Transcript: Redesigning Jeans and Sustainable Denim for a Circular Economy with Jordan Nodarse

SEE THE SHOW NOTES AND LISTEN AT: Redesigning Jeans and Sustainable Denim for a Circular Economy with Jordan Nodarse

Katie Whalen [00:00:05] Hi, I'm Katie Whalen and join me each week as I talk with experts around the globe about Circular economy. You'll find out what's being done to make it a reality  and if it can really solve the problems it promises. It's time for Getting in the Loop. 

[00:00:27] Hey there. It's Katie and welcome to the Getting in the Loop Podcast. If you're just tuning in for the first time, welcome. And those of you who are recurring listeners, welcome back. Today, we have a special episode for you. We're getting in the loop with Jordan Nodarse, who is the founder of Boyish J eans and a California native with a deep passion for sustainable practices in the fashion industry. Jordan launched boyish jeans after more than a decade spent learning the ins and outs of the denim industry. And before starting boyish, he was the director of denim and special projects a reformation. Launching one and a half years ago, Boys Jeans is a collection of sustainable women's denim designed in Los Angeles. Each collection is centered on vintage silhouettes with a modern update all available at an attainable price point. In this episode, Jordan and I dove into boys jeans discussing their production practices and all things circular denim. Jordan talks me through how he initially found out about Circular economy and how he aims now to set the standard for production practices with boyish jeans. This episode is a great follow up to Episode 3, where Ellen Smith's and I explored the future of circular fashion. As you will hear, Boyish has adopted many of the practices discussed in that episode. You can find episode three as well as the show notes to this episode on our website at Getting in the Loop Podcast dot com. 

[00:01:58] Before we get started with today's episode, I wanted to tell you about something awesome. If you're giving presentations related to Circular economy or if you just want to learn a little bit more about Circular economy basics, head over to slide deck Gettinginthelooppodcast.com to grab a free presentation that I've created based off of presentations that I've given over the course of the last couple of years. And what it is is you can use it as a starting point for your own presentation. So it's PowerPoint presentation. You can add or adapt your own slides into it, or you can just go through the presentation and learn a little bit more about the basics behind Circular economy. So it's 20 slides. It starts off with why we need a circular economy. What is the concept and how can we implement this in practice? And then at the end it finishes with some links to different reports and other resources so you can learn a little bit more on your own. Okay. So now onto today's podcast. 

[00:02:57] Yeah, I'm really excited to talk to you today about Boyish before we kind of dove into Boyish. Could you just share to the listeners a little bit about your background? 

Jordan Nodarse [00:03:07] Of course, you know, I go through it originally started making jeans for myself because I want to skinny jeans. This was followed around the year 2002 and everyone was wearing blue cotton, relaxed jeans. And so I started buying all Levi's jeans from the Salvation Army near my house. And it's like five dollars and cutting out the inseam and so on. I'm tattooed with my mom's sewing machine. I broke my mom's sewing machine like three or four times until I finally broke my arm. And after high school, you know, I realized that my friends were wanting me to make them some jeans and now selling them to them for more money than I was making, trying to play music with my my band that I was in at the time, you know, making 15 dollars a night or whatever it is up to split the profits. So I started studying in college like the fundamentals of business and stuff like that. And they told you, do what you do, what you're best at, what you're what you can do. Good. And so I realized that I had a thing for them. So I got into it. And then over the years, I was very fortunate to work with some great companies. You know, I was starting this brand called Girlfriend for Revolve Quilting Dot.com and then went from there to reformation, where I helped them build up many categories for their company, including jeans and T-shirts, sweatshirts and some other categories. 

[00:04:28] Then I decided to start boyish because I wanted to incorporate a little bit more of my knowledge that I had really come to experience through my corporate sustainability, as well as like this technical background of everything from the dyes to the field, the cotton fields to do a slew of different atmospheres of denim and just fashion in general that I had kind of worked up to to get to. 

[00:04:59] So, you know, I took a leap of faith and started my own company. 

Katie Whalen [00:05:03] Yeah, well, it sounds like you know a lot about denim and it sort of is like the next next natural step for now starting Boyish. Can we- before we start talking about Boyish, can you tell me the name like why? Why Boyish? 

Jordan Nodarse [00:05:23] So it's funny because for the last I think five or six years I've been making like pretty much selecting men's grade fabrics and using them for woman's jeans, something we call in the industry, rigid denim, which means good denim that doesn't have any stretch to it, which is exactly how the denim was before the late 90s and they started adding polyurethane into it to give it stretch. So in my mentality, that would mean this is what we would consider authentic denim. You know, if you go back and look at the history of jeans, you know, you go back to being a work wear sort of clothing core people that were doing tasks that needed, you know, industrial strength materials and construction to last. You know, some miners specifically a lot in the San Francisco area, the gold rush. But nonetheless, as you you know, between the 1930s to 40s, you started seeing women start to wear these jeans, but they were actually wearing the men's jeans. And so they started making cuts for specifically for women, but using the same fabrics, obviously. And so as it started to evolve all the way up until pretty much in the 90s, women were wearing the same fabric as men saying wash everything but, you know, built for their body. And so now, you know, I started seeing women over the course of the last ten years wearing men's Levi's jeans, making them look like super sexy. And so I started hearing these women to sometimes even when they're explaining them mentality of their style. I always hear this word boyish. They felt cute, like, oh, my girls like to use that word. They don't wanna use the word tomboy or manly. They like to use this word boyish. And I realize these jeans that I'm making are very boyish. So I figured, why not just name the jeans, what they are? And, you know, the perception of a boyish was was kind of unique to that feeling of going back to the authenticity of it all as everyone's going into one more stretch. And not only is it authentic denim, it's also natural because this denim was 100 percent cotton, which was 100 percent natural versus now. Paul, your thing is an oil derivative that comes from fossil fuels. And, you know, we wanted to make a little more circular denim. So it just made sense to go back to the authenticity of it all and try to incorporate a more natural product. 

