TODAY'S GREEN MANTRA: I wish to invest in my wardrobe, humanity and the planet on which I live. Therefore, when my jeans rip, I commit to getting them repaired, and when they need replacing, I commit to finding a sustainable solution.
Day 17 / 365
Jeans, my friends, are one basic that can't be effed with. They've gotta be perfect and they've gotta last. It wasn't long ago that, apart from second hand or vintage shopping, the eco jeans opens were slim and aesthetically unappealing. Now, there's so much cleverness it is almost inexcusable to ignore.
You and I both know that F21, H&M, Aritzia and the rest of the fast fashion pack make shit jeans. We also both know that properly made Denim is tough as shit, that's why we're still finding Levi's made before we were born kickin' it in the second hand store. Sh*t jeans just aren't made to last, they're harmful to the environment and intended to break so you rush back on a whim to replace them. But the main issue isn't even the end of life intentions of fast or slow fashion, the main issues lay with the production process:
- THE PROBLEMS -
It takes 1,800 gallons of water to grow enough cotton to make one pair of jeans. It then takes 10,855 litres of water to produce one pair of fast fashion jeans, and that water, if mixed with toxic dyes, harms the health of the planet and its inhabitants (including us!) Levi's recently made a step forward in editing the jeans industry habits by 100,000 pairs of jeans with 100 percent recycled water which mean they saved 12 million litres of water in that production.
There are too many toxic petroleum based chemicals in the conventional dye used in jeans. This harms the health of the workers making your jeans, and eventually, harms your health as well, as you ingest the chemicals through your skin when you're wearing them (your kids too). It also creates corrosive, environmentally unfriendly wastewater. There is, however, a plant based option called Indigo (cool story from NPR on indigo HERE) which has been used for centuries to colour fabrics blue. If you're gonna buy new jeans, make sure they're dyed naturally so your .
Properly made Denim is tough as shit, that's why we're still finding Levi's made before we were born kickin' it in the goodwill store. They won't end up in the landfill unless you buy them cheap and dirty. If the material comes from the earth (and isn't dyed with chemicals), it can head right back there when they do finally break down. There are quite a few companies upcycling old denim into new contemporary styles which are linked in below!
As we talked about yesterday, no one wants to be strolling around in slave labour jeans, not a good way to brighten ones day. If you're buying jeans make sure the company who is selling them tells you a little something about who made them and assures you they're made sweatshop free in a healthy environment where workers are paid fair wages.
- SOLUTIONS -
Elizabeth from the THE NOTEPASSER wrote a great piece with an extensive list on eco + ethical jeans on her blog HERE. I chose a few of my favourites from her collection of conscious creations to share with you as sustainable switch options for when your s*tty ones inevitably rip (and can't be repaired):
[BUY SECOND HAND]
ANYWHERE AND EVERYWHERE: This is always the most eco option, buying what is already in existence. If they've already been made, the resources have already been used and any damage has been done. If you can find Vintage items, which were likely produced more ethically and sustainably than items of our era, it is even better.
[GET YOUR JEANS REPAIRED]
DENIM THERAPY: repairs jeans with their amazing bespoke process.
[BUY UPCYCLED JEANS]
RE/DONE: is one of my favourite concepts. There are so many great vintage jeans out there, but often the fit is a little off or too dated. RE/DONE takes Levi’s vintage denim apart at the seams and repurposes the fabric into new modern-fitting jeans. "RE/DONE is a movement - a movement to restore individuality to the luxury fashion space, a movement to keep heritage brands relevant, and a movement to create sustainable fashion." Quantities are limited and pairs are one-of-a-kind — sign up for their newsletter to get early access to new styles.
TRAIDREMADE X ALEXNOBLE 2015 The UK’s leading fashion reuse charity TRAID is currently showcasing a new sustainable fashion collection for Traidremade: ‘Rights of Massive’, designed by Alex Noble. Founded in 2002, Traidremade launched to create sustainable clothes using upcycling and customization techniques to keep clothes from being thrown away. The Alex Noble collection includes a hand-painted and bleached denim collection. Profits raised from the sale of this collection will buy birth certificates for children of garment industry workers in Bangladesh, meaning the children will be recognised as citizens and can receive medical treatment and enroll in school.
[LEASE YOUR JEANS]
From Elizabeth + The Site:
One of the coolest things about this brand is their lease philosophy. From the site:
We are a Dutch denim brand that dreams of a world in which there is no such thing as waste. What if we all clean up our own mess? This simple thought led us to a new way of thinking. Send your jeans back when you don’t wear them any longer. We reuse all materials, while you can switch to a new pair. Returned jeans are upcycled and transformed into one-of-a-kind vintage pieces. Or, when they are beyond repair, the jeans are recycled into new items. This is how we create our own circle of denim products.
[BUY ECO JEANS]
HOWIE'S is a small active clothing company based in West Wales. Their denim is made to last; it's made from organic cotton, triple stitched, with chain stitched hems, and unbleached waistbands.
The IOU Project is a study in the creation of a Prosperity Chain; an experiment to rethink how goods are produced and sold in a way that benefits everyone and protects the environment. Read more about their unique, handmade, traceable apparel here. They have jeans, among other items, and the site is incredibly interesting to peruse.
We started the organic revolution as being the first brand to produce organic jeans, and we still are. We want to be innovative in many ways, not only in our collections, but also on a sustainable level. Embracing the principle of the recycling process and aiming for a completely closed-loop collection. We're happy to see that we raised the bar for many companies around us and hope to inspire many more to come. Read more about their corporate responsibility, sustainable concepts, and who makes their clothes.
Level 99 produces only women's jeans with an emphasis on femininity and trends. Even if their styles are trendy, their materials are long-lasting and sustainable. Most of their products contain Tencel or Modal made from sustainability harvested trees in a closed-loop process. They were pioneers of water-free and laser technology, using techniques like ozone chambers and low compression lasers to replicate the look of ‘washed’ jeans without water or chemicals. Level 99 also works with TerraPass on carbon off-setting the shipment of their product.
Swedish brand Nudie Jeans' website is informative, with sections like "How to Break-In a Pair of Dry Jeans," and encourages few washes, repair, reuse, and recycling. Select Nudie Jeans stores around the world will repair your worn in Nudie Jeans for free, or you can order a repair kit. Check out their detailed production guide for information on producers, audits, materials, and transport. I'm very impressed with the transparency of this brand and, hallelujah, they come in larger and longer unisex sizes and fits.
[WANT TO SEE MORE OPTIONS AND IDEAS?]
Click through to the original article Elizabeth from NOTE PASSER wrote HERE.
photos: Shane Woodward