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History/Process - Acid Washed Jeans

Definition of Stonewashed Blue Jeans Source: thefreedictionary.com 
stone·wash  (stōn′wôsh′)

tr.v. stone·washed, stone·wash·ing, stone·wash·esTo wash (garments or material, usually denim) in large industrial machines with pumice pebbles to soften and abrade the material by friction.

Stone Washing Source: wikipedia.org

Stonewashed jeans are jeans that have been treated to produce a faded, worn appearance. This is usually accomplished either by washing the jeans with pumice in a rotating drum, or also by using chemicals to create the appearance without the use of a rotating drum. The expanding cost of importing pumice stone from Italy, Greece and Turkey lead to extensive mining of pumice deposits in California, and Arizona and New Mexico, triggering a negative response from U.S. ecologist groups. Reducing pumice usage and the growing disposal of its chemically tainted residue, triggered a search for novel methods, notably the use of alternative abrading materials or machines and the use of cellulase enzymes. Stonewashed jeans were a popular 1970s fashion trend, before commercial acid wash denim was introduced in the 1980s. In the 2000s, stonewashed jeans were heavily distressed, with pre-made holes, frayed edges and extensive fading caused by sandblasting.

Claude Blankiet with American Garment Finishers from Texas promoted the use of cellulase enzymes in the finishing industry. Cellulase was already used in the paper pulp, food processing industry and currently in the fermentation of biomass for biofuel production. Cellulase is produced primarily by fungi, bacteria and protozoan that catalyze the hydrolysis of cellulose. Since the enzyme decomposes cellulose fibers this enhanced the characteristic appearance that the jeans have been abraded with stones (and eliminated or considerably reduced the usage of natural pumice stones). Selecting the most suitable type of enzyme and their application for ageing jeans was the key to success. American Garment Finishers used a new cellulolytic agent patented in 1991 by Novo Nordisk from Denmark because of its safer effect on cotton fiber. Other finishers used an acid side Trichoderma fungi enzyme, cheaper and faster acting, but resulting in excessive fabric tear and a back lash because jeans pockets were lifting off. 


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