A custom-made pair of jeans called Cleopatra’s Jeans has been revealed in Amsterdam. This visual statement sends a message to the denim and fashion industries: ‘Let’s work together to find innovative solutions to make textile waste history. Let’s make fashion’s future waste-free’.
The jeans were presented at a launch event at the Fashion for Good Museum, a museum dedicated to sustainable fashion in Amsterdam. During the event denim expert Mariette Hoitink, of the House of Denim Foundation, and the fashion industry leaders of the future from Amsterdam Fashion Institute discussed textile waste and possible solutions.
Cleopatra’s Jeans is an attention-grabbing example of how tech can solve the sizing issues behind clothing wastage. They may look like a ‘normal’ pair of jeans, but these were tailored to the long-deceased Egyptian queen. Through cutting-edge 3D scanning, plus historical and genetic research to calculate the timeless style icon’s body shape, these jeans demonstrate the possibility of creating a perfect fit for anyone in the world. As a call to arms, these jeans pave the way for a future where every order can be tailored perfectly to the customer – meaning no returns, and no waste.
Mariette Hoitink, founder House of Denim Foundation, comments: “Fashion has a challenge with waste, we all know that. We should buy less and more consciously. The fashion and denim industries are working hard to address this – but technology will be the crucial factor that makes the difference in the race against waste.”
Every year, 85% of all textiles are thrown away (UNECE, 2018). A huge proportion of these are from returned clothing purchases, single-handedly creating 2.3 billion kilograms of waste and 15 million tonnes of carbon annually, in the US alone (Optoro, 2019). Much of this ends up in landfill, not to mention the excessive energy, carbon and water use caused by the wasted production. This is particularly true when it comes to denim, which is sadly one of the most polluting fabrics to produce.
One of the biggest contributing factors to these huge quantities of waste is badly fitting clothes from e-commerce. A recent Wunderman Thompson report showed 69% of fashion spending is now online. More than half of e-commerce customers knowingly over-order (Pitney Bowes, 2019), and roughly 72% of American shoppers returned badly fitting items over the 2018 holiday period (Bodyblock AI, 2019). A huge proportion of returns are then destroyed, piling fuel on the fire of the fashion industry’s wastage crisis.
But what if technology could create a perfect fit for anyone in the world?
That would mean no badly fitting clothes, no returns, no waste. Enter Cleopatra’s Jeans, a collaboration between creative agency Wunderman Thompson’s Hong Kong and Amsterdam offices and Taiwan’s TG3D, a tech company whose 3D technology scans any kind of body shape to produce tailor-made designs at high definition. Together they are asking brands to consider how technology can design a better future to help minimise textile waste.
The makers behind Cleopatra’s Jeans have a simple, yet urgent message for the fashion industry: ‘Let’s work together to find innovative solutions to make textile waste history. Let’s make fashion’s future waste-free’.
According to Carlos Camacho , Executive Creative Director at Wunderman Thompson Amsterdam: “Using innovation to make a pair of jeans for someone that died thousands of years before jeans were even invented is not only awesome, but also shows how body scanning can play a role in making a more sustainable fashion industry.”
The aim is to show that it’s possible to design the perfect jeans for anyone, anywhere, any size – so why not set the bar high? To ask the industry to think of the future, a character from the past is brought back: Cleopatra, arguably the most famous female in history. But how do you design a pair of jeans for a woman who lived several millennia ago?
The challenge was met through combining many months of historical research with data collection: by measuring hundreds of contemporary Coptic Egyptian women – who closely resemble the ancient queen, according to historical archives and genetic data. Through this, the body measurement data for Cleopatra was calculated – and then used to design and produce a perfectly fitted pair of denims, specifically tailored for the Egyptian queen.
Bas Korsten, Global Chief Creative Officer, Wunderman Thompson: “As an innovative creative agency, our mission is to bring creativity, technology and humanity together. And we’re interested in creating campaigns or statements that explore the intersection of those three domains. Cleopatra’s Jeans is just that: a provocative statement and an inspiring conversation starter – a symbol for how technology can drive us towards a zero-waste future. I’m already looking forward to seeing Napoleon’s jeans, Joan of Arc’s jeans and of course Mozart’s jeans.”
Cleopatra’s Jeans will be displayed at key locations where the fashion industry intersects consumers.
Watch the film showing how Cleopatra’s Jeans were made here
Watch the reportage from the unveiling of Cleopatra’s Jeans here