Katie Whalen [00:07:44] And so it seems like you always had a plan from the get go to try to integrate more sustainability, some circularity into Boyish. 

Jordan Nodarse [00:07:56] You know, it's funny that everyone always asks, like, what's the defining moment of sustainability? You know, when did you want to start doing that? And I'm like, you know, it's funny. I don't know what the defining moment per say was. You know, I go back and look at my life as a child. My mom would buy me like RC cars and all kinds of different sort of electronic. And I'll always be taking them apart. I love taking them apart and putting them back together and always figuring out how they worked. So naturally, I think within them I got really involved with it because in L.A. I started making jeans here. And so it's able to go to the laundries in the factories. And I actually didn't go to school to learn any of this. I actually went to the factories to learn everything. So the people at the factories, the owners, the people that I've been in the industry for 20, 30 plus years, they taught me what they knew. I would ask a lot of questions. So I felt like a toddler at that time. I was always asking questions, you know, or they could kind of get annoyed in certain atmosphere. But they appreciated my passion and I appreciated their knowledge. And so with that, I naturally just started learning more and more about how genes were made and the chemicals and effort and resources that went into it. And so, you know, after the years of just building more and more, learning more and more, you know, I guess ended up at reformation and, you know, this sustainability thing that I was widely interested in, because I've always been interested in the environment. You know, I surf. So I've always been part of the ocean is part of it to me. I snowboard. I'm in the mountains. I like to hike. Being here in Southern California, I'm very connected to our land and the earth. And I wanted to figure out a way to incorporate that into what I was making. So I reformation. They didn't really know what sustainable genes were. So I kind of had to define that myself. And I suppose in that sort of mentality, when you don't really have somebody there to tell you exactly what you have to do or what what is. 

[00:09:50] You get to be able to do your own thing and kind of naturally allow everything to come together organically. And so that's where I ended up with figuring out what sustainability wasn't really where my passion came from, because the more I found out about everything, the more I realized that it is difficult in the certain realm of like you have to put more effort in. But really, what it was, was it felt somewhat. 

[00:10:13] Easy in the format of all the tools are there. I just don't think people are opening their eyes because they not really know that they need to. And that's where I think my passion started, really. The fire got bigger at that point and I got more into it. I started learning from, you know, trying to find more resources that were natural, like plant based and the goals versus petroleum based. And it goes, you know, I learned a lot about cellulosic fibers that come from wood pulp versus cotton that uses way less water than cotton because the cellulose is is from trees that have deeper roots that don't require pesticides and insecticide. And in the process of trees growing, they take carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and put oxygen in. And all these unique things that I thought. This terminology of circularity just kept coming together, you know, like the world is circular. It spins in a circular and just everything almost. I mean, look, if you go back as a kid, you remember the movie The Lion King, The Circle of Life, you know, like everything just kind of came together in this circular mentality. 

[00:11:16] And then finally, I read that book that William McDonnell wrote, Cradle to Cradle. And the whole concept of, you know, we build products that are cradle to grave, that we have nothing to do with them afterwards. We have to throw them away and end up in a landfill. And I think that's where I learned about methane gas. 

[00:11:32] And even though something may be natural in the biodegrade fast versus maybe plastic that takes forever, it doesn't matter, because what happens is there's too much that's in nothing landfills when it doesn't need to be, you know, we have these resources. We don't need to be constantly getting new, new new resources. So I looked at it. All right. Well, you know, I can use organic cotton. You know, that's an easy way to just substitute the regular coffee. But to me, it didn't feel right to use 100 percent of natural resources that are converging. When we had so much left over. So I started learning more about this circularity and how to recycle products back into it. And it's just like this. This store can keep going because that's kind of the concept of circularity as it doesn't end. It constantly brings it all back around full circle. 

Katie Whalen [00:12:19] Yeah, yeah, well, I've said I've been exploring your website and have seen some fascinating circular examples. 

[00:12:26] So maybe we could dove a little bit into your production practices and a little bit how you use reuse and recycling in in producing your genes

Jordan Nodarse [00:12:39] Definitely. I mean, with Boyish you know, I definitely came from already having a sustainable cycle of manufacturing with reformation. So with Boyish, I really wanted to make it more of an evolution than a hey, we're already perfect. 

