeans go through a large, industrial oven at 160°C which hardens the resin.

Even though the processes may be the same, no two jeans will look alike in the end; that’s the beauty of it all! The jeans have been given their signature looks and the only things missing are the very last touch. This is added during the trimming and finishing step where the remaining patches, buttons, and hangtags are attached and the jeans are packed in boxes.

All that's left for you to do is select and then slip into a pair. 

What are you waiting for?