Denim brands are jumping on the environmental bandwagon and fast! In 2006 Levi’s Jeans found that making a pair of classic 501 jeans used 920 gallons of water, 400 megajoules of energy (that’s a lot) and expells 32 kilograms of carbon dioxide. What does that mean to me and you? Well Levi’s said it equals running a garden hose for 106 minutes, driving 78 miles and powering a computer for 556 hours… all for one pair of jeans.
Companies are looking at new ways to make denim as desirable yet still treat our ecosystem with love. From Jeanologia a Spanish denim development company who are making products from industrial washing machine (the G2) which uses air as opposed to traditional water and chemicals to their textile laster which will give you the same distressed and vintage looks without the chemicals that poison the environment. By combining cotton with Tencel a fiber from the eucalyptus plant water usage is reduced by up to 25%. We all love our colored denim the very dyes that make the trend so hot are toxic also! Dystar one of the largest denim suppliers is using low-impact dyes and enzymes are now being used instead of bleach.
Brands like Replay are taking quick notice of the social movement toward greener living and incorporating these techniques with their new line called “Just Add Water” which will hit stores in the fall. It was just announced that the unlikely pairing of singer Alanis Morrisette, actor/director Kevin Smith and Woody Harrelson have teamed with Reco Jeans (see thumbnails below) to launch an exclusive line of recycled denim. To raise awareness to the brand they are having a contest where you the consumer can set the price point for the jeans and will be raffling off 300 limited-edition box sets (jeans and ipod case) to those who come closest to the average bid.
Good idea? Yes. Good marketing? Yes. But with 158.5 billion gallons of water and 1.3 million tons of chemicals being used each year in the making of our favorite item of clothing, I’m hoping this is a trend that will be here to stay.