[00:12:56] So I started with traceable cotton and recycled cotton with a reduced liquid indigo. And this combination actually doesn't cost any extra money and the combination of producing fiber fabric and versus traditional fabrics yet. 

[00:13:16] At this particular point in time, you be able to reduce your impact by 30 to 50 percent. 

[00:13:22] Better than tradition, and you're able to do this by just understanding your supply chain. So that was the thing that I realized it was wasn't about how good I am or who I am or what I can do. It was a matter about enlightenment and the format of a company means to understand its supply chain. That's the first step of sustainable manufacturing. You can't find problems for your solutions. 

[00:13:49] You have to find solutions for problems so that you can't look at your supply chain and just find things you're already doing. That might be good. You need to figure out what's going on with what you are already doing and how to improve that. And you need to look into your supply chain past your factories. This whole radical transparency movement of auditing factories that do just your cutting cut, even selling such a minimal part, it's definitely still a part of sustainability. But such a small part, maybe 10 percent of the entire supply chain. So fabric is 60 to 80 percent of the impact of an actual garment. And so that's what I realized needs to be looked at the most. So what we do is I went all the way back to the Continental itself and I realized cotton uses a lot of water, uses a lot of pesticides, uses a lot of land use, herbicides, insecticides, and even some people are using you class one, carcinogens like formaldehyde and some of their chemicals and, you know, child labor, slave labor, sex trafficking. All these things can happen to cotton fields and farming because a lot of the auditing that people are doing stops either at the factory or even then if they go farther, they stop at Jenny. And Cotton gin is like when they've already gotten the cotton at the Jenner for they're separating the seeds from the cotton. 

[00:15:07] So what's happening at the fields? You know, that's like, you know, no different than the food industry. You want to know where your food comes from, not where you're buying it from. And the farm isn't the grocery store and the farm is the farm. And there's a lot of people connected in between that. 

[00:15:24] So with Boyish we started using traceable cotton, which I realized we were using BCI, which is the better cotton initiative, which has you know, it has the fundamentals of doing something better. Maybe you can call it, you know, better than nothing. It just doesn't really have regulation. So there's not really a lot of hard proof to prove that the farmers are actually following the guidelines of BCI. And then BCI is a for profit company that seems to be asking for free memberships from everybody to get money. But then the money isn't really going into any regulation, so it doesn't really seem worth it. So with Boyish, we decided to transition into organic cotton where we then found farmers in Izmir, Turkey, where we went there to find out because also looking at organic cotton, I realized only point five percent of the cotton in the world is organic and a lot of the organic cotton people are using is not actually organic. And I tried to use the explanation of if you're going to buy organic cotton using your fabric, you're going to want transactions, receipts. There's this receipt that you can get from organizations like the Goths Global Organic Textiles Standard for oh, yes, the organic cotton standard, some textile exchange. And both of these companies will give you certificates to prove that what you are personally purchasing for your company is organic and it doesn't cost money. It's no different than if you go into a mass store or a Gucci store, Louis Vuitton, whatever you're you're gonna buy, you know, a five, ten thousand dollar purse. You're going to want an authenticity certificate to prove that that is real. I mean, what's the difference between that? Know the fakes that everybody can buy these days. And, you know, people want to know what they're buying is authentic. And so if you're a customer and you felt like, all right, I'm buying something that's sustainable, but they find out later on that's not sustainable. How are they going to feel? And on a how are they going to feel how they feel about the movement of the sustainable movement. And so with boyish, we wanted to make sure that every step that we're taking is, in fact, traceable. Transparent as well as doing what we say that it is doing. So, you know, we've transitioned our fabrics from originally the recycled cotton mixed with the traceable cotton to organic cotton, mixed with cellulosic fibers like tinsel or re fiber, which is a sort of recycled tin. So with recycled cotton. Altogether we have our new fabrics are now 17 percent organic process certified cotton, 43 percent recycled cotton and 40 percent fiber recycled tin. So we've been able to reduce our virgin content down to only 17 percent with an 83 percent recycled content, which really helps us lower impact a lot because now we're mixing that fabric with plant based indigo dyes. So it pretty much comes down to being one of the most environmentally friendly and sustainable fabrics. And that's why people often ask me why I focus so much on it on fabric. And it's because of the impact that fabric has. 

[00:18:38] You know, a lot of the microfiber plastics that are in the ocean is from the fashion world and the dying and processing of these fabrics. 

[00:18:49] At the fabric mill and dining facilities. Not at the cutting garden garment laundry facilities or the. Or even the the home laundry. A lot of it's happening in the industrial cycle. And so the more you start to look into that, more you understand it and you're able to start creating these processes with your company. And, you know, before I get too far into this, I'll let me also remind you that sustainability is not perfection. You know, as I said, I started with a BCI, which I realized wasn't really as good as what it is. But part of sustainability is identifying those problems and accepting them as they are and communicating them to customers. You know, here's where we are. Here's what we'd like to be. And that's what's really important is being goal orientated. If you're if you're progressing every year, year on year end, making it better and better, not focusing so much on year on year in profit growth, but year on year end improvements for sustainability. And you're showing your customers that. Then you're on your own, growth of profit will come afterwards. And so it's just that matter of setting those priorities and that's what we kind of realized and that's what we're trying to focus on primarily. 

