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Last Updated: 2018.10.25

Fast Retailing Group Develops Innovative Washing Process for Jeans to Cut Water Usage by up to 99%

New Technology to be Used by All Fast Retailing Group Brands by 2020

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The Fast Retailing Group ("FR Group") today announces that it has developed a new washing process for jeans that reduces water usage by up to 99%, with an average of more than 90%*1. The technology was originated at the Fast Retailing Jeans Innovation Center, the Group's facility for jeans research and development in Los Angeles, California, and has been adopted from the 2018 Fall/Winter season UNIQLO Men's Regular Fit Jeans and J BRAND Sustainable Capsule Collection. In 2019 a total of 10 million pairs of jeans from the two brands, the equivalent of almost one-third of the Group's annual production quantity, will be manufactured with this process.

The latest innovation combines advanced washing equipment utilizing nanobubbles and ozone with the skills of expert jeans designers, to greatly reduce the amount of water in the washing process compared to conventional production methods, while still ensuring high quality and design. It was by incorporating this technique that UNIQLO successfully reduced the amount of water used in the washing process of its Men's Regular Fit Jeans by up to 99%, with an average of more than 90%.

FR Group brands plan to manufacture 40 million jeans in total during 2020. Assuming the new technology will be introduced in the production process of all these jeans, it could reduce approximately 3.7 billion liters of water, equivalent to filling around 1,500 international regulation swimming pools*2 compared to the conventional method. In addition, the pumice typically used in the washing process has been replaced with artificial stone that can be used semi-permanently, helping to reduce water pollution. The burden on workers has also been lightened with the introduction of lasers to replace the labor-intensive scraping process that has traditionally been done by hand.

Masaaki Matsubara, Director of the Jeans Innovation Center, said, "We believe that jeans manufactured not only with a focus on design and comfort, but under conditions that are environmentally friendly and protect the rights of the workers involved in the production process, are truly good products, and that pursing such jeans production will lead to a brighter future. We will utilize the technical capabilities and economies of scale of the Fast Retailing Group to contribute to the realization of a sustainable society."

An announcement with details of the new technology is planned for early 2019.

*1: For the 2018 model UNIQLO Men's Regular Fit Jeans, compared to the same products from 2017.
*2: Calculation based on the percentage rate of reduction from UNIQLO's Men's Regular Fit Jeans. Standard length of an international regulation swimming pool is 50 meters, with 10 lanes of 2.5 meters each and a depth of 2.0 meters, for a total volume of 2.5 million liters.

Jeans Innovation Center

The Jeans Innovation Center is a specialized facility for jeans research and development, established by Fast Retailing in Los Angeles, California, in November 2016. The facility brings together jeans specialists from throughout the FR Group, who develop jeans utilizing innovative technologies and materials, while also adhering to tradition.

UNIQLO Men's Regular Fit Jeans

UNIQLO is producing its Men's Regular Fit Jeans using technology to reduce water usage from the 2018 fall/winter season. These jeans are made with 100% cotton denim from world-leading denim manufacturer Kaihara, based on vintage jeans styles. The 100% cotton gives these jeans a classic denim feel. The fit is relaxed at the hip with a straight leg cut, allowing them to be smartly worn by everyone. The price in Japan is ¥3,990 (plus tax).

J BRAND Sustainable Capsule Collection

J BRAND, a contemporary jeans brand centered on premium denim originating from Los Angeles, is utilizing this latest technology for its Sustainable Capsule Collection line from the 2018 fall/winter season. The Sustainable Capsule Collection is made with recycled cotton and other eco-friendly raw materials, and is knitted in factories powered by renewable and high-efficiency energy. The collection comprises four women's styles, and six men's. The price range is US$228 to $398.


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