Paying extra for jeans that look like they're worn out might not be everyone's cup of tea, but if it's yours, then you may welcome the following news. Levi Strauss & Co. has announced its new Project F.L.X. (future-led execution) program, intended to streamline and simplify the jean-"finishing" process – using lasers.
Currently, worn and faded elements are added to Levi's jeans by hand, in an 18 to 20-step process that allows each worker to finish approximately two to three pairs of jeans per hour. The process also involves the application of thousands of chemicals, which aren't necessarily good for workers or the environment.
Working with project partner Jeanologia, however, Levi's has developed a new three-step system in which all the faded and worn bits are initially mapped out on a computer image of the jeans, and then physically added to the garments by lasers. The process can finish a pair of jeans in just 90 seconds (followed by a final wash cycle), and reportedly eliminates the need for many of the chemicals – ultimately the company hopes to get the number still required down to a few dozen.
Additionally, Levi's states that the technology should allow it to drastically reduce the amount of lead time needed when introducing new designs to the market, going from approximately six months down to a matter of weeks or even days. Digital files of finishing patterns can be sent to factories right before manufacturing begins, plus custom on-demand finishing is also possible.
The system is currently being phased in, with a full roll-out planned to be complete by 2020. There is no word on how it may affect jean prices, or factory employee numbers.
For more information on Project F.L.X., check out the following video.
Source: Levi Strauss & Co.
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