A person wearing grey gloves putting jeans into a green machine with a piece of denim fabric on top.

Covering an icon in denim to be more sustainable

The love for denim will probably never go out of style. Yet from a sustainability perspective, most jeans produced end up in landfills. That’s why IKEA is now joining hands with the Dutch denim brand MUD Jeans, creating a limited-edition KLIPPAN sofa cover using an innovative method that gives new life to both sofas and worn-out jeans.

Seeing value in waste is deeply embedded in the DNA of IKEA. This is also one of the reasons why a lot of work and effort goes into exploring new ways of creating materials. And not just new ways – better ways.

“At IKEA, we are transforming into a circular business, using only renewable and recycled materials by 2030, doing everything we can to ensure that materials and products last longer,” says Piotr Jakubiak, Deployment Leader at IKEA.

A blue dyeing bath inside a machine, with hundreds of fine threads running into it.

Portrait of a man in blue-grey plaid shirt.

Piotr Jakubiak, Deployment Leader at IKEA.

In Europe, approximately 500 million pairs of jeans are sold every year. On average, each European has seven pairs of jeans, and two out of them are never worn. After use, most jeans end up in landfills or are incinerated. Less than 1 per cent is re-used into new garments.

“MUD Jeans is a very innovative brand that wants to move the denim industry in a positive direction. We felt like they would be the perfect partner for us to collaborate with,” says Piotr.

Denim-fabric cuttings being fed into a machine, with thick blue denim dust around the opening.

His desire to give textiles a second life comes from a very personal experience.

“When traveling in parts of the world where landfills are common, I witnessed huge landfills of discarded clothes being burnt, polluting the environment and health of the people living there. It’s an awful image, and it’s an image that sticks with you,” he says.

So why was the KLIPPAN sofa the chosen product for this collaboration?

“Not only is KLIPPAN one of the most iconic products we have here at IKEA, with its modern, boxy shape that makes it a perfect match for this denim cover which is a bit rigid. It fits like a glove!” says Piotr.

A man in a blue jacket surrounded by piles of worn-out jeans, with piled-up bundles of more jeans in the background.

Steam rising up from a large machine with hundreds of fine blue threads running through it.

Bert van Son, the founder of MUD Jeans.

Each new KLIPPAN sofa cover will contain 40 per cent of post-consumer recycled denim, the equivalent of two pairs of worn-out jeans. Comparing to make the sofa cover with industry standard denim method, each cover saves 27,000 litres of water and reduces carbon footprint with 67 per cent.

Fluffy balls of shredded denim threads on a white surface.

Spools of white thread inside a machine, with the threads running horizontally through it.

IKEA has learned a lot from this project – learnings that will be applied in future product development to reach the circularity goals set for 2030.

“My belief is that in the near future, customers will be able to bring their discarded IKEA textile products and we at IKEA can give them new life – closing the loop. We will continue to join forces with our partners to test and learn, as we cannot complete this business transformation on our own. That’s why these collaborations are so important to us. Sustainable products should be affordable for everyone, and we want to invite our customers to be part of that journey,” says Piotr.

Cylindrical containers under a large green machine; blue threads are fed into the machine from each container.

A sofa with a denim cover, with a spool of blue thread, a pair of jeans and balled-up denim cuttings.

The limited-edition KLIPPAN sofa cover will be sold in nine markets, including the Netherlands, Germany, UK, Ireland, Austria, Switzerland, Belgium, France and Italy. Please refer to the local IKEA team for the sales start date in each market.