LOUISIANA – A new US$50m denim mill which aims to drive greater standards in sustainability will open next year. Denim brand Wrangler is among initial customers of Vidalia Denim which has secured funding to produce yarns and fabrics for the North American market. Housed at a 900,000 square foot facility in Vidalia, LA, the heart of the cotton-producing region of the Mississippi Delta, Vidalia Denim will employ more than 300 full-time workers and, claim its developers, aims to set the standard for sustainability, quality, and range flexibility in North America. Vidalia Denim Mills will begin full commercial operations during the first quarter of 2019.
Vidalia Denim will use e3 sustainable cotton exclusively in its operations, the first such operation in the world to do so. Further, Vidalia Denim will source its cotton from across the US farm belt from various farmers enrolled in the e3 sustainable cotton programme. Additionally, denim brand, Wrangler, is in discussion with Vidalia Denim about the development of fabrics for its 2019 product collection.
Among other things, the mill will be utilising next generation indigo dye technology enabling it to use less water and manage its power usage more efficiently than – it is claimed – any other denim mill in North America. “This environmentally friendly chemistry and technology allows for filtration and reuse of process water reducing total water usage by more than 60 per cent of a legacy mill. Discharge water will exceed US and EU standards for clean water discharge,” said a note from Vidalia.
In making the announcement, Dan Feibus, CEO of Vidalia Denim, said he greatly “appreciated the help and support of the US Department of Agriculture and the Small Business Administration in helping to make the facility a reality.”
Feibus continued: “We are also excited to be part of the Vidalia/Natchez community. We know that we will be able to draw from a pool of highly motivated associates and look forward to creating an excellent work environment and being part of this great community.”
“This is a significant development for e3 and marks a watershed moment for our programme as for the first time a textile mill will use our program as its exclusive source of cotton,” said Malin Westfall, US cotton business lead of FiberMax and Stoneville Brands. “By utilising e3 cotton, Vidalia will offer its customers complete transparency of leading grower sustainability practices,” he added.
Roian Atwood, director of sustainability for Wrangler, an initial customer of Vidalia. “This mill is pushing the standards for sustainability denim fabric in North America. At Wrangler, we are excited about the opportunity to work with Dan and his team and the e3 cotton growers committed to sustainable agriculture practices to produce good-looking denim that utilises innovative manufacturing methods.”