Jean Hegedus, Sustainability Director for The LYCRA Company, has been named to the 2020 Rivet 50 list of the most influential leaders in the global denim industry. Compiled by nominations and more than 12,000 votes submitted by denim industry professionals, Rivet 50 recognizes executives, designers, retailers, influencers and supply chain leaders who are driving the sector’s innovation, sustainability and creativity evolution. Over the course of more than 35 years with the company, Hegedus has held a variety of positions in public affairs, marketing, licensing and branding. She also has helped bring several notable denim innovations and new patents to market during her tenure with the company, including LYCRA® XFIT, LYCRA® dualFX®, LYCRA® BEAUTY and LYCRA® EcoMade technologies. In her current role, which she assumed in July 2019, she oversees the company’s Planet Agenda sustainability platform encompassing corporate responsibility, manufacturing excellence and product sustainability.
“Jean’s transition from leading our denim segment to Director of Sustainability was seamless as she has already been for years a key ambassador of our Planet Agenda framework,” said Julien Born, Chief Commercial Officer. “She is recognized today by Rivet as an innovator and changemaker. By engaging our customers and other industry partners, particularly in the area of circularity, Jean is working to enhance our mutual sustainability journeys. Under her leadership, more brands and retailers are collaborating with The LYCRA Company in support of their own sustainability efforts.” Hegedus cites three core sustainability priorities for the denim industry in the post-COVID era.
“We need to focus on the science and the real environmental impact,” she said in an interview with Sourcing Journal. “We need to really think about how do we make and use fiber, fabric and garments with the least possible impact. The second aspect is that the people in companies producing these materials need to be treated fairly and ethically, and I think the industry has made a lot of progress in that area. Finally, I think we have to help promote the benefits of sustainable offerings to consumers. We see that once the consumer is aware of the impact, that’s really what tends to change behavior.”
For every challenge COVID-19 has presented, Hegedus adds, there is an opportunity – from using technology to speed collaboration with customers and reduce travel costs and carbon footprints, to addressing shifting shopper behaviors.
“At The LYCRA Company, we’re seeing in some early research that consumers are becoming more concerned than ever about sustainability and about being more mindful about what they’re purchasing,” she said. “We’re seeing a trend in wanting to invest in fewer but higher-quality garments that last longer and it is an opportunity because it offers brands and retailers the chance to engender consumer loyalty and also helps the industry reduce its footprint, which is something we absolutely have to address. If there’s a positive thing to come out of this, I think that it’s that the consumer is becoming more aware, more thoughtful and more mindful about what they are buying.”
Among this year’s honorees were also a number of customers and collaborators of The LYCRA Company, including: Amy Wang of Advanced Denim, Vivian Wang, Managing Director of the Kingpins Denim Show, Silvia Rancani, founder of the Denim Window, Kara Nicholas of Elevate Textiles (Cone Denim), Fatih Konukoglu of ISKO, Safdar Shah of Rajby Textiles and Sevgin Sicim of C&A. Congratulations to these very deserving individuals and all of the other honorees for their many contributions to the denim industry.