Sara DeLuca, you’re the Design Maven-In-Chief, and co-founder of Dovetail Workwear. When it comes to building Dovetail products, you wear the pants around here! Tell us, what are the No Fade pants with CORDURA® that we’re here to chat about?
Get ready for the toughest, greenest, blackest women’s pants on the planet!
No Fade with CORDURA® is a capsule collection we’re bringing to Dovetailers this fall, in the Maven and Britt pant styles. It’s a global collaboration between Dovetail Workwear, the CORDURA® brand, and Artistic Milliners (a denim company from Pakistan). This is a dream come true for me, working with Cindy McNaull and Ebru Ozaydin of these two incredible companies, to bring Dovetail customers indestructible but comfortable black pants that won’t fade. Fabric is everything to us at Dovetail, but this is the first time we’ve actually co-crafted the fabric for a product. This project began with the three of us wanting to make something super special, for women first, for a change—starting with the fiber itself.
Cindy, you’re the Business Development Maven for CORDURA®, the tough threads that go into the fabric for this capsule collection. Tell us a bit about how this collab came to be.
CORDURA® and Artistic Milliners have had a longtime partnership. Over the last decade, we have engineered more than 200 different CORDURA® performance denims together. Ebru and I met Sara at a denim industry event, and were immediately excited by her vision for the toughest—but still comfortable and stylish—women’s workpant out there. There was an instant connection, and from there it was a beautiful journey of collaboration through innovation.
Ebru, you’re the Global Marketing Maven of Artistic Milliners. Can you tell us a bit about this very special fabric that your mill has woven for us?
These pants debut our Supercharged Noir CORDURA® denim. This is a black performance denim designed with “5S” technology: Softness, Strength, Stay-black color, Stretchability, and Sustainability. This fabric is truly special: luxuriously soft and stretchy, but extremely tough.
Sara, why do we need a strong black pant that won’t fade?
Anyone can and should wear our pants, but we build the most radical pieces out of need: women tell us what they want, and we go from there. No Fade with CORDURA® came from a request from our most hardcore customers, who asked for an indestructible pant. In addition, we’ve received requests for a non-fading black pant, from women who work in "back of house" jobs—as roadies, theater techs, and on film crews. We also heard from stunt women and women in the hospitality industry. When a black pant is required on the job, it hits the budget hard when that pant starts to fade and you’re looking less than professional.
Thanks to CORDURA®, No Fade Maven and Britt pant styles are four times stronger than regular cotton denim. But they also have that comfy stretch Dovetailers are addicted to plus the extra softness from the supple, eco-friendly plant-based Modal fibers in these pants. Super soft, super tough pants that breathe! What’s better than that?
Ebru, Artistic Milliners is a huge player, a true leader on the denim world stage, recognized by the UN as a pioneer in sustainability and gender equality. Dovetail is still a young, scrappy company. What’s in it for you? Why are you giving us the time of day?
Artistic Milliners is very focused on initiatives that empower women in our company, so Sara’s request truly dovetails with our values;) This collaboration also gave us real time feedback in the development of the fabric, for the first time. Sara put the prototype fabrics through their paces with her weartesters. We haven’t had a chance to directly interact with women at this stage of the process before, so that has been wonderful.Cindy, what does Dovetail bring to an American heavyweight like CORDURA®?
Innovation and durability are at the heart of what we do. We always ask ourselves, “What problem are we trying to solve?” We’re super nerdy about testing, and it was a fantastic opportunity to work with Dovetail’s varied group of professional working women to help push our fabric innovations to the next level. Our heritage is in military, outdoor, and workwear, and it was an honor and a privilege to bring our learnings in these core markets in order to help develop a new generation of women's workwear.
What’s the process of making a custom fabric?
Cindy: CORDURA® and Artistic Milliners first cooked up this special durable fabric blend with locked-in color technology to address the no fade challenge. Supercharged Noir CORDURA® Denim features a proprietary blend of durable and sustainable fibers that deliver on a “softened strength” promise.
A prototype of the Maven Slim in No Fade with CORDURA® on display at Outdoor Retailer Summer 2019.
Ebru: When Sara came to us, she really liked what we had come up with. But she wanted to tweak the fabric design to arrive at a recipe that would suit Dovetail women perfectly. We ended up with a custom fabric construction; we refer to it as “Sara.”
Sara: I was like Goldilocks! We tested close on 20 different combinations to find the perfect ratio of toughness, to softness, to weight. Not too hard, not too soft, not too heavy…
Sara, care for the planet and its people is a core value for Dovetail Workwear. How does this collab walk the talk?
Denim is historically a dirty business. But Artistic Milliners has been a sustainability leader in the industry for years, well before it became fashionable. AM is the first denim mill to develop Cradle-to-Cradle (C2C) Gold Certified Denim Fabric. And their care is holistic, extending to the people who work for them. I've been in this industry a long time and have met a lot of great suppliers. But I've never met any with this level of vision and execution. Artistic Milliners have daycare for their employees as well as for migrant and single mothers. They have programs for women's empowerment and training, adult literacy, and their initiatives include the most marginalized groups in Pakistani society, including acid burn victims.
CORDURA® walks the talk with very similar goals to Dovetail Workwear: creating high-performing fabrics that help products last longer, which in turn helps in minimizing our eco-footprint. They are doing amazing work in the area of recycled and color lock technologies and are always pushing the envelope to create innovative fibers and sustainable fabrics built to stand the test of time. Like the special high strength black fiber in the No Fade collection. This collab is a true magical moment for Dovetail. It doesn’t get better than this!
Sara, Cindy and Ebru's pronouns are she + her.