Katie Whalen [00:20:06] Wow. Fascinating. Yeah. I'm I'm thinking this. In terms of being goal oriented and also trying to do to decide what to do. Like one of the things that I've learned from researching environmental impacts for a while, there's a lot of tradeoffs that you need to make in terms of deciding like what is the right choice? And yeah, I think it's quite interesting that you focus then on fact fabrics because you say like this is where a lot of the impact is coming from and then trying to incorporate recycled content and recycled fabrics into that to reduce the consumption of the primary resources is is a good start for it for that. I'm also like when I was looking at your Web site, I saw that you had been you have some products that are also like cut, cut offs. I don't know if that's like the right term that I'm using, but like the production waste, maybe you could explain that because I found that super interesting. And I think that listeners will be also interested by it. 

Jordan Nodarse [00:21:15] Yeah, I mean, going back to the fabrics that we have, we use recycled cotton a lot because I was actually you know, there's a few this there's some good resources out there. So, for instance, the Sustainable Care Coalition, they have something they published called the Higgs Index. And this is great because it's kind of a fiber judging platform to show you kind of like what fibers to use based on their impact of water use and using chemicals and energy, etc. And so at the top of that list is is is recycled and recycled. Cotton to me doesn't barely this is just a little bit of energy and that's it. And there's a lot of that out there, because every time you make a garment, Jean, T-shirt, dress, whatever, you're cutting it from a wide wall of fabric that is pretty much just a long linear rectangular atmosphere and you're cutting pieces out of it. So you're your consumption is maybe 70 to 80 percent. So what's happening to that other 20 to 30 percent? You know, sometimes people are able to industrially recycle it into like insulation or padding or some like that for cars or houses. Yeah, that's great. 

[00:22:22] But when you really look at things in the industry, you realize there's a lot of scraps when you really look at it. There's no age industrial recycling. A lot of them end up in landfill. So my concept is that if the Higgs index is designating this as one of the best fibers to use, then let's use it. 

[00:22:40] So I started off using, you know, our spinning and weaving and all of our natural equity fabric cutting wastes in the beginning. And that's how we kind of started the companies with accrued recycled waste. And we have a global jihadist, a global recycled standards certificate for that, because once again, it doesn't matter what I say or what I do, it matters whether or not what I'm doing is regulated with a certification body that can designate what our practices are in comparison to industrial standards. 

[00:23:13] So we took that to the next level with these new fabrics that we're doing by taking all of our scraps that we have on our natural Richard fabrics and being able to recycle them. So we're taking our scraps that we would have normally thrown away and we're seeing them back to the mill where they're going to then industrially recycle them through a mechanical process and then blending them back into our yarns and then creating new fabrics over them to kind of create a circular zero waste process, to kind of have a landfill diversion sort of process. 

[00:23:48] And this is important because waste is something that if you want to be sustainable. That's one of the biggest things you look at is how do we reduce our waste? Because sustainability really translates to efficiency. And so just putting environmentalism or social, you know, good to the side, only looking at sustainability in an efficiency cycle, you're looking at how do I reduce my waste? 

[00:24:17] How do I reduce the amount of water that we're using? And then doing all these things actually should save your money because the less resources, the less water, the less energy. 

[00:24:28] All those things equal less cost, less money. And if you start looking at sustainability in that format, it should be a challenge of how do I make our products more sustainable and therefore how do we make them less expensive by making them more efficient. And it's no different than imagined, say cars. 

[00:24:51] The cars originally started. They didn't have seat belts. People died in the car accidents. And then they realized they put seat belts in their bodies and children started dying. So they realized that we need to create car seats and we need to put in the backseat. And then they realized, you know. All right. 

[00:25:05] You know, people are still dying. And and look at airbags. And then sooner or later, there's always, you know, regulated. Agencies that are now judging and in grading safety on these cars. So now car companies are actually all competing for who has the safest car. And this sort of competitive atmosphere for safety made car sick. And that's the same sort of thing that needs to happen right now, especially fashion, as people start figuring out like, hey, who's the least amount of who has the least amount of waste in their manufacturing cycle or who has the more sustainable products, who uses the least amount of water? 

[00:25:41] People started competing on those platforms, obviously with with agencies there to certify that what they're doing is actually correct. That is how change happens. This is what I'm hoping that is going to happen with this sort of movement. The interest in sustainability and fashion currently. 

Katie Whalen [00:26:00] Yeah. Have you. What has been the response by the fashion industry to boyish and do you see this this movement taking place or is it kind of boyish and maybe a couple other brands like standing out, you know, out in the fields going, hey, guys, I think we need to think about this. 

