Even the most seasoned globetrotter can’t claim to have covered as many miles as a freshly born pair of jeans! Before they clothe us, the emblematic trousers have already passed through many little hands all over the world: South America or the African continent for the raw material (cotton culture), South East Asia for dyeing and washing stages, China, Bangladesh or Morocco for assembly… In the end, more than 60,000 kms travelled before ending up in our dressing rooms and as much damage caused to the environment during its interminable journey. What are the experimental or established solutions to try to reduce a rather terrifying carbon footprint?
In view of the ecological urgency, it is no longer time for fashion trends alone. Awareness of good consumption practices has simultaneously changed production methods and purchasing behaviours. Jeans, although still very much present in our closets, are beginning to take on a whole new look.
Many manufacturers are rethinking their supply chains and shortening their production processes. In France, brands such as “1083” and the “Tuffery workshops” are working hard to make increasingly eco-friendly jeans. While the former is committed to making a garment within 1083 km from the final consumer, the latter strives to manufacture a denim made from organic hemp, grown in Occitania and dyed with natural indigo.
Sustainable innovation programmes are thriving, both in the production of the raw material and in its processing. The goal? To continue to wear jeans that are both human and environmentally friendly.
The use of organic cotton, although still quite infrequent in the production of jeans, is gradually gaining ground. The textile industry is organising itself to promote agriculture that is free of industrial pesticides and at the same time boosting equitable trade. Labels such as BioRe, BCI, Oeko Tex appear on the labels, so be careful when buying your next pair of jeans.
Washing methods are also gradually improving. Fabric fading processes are being organized to ban chemicals and reduce the amount of water used. While Pepe Jeans is affiliated with the Wiser Wash Program, Levi’s jeans pioneer Levi’s has chosen another innovative technique, laser washing, while Bonobo is experimenting with ozone washing. It doesn’t matter how, as long as the results are measured!
And we, as consumers, at which level can we take action to prevent this polluting fabric from disappearing in the long term? Think about customisation, upcycling, saving money by frequenting the dressing-room and second-hand shops. You’ll be making a gesture for the protection of the planet while staying stylish.
Thanks to a collective effort and new technical processes, confidential brands, just like the denim behemoths, seem to want to find alternative solutions and reinvent the manufacture of blue gold. A blue denim that looks more likely green.