When it comes to denim what’s to know? Jeans tend to be most everyone’s staple pair of pants. Whether they’re colored, worn-in, skinny, stretchy, or just plain old blue jeans chances are you’ve got a pair or two in your closet… But knowing a few details about denim could help us reduce energy and water use, protect garment workers, and encourage designers to use more sustainable materials in their products.
“On average people wash their clothes way too much and many of our super turbo washing machines can do quite a number on our threads, not to mention wasting precious water and unnecessarily using energy” (lunaandhill.com). For jeans in particular here a few details to keep in mind:
- Wash clothes in cold water. This also saves energy. Most clothes wash just fine in cold water. Clothes hold up better this way.
- Zip up your zippers before washing. Those zippers will flap around the washer and dryer, tearing at your other clothes.
- Wash your clothes less often. You don’t need to wash your clothes just because you wore it once. Give it a sniff test and wear it again. It’s not gross, it’s smart. Denim is a tough fabric, guys! Denim should last you at least 4 or 5 wears before you need to wash it. That’s part of the reason why blue jeans are so popular after all, right?
Jeans with a distressed, worn-in look are often made to look that way through a process called sandblasting, which requires garment workers to use air compressors that blow sand under pressure in order to bleach and batter the denim.
Sandblasters end up breathing in a large amount of silica dust that can cause an incurable lung disease called silicosis. Some companies have banned sandblasted jeans from their collections but many still demand their jeans be made this way. Support bans on sandblasted jeans
and create better working standards for garment workers.
Companies have choice when they decide on the materials and the process to use in making denim. For example Levi’s has just launched a “Waste-Less Denim” which are composed of at least 20% recycled plastic. The denim icon is also encouraging its customers to wash their jeans less often!
Other companies (like Nudie Jeans) use raw denim which is not intended to be washed for 6-18 months and has a longer life span as it is denim that has been unwashed, untreated, and virtually untouched during production.
Any more denim tips to share? Leave us a comment!