Jordan Nodarse [00:26:20] I mean, it's just like, you know, once again, it's progress, not perfection. I'm going to sit here and say, we're perfect. We're not doing everything perfectly. We do. We do our best. And that's the point, is that we're not just doing our best, but we're trying to be transparent about it. And motivational about it. You know, we get people on Instagram that sometimes send us like hate messages about like, oh, you don't like volleyball? And I'll send them a detailed message back to explain to them about what we are doing. You know, what we found out in relation to what they maybe mentions, because a lot of times people are going off of just one thing that they heard from somebody else. And that's the thing about sustainability is that it's tough because there's a lot of bullshit out there. Excuse my language. And, you know, that's the thing that scares me the most, is that I know there's a lot of companies out there that are producing products of the kind sustainable that actually really harmful to the earth. You know, and there's there's brands that are using, you know, materials that used to work acid, you know, that they're purchasing these fabrics for mills that are producing these fibers that are not treating the water correctly. 

[00:27:26] Therefore, a lot of these harsh carcinogen based chemicals are going out in to the environment and giving cancer to nearby villages. 

[00:27:36] So practically, they're killing people nearby just for the benefit of some inexpensive discos or some inexpensive, you know, bamboo, which is bullshit because bamboo is just discos and people try to quote and label this environmentally friendly or sustainable. And I mean, this process goes on for a long time, considering the fact that we really talked about, you know, people try to use organic cotton but don't get it certified. And who knows if they're even using organic cotton? You know, people go into stores really fast, fashion retailers and they buy six dollars T-shirts and they are happy about it, but they don't realize what the impact of that become that price is. Know that some probably some child had to go out into the field. And if that cotton because that's the only way they can produce fiber that that inexpensively. 

Katie Whalen [00:28:27]  So if I'm it seems like we have a bit of a long way to go before before you, before others sort of meet the kind of same level or like the certification and the standards that you have been arguing for. 

Jordan Nodarse [00:28:47] I mean, this is this is a group effort. You know, I see a lot of change happening right now. So, you know, I around the world, I know several people that are all trying to educate and inspire people to do things the right way. That is difficult because like we said, there's really no regulation, no government support, no subsidies for this. And not only that, you know, sustainability is like the Wild West. If we just do whatever the fuck they want, I should know how much they can do whatever they want and then get away with it because, you know, there's nobody to sit there and discipline them. And so the only thing that people like Boyish and other companies out there can do that are doing it the right way is just inspire with with massive amounts of transparency, with telling people how they're how they're doing it, who they're using, what chemicals they're using, what factories they're using, what machines they're using, how they're doing it, what fibers. And this is the reason why, you know, on our Web site, you go on our sustainability section, we link everything to these people. You know, like the chemicals that we use mean that come from your chemical or the machine that we use from to know or, you know, everything from even our Instagram, where we're promoting more than just about what we're doing with our sustainability, but also just how to become a better consumers. How do people. Reduce their single use plastics every day. How do people, you know, learn about these fibers and things like that outside of just what we're using? You know, like even though we barely sell any products, like we have a few genes. I mean, 20 to 30 percent of our collection have stretch on it, which is made some polyurethane. And we've actually now for 20, 20. We've reduced our four. We've created a standard that now our moral code of stretches can be no more than 2 percent and all of ours are all your thing will become recycled from a company called Rocha out of Japan that's taking the industrial scraps of polyurethane and then producing these polyurethane, recycled your things, stretch your arms. And even then we barely have any of that in our collection. But we still talk a lot about micro plastic fibers shedding their clothing. We even sell the guppy bag, the guppy friend bag on a website. There's a bag that you can wash your your polyester and polish my nylon acrylic garments inside of it so that it doesn't shed these little microfiber plastics into the water streams. And you know, this is something that we've been trying to be proactive about. So we're hoping that a lot of other people see this too, and they get inspired by it and they continue to do it. And to be honest, we've we've seen a lot of in the last year, seen a lot of movement in this and this sort of area of sustainability where people are starting to educate outside of just what they're maybe doing themselves, because it's not about marketing your product. It's about marketing the movement. 

Katie Whalen [00:31:39] Yeah. Yeah. And I am really curious. Can we maybe if we can go back to something that you took we're talking about a little bit earlier, you were talking about these like the things I may notice about the the scrap, like the waste. And you also we're talking about like working with your supply chain. So has it been difficult to get your supply chain to implement these types of things? Maybe taking, for example, using the word wasted from the production, scrapped from the production and then collecting that and then recycling it? 

Jordan Nodarse [00:32:12] Yeah. No, I mean, it wasn't easy. I'll be honest with you. I meant, you know, in the process of trying to find people to increase the recycled content and actually do it the way I wanted it to do it, because at this point in time, everyone was saying, oh, we have sustainable fabrics and they're putting like reprieve, recycled plastic water bottle polyester and their RPG, which is bullshit to me. That's not there's nothing sustainable about that when you start to put it in garments that you're just going to launder and you're going to microfiber shed and the facilities that are producing that have no filtration systems that produce to prevent themselves from getting these plastics into the water. And, you know, the story around, you know, the world is with a lot of these different sort of recycled polyester yarns. A lot of them are just coming from this facility to buy new plastic water bottles instead of buying. They're using recycled because it's easier and cheaper for them. So, you know, this is what happens is this whole regulation process of everything. So with us, we just try to find people that are doing it right and that want to actually show us. What they're doing, they're not afraid of showing us what to do. It took me a long time to find these people, like I trusted a lot of people. You know, I gave them what I was looking for. I saw some people take it and turn it into their own collection and market it towards the industry as being the greenest whatever company in the world. I saw people, you know, just blindly tell me that they're going to do things and then come back and not even do it. They'll be asking for 30 to 40 percent recycled. They'll come back with twelve percent. And then I would ask them if they recycled into the war and they say, no, they want to put in the West and even though ask them to put it into work arms, which are the urns that go up and down versus the ones that go across which the left. And, you know, I just. Sooner or later, I just get tired of people trying to tell me over the most sustainable where the most sustainable yet you can't even do these small little things. And then when they do it, they charge me eight, ten dollars for a fabric. 

