Levi jeans are a timeless classic. Since 1873, the jeans have gone through quite an evolution. The most recent incarnation of the blue jeans is waterless.
A leader in sustainability for decades, Levi Strauss & Co. has taken the next step to reduce water consumption in its manufacturing. The label “waterless” may be a little misleading, as there it still quite a bit of water going in to the garment production – beginning in the cotton fields. Levi is working on that too, as a member of the Better Cotton Initiative, a coalition of textile firms and retailers that seeks to reduce the environmental impacts of cotton and better support farmers. The initiative is testing out new methods of irrigation in cotton farming. In a 3-year study of farms in India, farmers’ profits were 20% higher using the new sustainable methods.
The new stonewashed jeans are still stone-washed, just without water. In the video below, you can see them actually being put in a big spinning machine full of stones.
Is it enough that fashion designers have the intention of being sustainable? Well, no. But does it make a difference? Is it a step in the right direction? Usually.
There are a lot of factors to consider when making clothing, and a lot of steps along the way for things to go wrong. Designers have to keep track of the environmental and human costs of their products from harvesting the cotton or producing the synthetic to manufacturing, shipping and retail. Inevitably, trade-offs must be made. Organic fabrics can still be sewn together by exploited workers Continue reading →
My roommate and I have an ongoing debate. He’s a die-hard Nike fan, and I was raised to think “sweatshop” when I hear Nike. So who’s right? Have Nike and the other major sportswear brands become more responsible in the years since the initial scandal of 1996 when Life magazine ran an article with a photo of a 12-year-old Pakistani boy sewing a Nike soccer ball for which he was paid $0.60/day? Yes, somewhat. But it appears we still have a long way to go.
I will research the others in later posts but I’m going to start with Nike. This article quotes Trim Bissell, coordinator of the U.S. Campaign for Labor Rights, explaining why Nike Continue reading →
“‘What would you tell someone in the USA who won’t buy the jeans that you make because they don’t think you are paid enough or treated fairly?’ I ask. Phoan, lost in thought, stares at the floor. ’If they pay $45 for jeans,’ Ai says, ‘it helps us. If people don’t buy, I’m unhappy because I wouldn’t have a job.’ Ai laughs at the simplicity of the logic. Is it that simple? Does an undecuated, 24-year-old garment worker hold the answer to how I should behave as a consumer? To buy or not to buy, that is the question. “
- excerpt from Where Am I Wearing? by Kelsey Timmerman (emphasis added)
For decades, boycotting companies for bad labor practices has been a tactic employed to stop sweatshop labor and hold corporations accountable for wrongdoings at different levels of the supply chain. And increased awareness has Continue reading →
Want to buy bras and panties that are good for the world? Maybe not so into earth-toned organic cotton? No worries, these three fabulous designers are here to help:
1. Eco-Boudoir:Eco-Boudoir’s passion is to make first-class lingerie with the most sustainable production values. All of their silks are cultivated without using harmful chemicals and all of their cotton is certified organic. Their collections are sewn in the UK and when working abroad they support small communities of women.
If you visit the website, you’ll find detailed descriptions of all the materials used and the places they are from. Each season’s designs are inspired by a different aspect of nature; the current one is the Amazon Rainforest. Check it out:
2. Ciel Shop: Ciel designs from the inside out and has an integrated eco-design Continue reading →