Why Conscious Denim Matters
It’s time I start discussing my love for denim. My true love for denim only began about 6 years ago when I tried on my first pair of 501 vintage Levis—or you could call them, the classic 90s mom jean. It was also during this time that I discovered tailoring denim and my obsession began.
The thing about denim however, is it is one of the least eco-conscious fabrics in the world. This may come as a surprise as denim is such a huge part of our culture. Unfortunately though, within the fast fashion industries, our beloved denim is made overseas and is extremely harmful to the environment and the people making the pieces.
This beautiful, thick, dark blue and long lasting fabric uses more water to create than any other fabric. It is estimated that it takes 1,800 gallons of water to grow the amount of cotton needed to create one pair of blue jeans. Alongside, the dyes end up in water streams and are highly toxic for the communities where the heavy manufacturing is taking place.
Luckily, with the sustainable fashion movement and powerful documentaries like True Cost and RiverBlue, there is a transparent light being shed on the many layers of problems within the industry. There are steps being taken specifically within the denim industry, to innovate more sustainable denim choices.
Reformation, for instance, is a leading role model in the industry creating “eco-denim”. Their collection is created from sustainable fibers, low-impact manufacturing methods, and highly measured water usage. Another brand is Outland Denim that has created a business model that employees and empowers women who have escaped human trafficking along with those most vulnerable. They are also dedicated to sustainable and transparent production practices.
Aside from supporting brands aiming to make a difference, the absolute #1 best way to be sustainable with your denim purchases is to buy vintage or second- hand. If you are only going to buy anything vintage/second-hand let it be denim!
True denim is like a fine wine, it gets better with age. Levi’s is my absolute favorite denim brand that has always been conscious, American-made and passionate about creating long lasting denim-wear. It was founded in the 1890s and their vintage denim still circulates through stores as a premium vintage find. They are also continuing to improve their manufacturing of new denim through responsible and transparent production methods.
Finding a great pair of denim jeans is truly my favorite wardrobe staple. Next time you need a denim refresh look to buy second-hand or from companies making a difference.
Photos by: Felicia Lasala
Denim: Vintage Levi’s jacket & Pants