jeans, jeans, jeans…
July 22nd 2019
Denim, originally produced in Nimes and in Genoa (where the indigo was produced), was made for tenting before Levi Strauss made the first pair of work trousers out of the terrifically hardwearing and comfortable fabric.
Levi Strauss supposedly never wore a pair himself as he was a respectful and rich business man and jeans were for workers. Though some still entertain this notion most have adopted the uniform and given in to multiple purchase of these “perfect with everytop” bottoms.
Today denim jeans are a staple in EVERY closet and EVERY brand offers their own take on these blue trousers. So much so that in the USA each citizen owns on average 7 pairs. I suppose the number would be similar in Belgium, I personally own 4 pair. But, though our closets are full of denim, every new year brings 1,5 billion newly produced pairs of jeans to the market. To make sure they all sell sly techniques are used to get us to buy that one extra pair… the one that will certainly make our butt look just that little bit more like the instagram influencer’s we follow… Urgh.
Lets spend a minute on that huge number… 1,5 billion. And the market is predicted to grow. It is shocking.
Why is this a problem I hear you ask. Here is some extra information.
Denim is mostly made of cotton – the production of which is extremely water/pesticide and labour intensive. Only few brands use organic cotton and less still use linnen and hemp which are far more sustainable options. Nudie jeans and Kings of Indigo are both front runners in matierial use.
The dye process is super chemical heavy, the days of natural indigo are gone and the cost to our rivers and lakes is unimaginable. The water use is roughly 4 times the volume of the Annecy lake per year and until waste water is properly controled and cleaned it will keep polluting our rivers lakes and seas reducing the quantity of clean water drastically. Again only a handful of brands are trying to lower chemicals in the dying process like Mud Jeans and the french made 1083.
What is odd though is that denim is a fabric that is built to last, jeans are hard wearing work trousers, so why are we buying so damn many of them? I am sure you have noticed the creativity brands put in to creating a large variety of styles with “starbucks coffee-esque names” so that all our length, width, height, colour and strech needs are met (or created) : slim, boot, flare, ankle, long, petite, boyfriend, mom, skinny, dark wash, lightly bleached, broken in, sandblasted, stone washed, high waist, low waist, peeping butt crack waist, pockets, no pockets, button down, zip up, … and the list goes on and on and on.
Every new slightly modified style puts the previous one on the “so last year” list and thus creates a need to get a “better” fitting version of the SAME trousers.
I have a high waist, slim flare in a dark wash, a low waist boot cut light wash, a skinny ankle with no stretch (basically can’t sit down with those) and a boyfriend mid waist straight leg. And still…. I am always tempted by that slightly lighter blue or longer leg or…. It takes effort and self control to avoid the temptation and brands of course know this.
My recommendantion: STAY STRONG!! and instead of succumbing to the latest trend, wait for the last one to come back around. It always does (even the 90s crop tops).
To help scratch the itch, rework one of your favorite pairs at our jeans workshop. Check the calendar for dates and times.
Still feel the need for a new pair, check out the brands that have specialized in making jeans more sustainable: https://rankabrand.org/sustainable-denim-jeans and https://goodonyou.eco/material-guide-ethical-denim/