[00:34:01] I'm like, there's nothing sustainable about that. And I suppose that's the most difficult thing is finding partners, because there's no doubt the sustainability is going to cost you a little bit extra because there is labor that's going to go into it. There is like possibly some people are gonna have to buy new machinery and things like that. However, all these things that you're going to do will save money in the long run as soon as the equipment and these processes are learned. That's just that first step. And a lot of people are just lazy. They don't want to make that first step. So when I go to companies and I ask them, I said, would you please recycle 30 to 40 percent recycled cotton into the work yard and then die over it? So it doesn't even look like there's any recycled fibers in the garment because it doesn't matter if something sustainable. 

[00:34:49] If it looks like shit, no one's gonna buy it. 

[00:34:52] Oh, I just I'm sorry. I keep using profanity to find better words for that. 

Katie Whalen [00:34:57] But you're really passion- you're impassioned about. Right. You have a lot of passion for it. So I think you're gonna be the first explicit podcast that I have released. 

Jordan Nodarse [00:35:07] I apologize about that. I have no choice. So in I'm listening. 

[00:35:13] But nonetheless, it is difficult, but it is simple. And the format or formality of the concept, which is difficult to find people to really execute it correctly. You know, I've been at panel discussions where people have said, hey, you know, I actually have one of your companies. You know, there are several companies in this panel discussion. I have one of your companies that I want to mention who I have a T-shirt that's a hundred percent organic. And, you know, it fell apart. It felt really rough, et cetera, et cetera. You asked me particularly, you know, why. And I said, well, be honest with you. You know, organic cotton is not the easiest cotton to work with. It's a little bit dirtier. It has an oil sediment that's on it that, you know, GMO or pesticide used cotton doesn't have. And so it requires you can't shoot at the same as normal cotton. And so the people that understand how to use it and the people that are looking into this to make sure that they do things correctly, to make sure they have the best quality of the people you want to work with. And a lot of the times that's the biggest trial and error process you have to do is this is finding the right people to work with. And with me, you know, I was very focused on zero waste and circularity, but also I wanted to be able to create genes that were my customers were done wearing them. 

[00:36:27] They had something to do with them afterwards. We can recycle them cellulosic we mechanically or something because guess what? They don't have poly your thing. So if they're not stretch based yarns inside of your fabric, guess what? You can recycle them again, because as soon as you add spandex or lycra or polyurethane or whatever any any of these sort of industrial, you know, stretch yarns, they prevent you from being able to recycle them back into something again after that, except for some sort of industrial padding for insulation or whatever in the industry, which is there's too there's too much of that out there for the industry, the padding insulation industry to actually use it. They're giving them out for free that every corner. 

[00:37:12] So my whole concept is it's like, once again, circularity. 

[00:37:17] How do we create natural products that are, you know, do not require any fossil fuel based, you know, materials or dyes or anything to also, you know, being able to create a product after that product is done being used. 

Katie Whalen [00:37:33] Actually, that brings up a question that I had for you, which is so in terms of after use or maybe consumption, sort of, how have you been taking this into account right now? Do you have plans for people to hand in their jeans after they're done using them and then they can be recycled into new jeans? 

