Denim Head: Eric Goldstein Champions Nearshoring
Denim Head is Rivet’s discussion series with voices in the industry to get their take on the innovations, brands and designers shaping the future of denim.
From conceptualizing collections for Gap in its heyday to launching his own label Jean Shop and helping Louisiana-based Vidalia Mills find its footing, Eric Goldstein’s diverse denim career has prepared him for his newest ventures.
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Goldstein brings that knowledge to Kaltex America, the Mexican vertical denim manufacturer. He became the company’s executive vice president, apparel in April.
Here, Goldstein shares how automation and working closer to home are linked to scaling sustainability.
Rivet: What has been the biggest contribution to sustainable denim?
Eric Goldstein: Nearshoring is a huge contributor to making denim sustainable. Reducing the travel distance from fiber to end user and bringing production to this hemisphere definitely helps to reduce the carbon footprint. Responsible material sourcing is also a big part of sustainability, and reusing pre-consumer cotton waste. I also think that ozone treatments in garments and fabric have come a long way and they are at a point now that it is really having a positive impact on reducing chemistry and water usage in the process while producing a great-looking jean.
Rivet: What is the most inspiring technology or collection that you’ve seen recently?
EG: I am really inspired when I see a laser apply abrasion on panels, and then see that same laser cutting fabric. It’s great for small quantities and very inspiring technology. There are also some new indigo dyeing techniques that are very inspiring that should be commercial soon.
Rivet: What lessons has the pandemic taught the industry?
EG: The supply chain is extremely fragile. When one link in the chain has a problem, it affects the entire chain and as we all know there are many links in the traditional supply chain. Everything needs to work as planned to get the customer a first quality product on time that looks and fits as expected.
Rivet: What is your personal philosophy on shopping and caring for your denim?
EG: Buy quality and wear them often but only wash when necessary. Mending is better than ending. Jeans can be repaired and brought back to life for years if they are repaired properly.
Rivet: Which part of denim manufacturing needs more innovation, and why?
EG: I think sewing automation is becoming more important as many brands want to bring production closer to the customer. There is a big demand for automation to keep cost down and have consistent quality.
Rivet: What was your last denim purchase?
EG: Jeans from Blackthorn Denim. It’s an amazing new brand that just launched.
Rivet: Describe the jean of the future.
EG: I think the jeans of the future will be very similar to the jeans on the market today, but I think that many changes will continue to be made in the supply chain including brands going direct to the farmer to source cotton.