Friday, November 24, 2006

Organic Green Levi's Jeans

Levi's is releasing of the world's first fully sustainable denims from a major label.

Starting tomorrow 20 Levi's stores across the UK will be stocking the company's new eco jeans featuring completely organic materials and fully certified sustainable production processes. Based on the company's 570 style for women and 506 for men, the new eco jeans will feature 100% organic cotton denim, coconut shell wasteband button, non-galvanised metal fly buttons, and colours produced from potato starch, mimosa flower and Marseille soap.

Unfortunately, environmental groups have again managed to alienate themselves from an environmental victory by creating a downer out of good news. Jessa Latona of the Centre for Alternative Technology used her 2 second sound bite to bemoan rampant consumption rather than to embrace sustainable business.

"Switching to organic cotton and reducing carbon emissions at manufacturing will hopefully become the norm for the fashion industry,"

"However, rather than running to the shops tomorrow and buying a new pair of jeans, consumers could create their own eco wardrobe by recycling and reusing old clothes - getting creative with last season's jeans rather than throwing them out.

I would suggest that rather than searching for ways to criticize sustainable business solutions, Ms. Latona would do well to get creative with her PR opportunities and look for ways to lend momentum to an admirable initiative by Levi's. The most effective thing environmental groups can do is endorse this effort and push other companies to follow suit.

Just 30,000 pairs are being produced for the European launch, but by next winter the company hopes to expand the green friendly range to include more organic choices in their popular Red Tab styles, and they are leaving the door open for incorporating the same sustainable materials and practices throughout other products lines. The one drawback to the new jeans is cost with the initial sticker price set at approximately £80 (roughly $175 Canadian). However, the price should fall as Levi's increases volume and expands the sustainable design into other styles over the coming months.


knb said...

I would agree with you. The more such initiaves can be supported/promoted the better.

If they are supported, indeed prices will come down and the market will expand.

Dye from soap seems a bit odd, but what do I know.

J.Knecht said...

Sounds like modern marketing, that's all. The special edition jean only underscores what the company's bread and butter is, and what you would be subsidizing by buying into the gimmick. Instead look for brands that make sustainability a core value rather than a niche market. Now if Levi's pledged to go all-organic, that would really be something. Until then, I'm sticking with my trusted brands.

brad said...

It's great that companies are being more responsible with how they produce (in response to a green market demand, yay capitalism), but Jessa does have a point that over consumption is always bad.

"Ethical consumerism" is quite a misnomer, and indeed any consumption, no matter how green washed, is bad for our planet (boo capitalism). I'll be sticking with my old jeans as long as possible. I fear that making products 'green' can also create the problem of making people think that it is ok to consume. Need before Greed. Just my $0.02.

Anonymous said...

Over consumption is a problem, but since I find it so hard to control my own, I know it's pretty much difficult to try and control what others consume. At least the products becoming popular are ones made responsibly. I also agree that buying from companies with sustainability as a core value is a good choice - hopefully some companies using this as a gimmick will realize they need to head in that direction with the rest of their products too.

Craig Mackintosh said...

I understand the point about consumerism - but the reality is most of us are such specialists today we haven't a clue how to make clothes, let alone have the time. If companies begin to support organic industries, and sustainable systems, then we would do well to support them - if we don't, why should other companies try to follow suit?

A world full of companies trying to outcompete each other in saving the planet can't be a bad thing, can it?

Anonymous said...

A Rat is still a Rat by any other name.....

There are already a small number of AUTHENTICLY eco-sensitive Jean brands out there. Loomstate, Kuyichi and of course my favourite - Del Forte.
I strongly believe in supporting these pioneers and not the juggernaut's that are entering the Organic fray late as a way to boost their corporate image.

Like j.knecht pointed out, company's like Levi's that have polluted our rivers and exploited third world labour for decades, don't deserve our dollars just becasue they've decided to make .0000001% of their business model sustainable.

Support the real heroes and wear
their products proudly. Otherwise you're just keeping the Rats well fed and enabling them to continue to harm our world.

GT said...

yeah. Letting people be convinced that 'business as usual w/ a few green knobs on' will keep all us eco-freaks from carbon-emission-free-grenading their windows only makes them soft. We need to keep them on their toes. Like Levi's policies on sweatshops, etc I don't know, but most major corporations have some dirty laundry laying around for the documentary artists to dig up. And the jeans are more expensive than regular ones...
BMW's Series 7 is a car that only emits water vapor apparently (it runs on hydrogen) but unless the drug dealers all decide they want to make the world a better place, or BMW shifts every car in its label to the new technology (which would own) the differences are being made slower than the approach of the apocalypse.
Organic stuff has to be really cheap and widely available to chisel at the establishment of environment destruction effectively.

Fitness By Marilyn said...

Love Your Blog.....this is very interesting article. I love Levi's......Marilyn

Odiyya said...

Thanks Marilyn. Best luck down in Texas.

Anonymous said...

green is mainstream now. everybody claims to be sustainable or energy efficient. just buzz words to convince us it's a good idea to buy these products. i agree. fuck levi's sudden "change of heart". what's the deal with jeans costing more cuz they come with holes in em these days. fuck fashion. i've been wearing the same shit for years, still does the trick.

Anonymous said...

hi you can't get a blue dye with mimosa and soap. there is misinformation here. indigo is the dye and the only eco way to do it is with urine. a dyebath is prepared to get rid of the oxygen in the water and then heated with the dissolved indigo into which the fabric is dipped. All other forms of deoxegenation are caustic and environmentally harmful. EXcept the yeast method which also removes the oxygen but the temperature of the dye vat is crucial. I wish these companies would tell us the truth and not treat us like idiots!

Jules said...

I think going green is an overall powerful thing to do but as many have mentioned before this is more of a corporate image issue.
The price needs to be realistic enough to grabb everyone. Why should it be snobby to be green. I sell clothing and love expensive jeans but I refuse to buy some Levi's jeans just to support a cuase that I care about.
Reuse, resell, recycle-first of all.

Mimi said...

That is great news, and they look really sexy too!
Industry has to start somewhere, even if it is a gimmick at least it's a step in the right direction!

And to Jessica Latona - honey, I don't know many people who throw out jeans, so don't stress about it!