Jordan Nodarse [00:37:58] So we have a few things where if you think that we're working on. So what you're talking about is post consumer currently right now. We have it. We have an extremely profound free consumer industrially recycling process that reduces our industrial waste. And what we're doing those we're building products because we're still only a year and a half old as a company. So I imagine this norm building genes that can last. You know, I've heard stories of women passing down Levi's to their daughters because they were they were made with, you know, material that was that could last because once again, these are genes that are meant to last. And these Polly, these these, you know, plastic based fibers that everyone's putting into their garments to have stretch, you know, is actually reducing the amount of life that you're going to have, like that stretch is going to blow out eventually. You know, it's going to it's going to ripple. If it's not made well, it's just going to fall apart. And what I'm doing is building products that we feel like we can either pass down to somebody, they can be repurposed and resold, or we can take them and recycle them back into a fabric so we can do that in two different ways. We've actually partnered up with a company in Sweden called Renew Cell and we knew cells great because what they're focused on is they're focused on taking post consumer like jeans and t shirts and garments and recycle them. So. So you most likely which to me is brilliant because we've actually already started working with recycled cellulosic fibers from a company out of Austria called Lindsay. And Lindsay makes himself into cells as a label cell based fiber that comes from eucalyptus trees. And it is known around the world's most sustainable fiber because he uses one tenth the amount of water as cotton. It requires way less land use than than cotton. These are trees that are taking carbon out of the atmosphere and adding oxygen in the process of growing it. And there's no tillage in the land like you do with cotton where you do that at the end of the seven months of growing the cotton, you just tear it up and put it back in the land where then it decomposes. Even though it's adding nutrients to the land, it's also adding methane gas to the environment, which is three times more toxic than carbon dioxide that comes out of your car. And what they've now done is they've put this into their process, that they are able to reuse ninety nine point nine percent of the water and chemicals in the process. And they're only using citric acid versus the traditional cellulosic properties like this and other fibers that are using sulfuric acid and all these other harsh mineral acid based chemicals that are extremely bad for the environment. So they've been able to take this process to make it extremely efficient. And then they took it to the next level by being able to incorporate recycled scraps into that process to make it now from recycled materials. And these are the things that give me super excited because I'm like, all right, I see ingenuity here. I think people have seen that there's there's there's a material that has use, I guess you can call it one humans. Trash is another human's treasure. You know, one of the wealthiest women in China was because she started recycling all the trash that everyone was sending to China, you know, because there was a lot of used to it. You know, these things do not end up in landfills. Almost everything can be recycled. I mean, you know, even sadly, even the bad things that come out of us have some sort of use. You know, like if you look at humans, we have to poop. And, you know, our poop has, you know. And that's the thing. Is this like no different than than animal poop. You know, they use it for manure to then use for organic farming to add nutrients back to the soil. And, you know, that's important that you find ways that. Ah, maybe not quite industrially better, but you find ways to support that and that process because you know that that's the future. And, you know, we knew so still really new. And it's something that we're working on in a very small format right now. We're actually collecting genes at Selfridges in London that we're planning on recycling with Renew. So and we'll produce this fiber in Europe and then we'll make the fabric in Europe and then we'll make the jeans in Europe and then we'll send them right back to Selfridges. And so part of that cycle is that we're not taking jeans, sending them halfway around the world, making the fiber cinema halfway around the world, making that 5 percent into the mill, halfway around. You know, it's like all those times that people are moving things around so many places. That's carbon emissions that are happening. So what we've we've figured out is with circularity of recycling, there's also your supply chain. How do you make that loop as short as possible? And this is coming back to this efficiency cycle. You know, recycling is efficient. Keeping your your trip, if you go run errands, you know, you're at the grocery store. If you go to the you know, the supply hardware supply store, and I have to go by the post office and then I have to pick up my kids in school. You know, you're going to look at what time everything has been done by look at where they are strategically in your map, out your route. And people do this as human instinct every day. They're not just like, oh, let me just go drive around all day aimlessly. Nothing like I know the post office is here. The grocery stores just nearby there. And then if I go to pick up my kids at school, then I can stop by the hardware store on the way. You know, it's like they figure out how to make it the most efficient to reduce gas mileage because gas costs money, especially now that gas is more expensive. People open their minds to be like, hey, I can't just waste gas. And this is that concept that we're hoping that everybody starts to realize, hey, those scraps that you're you're throwing away, they can be reused. Obviously, they don't have just a bunch of stretch things in there. And that's the problem is a lot of people are just using all stretch fabrics these days. So hopefully people start to look at using more natural 100 percent natural fibers. 

Katie Whalen [00:43:59] Yeah, and I guess I also jumped at the conclusion to like send them to recycling. Like your jeans, to the recycling. But as you point out initially as well, there's still like so much life that's that could be left in them, like the example of Levi's and passing them down to the second generation. 

[00:44:16] And your Boyish jeans could also have that. So there's still a lot of opportunities there to not even have to do the whole dance of sending it to the recycler and then spinning new yarn and then sending it back to the store. But like to even just resell potentially just after collection or something like that and extend the useful life before it goes to recycling. So, yeah. 

Jordan Nodarse [00:44:39] And Patagonia does a great job with that. I mean, you know, that's a perfect example of progress, not perfection. You know, Patagonia has been a big leader in this industry. And, you know, they even though they use, you know, like they have some of the worst fabrics to have in the world. They have polyester fleece that every time it touches water, it just sheds thousands and thousands and tens of thousands of microfiber plastics in the water. Every time you wash it, every time it touches wash and it's like ridiculously and like even though it's recycled polyester, that's called even worse, not better. And but they do amazing things about like their transparency, their supply chain, you know, like certification processes. I mean, they're on the forefront right now of regenerative agriculture was just one of the most important things that a lot of people just look at organic cotton being, oh, it's fine, it's organic, but there's a whole other process of soil health, you know? Do you ever see that movie Interstellar with Matthew McConaughey? 

Katie Whalen [00:45:39] Yeah, I did. 

