The idea of Xiro Atlantic Denim came together four years ago when three individuals hailing from Spain realised they shared a common concern for the way they were consuming. Xulián Chapela, one of the cofounders explains.
‘We were learning more and more about the exciting world of organic agriculture, cooperatives, fabrics and the history of textiles both in our community and abroad.’
Choosing to dress responsibly had limited options in Spain, and so their discussions ignited a desire to contribute to more ethical options.
As one of the most common garments globally, the founders channelled their energy into denim.
Approximately 96% of us own at least one pair of jeans, although most people own six pairs. In the USA alone, 60% of the workforce wears jeans to work at least four days a week (source: statisticbrain.com/denim-jeans-industry-statistics).
This unique denim brand first sourced their fabric from European intermediaries who were supplying GOTS certified denim that guarantees high environmental and social standards. However the founders were concerned that their materials were being passed through many hands, and worried that transparency in the supply chain could be lost.
‘We decided the best way to guarantee the whole supply chain was to find our own good, trustworthy people to make our fabric locally.’
The founders began visiting textile projects and fabric factories, and meeting producers personally. Today, Xiro Atlantic Denim chooses all its suppliers within local proximity - one being a GOTS certified factory in northern Italy that they buy from directly.
Rather than just stopping at the fabric, the brand looked at all the components needed for the finished product.
“It took us ages to search for the little details, such as zippers using organic cotton tape, nickel-free buttons, recycled cardboard labels. But we did it.”
After fabric sourcing was resolved, the brand turned to manufacture. They changed clothing manufacturing workshops three times due to issues of transparency. Today they also manufacture locally in their region, so that they can be in control of the entire production – including the cutting and tailoring – to ensure that working conditions are fair and beneficial to the employees.
Xiro Atlantic Denim proudly has a ‘Made in Galicia’ stamp to every pair of its jeans. Galicia, located in the northwest of Spain and lapping up the Atlantic Ocean, has an extraordinary and longstanding tradition for textiles, and has always been known for its autonomous roots. In recent decades, one of the large companies monopolized the clothing manufacturing industry here, which came with poor factory and labour standards.
All the local factory workers were abandoned when this same global company decided to offshore its production. With highly equipped textiles professionals who already had the experience and belief in quality and autonomy, it was absolutely logical for the brand to make its clothes in Galicia.
‘While we are a small brand, it is difficult for us to verify that our factories are ethical, but I am sure that we would comply with GOTS standards if we went through certification. As an alternative, we make videos of our production and manufacturing process, so that our customers can directly see for themselves who is making their jeans.’
Xiro Atlantic Denim sticks to just a few styles – from lightweight comfortable jeans, midweight warmer jeans that have the benefit of fading beautifully over time, and other lighter denims for summer wear and shirts.
The bestselling pair of the brand’s collection is the Rodas Raw Denim Slim Fit, which is the first product that the company launched. They were surprised by this, as it is a hard and rigid type of jeans, but the founders quickly realized that this was part of its appeal.
“We don’t make fashion. We do make clothes. We design timeless garments using fabric that will always be available.”
The tradition of jeans has always used indigo colouring, which is one of the oldest natural dyes ever used and known to ancient civilizations. In fact, the oldest indigo dyed garment found was in Peru and is over 6,000 years old! Indigo has always been used for denim as its dark shade is good at hiding dirt.
The founders’ love the fact their synthetic indigo is a low impact dye. With its higher absorption rates, it requires less energy and water to make the denim. The brand also uses a local ecologically certified ozone technology to create its washed jeans.
‘We always encourage people to give what we call raw care to jeans, by being considerate of how you take care of them them. Jeans are personal and can become a second skin, but a durable one if washed correctly.’
In the not-too-distant future, the collection will expand to offering denim fabric patches, so that you can fix any tears in your jeans, and continually give them a new lease of life, just like the early denim wearing labourers once did. For the brand, this is an important way to educate their customers about an alternative way of consuming, by respecting existing resources.
‘Who knows, you might be able to extend the life of your jeans for centuries!’
While the brand has grown solely on word of mouth alone by local networks of considerate consumers, you can expect to see Xiro Atlantic Denim extending its reach to European retailers soon, as it continues to perfect its collection.
Watch out for a special collection coming soon, that is inspired by the Atlantic Ocean!