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.