Jordan Nodarse [00:45:41] You know, I feel like not even the corn is growing anymore on earth. So we have to leave. And it's that that sort of atmosphere of creating fertile soil is because of these pesticides, these insecticides, herbicides, you know, like petroleum based fertilizers. And even then, that was just the start. But also with pillaging and in soil health, you know, you need to take care of the earth the right way naturally, you know, not with foresight, sort of integration. And, you know, like in Patagonia has been on top of that as well as like on top of the repair, you know, taking anything, repair it like I am a surfer night by wetsuits from Patagonia because they used the use a plant based rubber versus petroleum based and in whenever I like a little hole or whatever for even if there's just something I didn't like about, it's too big on the arm. Don't take it. Repair it without charging anything. And in that, it's a beautiful concept of trying to tell people that that your product is not, you know, a piece of trash. It's not meant to just be thrown around and worn and falls apart. You just throw it away because that's what it deserves. You know, this product deserves more than that. It has it has a feeling to it that you can repair and keep it. And that's what's kind of fun, especially with denim. You know, I know so many people that have that repaired the denim as it rips. And, you know, I have several jeans like that, too, that I've just repaired and repaired, repaired. And even now, I don't really wear them that much. But I still keep them because they have so much character to them from repairing them over the years to keep them alive. And, you know, I could have easily bought four or five different pairs of jeans and just throw them on away. But instead I kept them a lot. 

Katie Whalen [00:47:24] Yeah. Yeah, well, I really look forward to seeing how Boyish evolves since it's still, you know. You said one and a half years in. So I'm excited to see like what's what's in store and I'm gonna be following you guys along. I realize that we're sort of getting to our our time. So I wanted to before you go, I wanted to ask you the question that I ask all of the podcast guests that come on the Getting in the Loop Podcast. And that is about the game in the loop that I created, which is a board game that helps people to realize like maybe it makes sense to continue using materials and reusing them and recycling products rather than taking new primary materials and making products from them. So basically trying to challenge the way that we currently use our materials, but in a fun and easy to sort of understand way. And in the game there are these things called event cards and these events basically change the market conditions of what's happening in the world. And a lot of times they incentivize people to actually start to reuse their products or recycle their products or re manufacture their products. So Jordan. Jordan. Before we go. If you could create an event for the game. What kind of event do you think you would create? 

Jordan Nodarse [00:48:49] Poof. That's a tough one. I would say I would say just at the beginning of it all. You know, to get people to understand the supply chain, I would question and challenge their knowledge of the supply chain and, you know, somehow regulate that. So, you know, people have to actually publish or, you know. Yeah. I mean, everyone would have to publish this supply chain, not the factory, but the supply chain all the way down to the farms and whether the fibers are coming from and all this information is accessible by just sending e-mail to their supply chain. You know, people that are buying the fabric. People that are there making their fabrics or making the products, the people that are washing the garments or whatever it is. And, you know, at the end of the day, the people that, you know do not do that are fined heavily for whatever it is, you know, ammunition. This should be an option. This should just become a standard rule of thumb. You get to pay your taxes. Yes. You have to understand your supply chain and publish it. You know, somewhere. No, I maybe understand the fact that people don't want to, you know, publicly show who specifically they're buying their things from or who's making them. Then at least some sort of agency wise, they would have to know the content, how you have to publish your taxes. And this is important, you know, due to the fact that, you know, if you don't understand that part and there's no way that you can you can identify any problems in your supply chain. 

Katie Whalen [00:50:19] Yeah, I I really like it because I think it connects to a lot of what you've been talking about and what you believe in and what boyish is in terms of transparency and working with your supply chain. And also. Thinking in the sort of the system, like, you know, OK, so we shouldn't have these types of elastic materials in our jeans if we want to actually be able to recycle them down the line or are they shed when you start to wash them. So you're not just concerned and what happens in the production phase, but also what's going to happen during the use and what's going to happen even at the end of its lifetime. So it's been really a pleasure talking with you today, and I hope that you enjoyed coming on the podcast. 

Jordan Nodarse [00:51:06] Yes, I did very much. I love talking about this stuff, so yeah. 

[00:51:10] Yeah. And before we go, where can the listeners go to learn more about you and the topics that we discussed? 

[00:51:18] You can go to Boyish.com where we publish a lot of our information on sustainability and about page, but also on Instagram Boyish Jeans. We have a lot of information that we put on there and our highlight section, everything. Some brands that we love that are doing great things as well as, you know, just little eco tips about how to care for your garments, how to reduce single use, plastics, and also where you can find more information about our volunteer and social benefits that we do. We have a program called Called to Care where every month we get together influencers, editors, friends, all the girls that work for us. We get together, do volunteer work, whether it be beach cleanups, park cleanups, planting trees or helping out the downtown women's center. And, you know, this is a great access, a lot of information. We hope to motivate all of our followers. 

[00:52:10] So please, you can go and check that out on our Instagram and our Web site. 

[00:52:19] Thank you for listening. I hope you enjoyed this episode for show notes and links, go to our website at gettinginthelooppodcast.com. And while you're there, subscribe to our mailing list to have new episodes delivered to your inbox every Monday. See you next week. 


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About the Show

Getting In the Loop is a weekly podcast dedicated to exploring how to transform to a more circular society. Join host Katie Whalen as she examines the challenges facing our current resource use and discovers alternatives to the ‘take, make, dispose’ way of doing things. Each week she interviews circular economy experts about what they’re doing and learning. Together we'll uncover what circular economy means in practice and find out what's being done to keep our resources in a loop rather than sent to waste.