Ring of Fire To Release First Sustainable Denim Line

With a name inspired by the 1963 Johnny Cash hit of the same title, Ring of Fire clothing has been selling graphic T-shirts and denim to better department stores for 12 years. In Spring 2020, Ring of Fire, which is headquartered in Los Angeles’ Van Nuys section, plans to release its first line of sustainable denim, said Josue Gonzalez, Ring of Fire’s denim-design director.

“I wanted to see where we could lower our carbon footprint,” Gonzalez said. “I’m a vegan. I wanted to put that lifestyle into it.”

The company was started in 2007 by Eran Bitton, who continues to serve as the brand’s chief executive officer and president. Currently, 50 people work for the brand, which includes an office of designers who create graphics for the company’s T-shirts.

Scheduled for February 2020 deliveries, the new sustainable-denim line will be offered by better department stores. Designs for the collection will be guided by a spare, minimalistic look. “The branding will be the trim and the packaging,” he said. “I want to have a simple style of denim with simple washes. I want it to be accessible to our consumers and to be wearable.”

The sustainable jeans will feature burnt-orange copper stitching on the back yoke. This copper stitching also will make an appearance on the left back pocket with a simple stitch that will run across the lower end of that pocket. There is one concession to branding, however. On the left back pocket, there will be a graphic of a green drop, which stands for recycling.

Aside from these details, the garments will be defined by their fabric. Ring of Fire’s fabric supplier worked with the brand to create a proprietary material, which is made from organic cotton sourced through farmers who work with the nonprofit Better Cotton Initiative. The organic cotton is mixed with recycled Repreve fabric to provide stretch. The denim pants are finished in Jeanologia machines that reduce the amount of water used to finish the jeans. Ring of Fire denim is designed in Los Angeles, but the jeans are manufactured in Bangladesh.

The brand’s sustainable denim will have three silhouettes: classic straight, slim and skinny. Washes are a crucial part of any denim line, and Ring of Fire clothing’s sustainable collection will feature 10 individual washes: three light washes, three dark washes and four medium washes. The line’s black jeans will feature stitching that will be the same color as the fabric, a feature that will add to the jean’s design mission of simplicity, Gonzalez said. Ring of Fire also plans on releasing a sustainable line of denim for boys.

Ring of Fire is part of a wave of sustainable denim lines that has gained a foothold in the vast marketplace for jeans recently.

Levi’s has developed ways to cut water use in denim with its line of Water<Less jeans that use less water in the finishing process. Levi’s also is a founding member of the Better Cotton Initiative.

In a 2018 statement, Marshal Cohen of market researchers The NPD Group said that sustainability will become increasingly important to consumers.

“Sustainability will continue to be an important topic for consumers and the industry in the years to come,” said Cohen. “To attract consumers, particularly young adults and women, apparel brands and retailers will need to stay in touch with social-responsibility issues and educate and inform their customers with clear messaging and labeling about their sustainability efforts. Brands can’t rely on the fine print on the inside label—it needs to be woven into the ‘fabric’ of the brand.”

A 2018 NPD survey found that almost one-third of consumers say they would be willing to pay more for an apparel item that was labeled as sustainable.

The demographic segment most interested in sustainable apparel was young adults aged 18 to 34, according to the survey. Also, 33 percent of women surveyed said that they would pay more for clothing that was described as sustainable and organic compared to clothing that was not labeled as sustainable.

Ring of Fire’s sustainable denim will be introduced to the market through apparel trade shows early next year, but the company has not confirmed at which trade shows, said Patricia Thornton, the brand’s vice president of sales. To meet February 2020 deliveries, the brand will rely on orders for Immediates. Retail prices have not been set yet, but they will be priced below $100.