denim: the fabric of freedom

smells like denim

fashion icons, rockers, rebels, construction workers, and cowboys - everybody loves jeans. durable, classic and timeless are just a few ways to describe this iconic garment that has had such an impact on the world of fashion. so let's take a closer look at the legend that denim is.

what exactly is denim?

a sturdy cotton textile, denim is most recognizable in its legendary indigo blue color. it all starts with the cotton plant that, after the harvest, is processed into yarn, dyed, and then woven into denim fabric. the fabric is then cut, sewed, and distressed. the last steps include washing and drying.

what impact does conventional denim have on the environment?

get this - a single pair of jeans uses approximately up to 8'000 (!!!) litres of water. that's a whole lot of kiddie pools going into one garment, right? but it doesn't end just there. the manufacturing of denim and ultimately jeans, is a process that uses tons of toxic chemicals and hard labor. and with that labour often not being very ethical, the denim industry therefore also has a heavy (negative) human impact. not cool, we reckon.

jeans - but make it sustainable.

actually, there is no such thing as a completely sustainable jeans. the aim is to make jeans and their production as sustainable as possible. starting with cotton farming, where the organic variant has the potential of reducing blue water consumption by 91%* as opposed to conventional cotton farming. in agriculture, one distinguishes two types of water. green water is rainfall that naturally waters crops, which is widely used in organic cotton farming. bluewater on the other hand is irrigation water that was withdrawn from water sources such as rivers and reservoirs. 
next on the list is the reduction of harmful chemicals and the effort to increase the usage of better chemicals - because unfortunately, as of today, the production of textiles doesn't work without chemicals. 
after responsible water-conscious cotton farming, sourcing, and production, what is absolutely vital for a more sustainable approach is ethical and fair manufacturing. no product can be sustainable if the people producing it are not paid fair wages and get to work in a safe space. the last but surely not the least important step is transparency; in terms of supply- and production chain, as well as labor transparency. 

nudie jeans is a great example of an approach to jeans that is as sustainable as possible. read more about their approach in their sustainability report

how to take care of your jeans

  1. less is more, friends - no need to wash your jeans every week. 
  2. wash them cold and use as little detergent as possible
  3. wash them inside out and roll them up
  4. line dry - do not tumble dry

like this, you can keep your jeans longer and the planet a little happier. 

another good piece of advice; if your jeans break - don't throw them away! get them fixed or find a nice human to fix them for you. :) ooorrr, if you have nudie jeans, bring them by our store and get them fixed. there's a lifetime repair-policy on nudie jeans, how cool is that?

jeans history 101

also for the fashion nerds amongst us, here's a little visit by the ghost of denim's past:

  • 1871: the first blue jeans as we know them now are invented by jacob w. davis in partnership with levi strauss & co. originally this garment is created for miners
  • 1950s: thanks to film stars such as marlon brando and james dean jeans become an icon of rebellion amongst teenagers. 
  • 1957: jeans become synonymous with rebellion in the ussr! the iconic garment was then associated with western culture, and though not explicitly banned, trafficked on the black market.
  • 2001: fast forward - britney and justin appear in matching head-to-toe denim outfits and don't break the internet, cause breaking the internet is not a thing yet (this joke is for the millennials amongst our readers ;) ).
  • 2021: sustainable jeans now available at collab zurich!

*source: nudie jeans 

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