Forever in Green Jeans

by jennine on October 29, 2008

Whether you wear jeans every day, or every now and then… jeans have become an essential part of the modern wardrobe. However, it’s starting to surface that jeans aren’t exactly the most environmentally friendly garment. Here’s why:

  1. Jeans are made of cotton.. while cotton in many ways is superior to synthetic textiles, 25% of the worlds pesticides go into cotton crops. While there are volumes of literature about the hazards of pesticides, I’ll just fill you in a few key points a. pesticides are one of the key contributors to water pollution, and b. according to the World Heath Organization  ‘3 million workers in agriculture in the developing world experience severe poisoning from pesticides, about 18,000 of whom die’ via Wikipedia.
  2. Jeans use a lot of water. I’ve read some places saying 200 and some places 7000 litres of water (an average shower takes 160 litres…) and if your jeans are stone washes, you can tack on and extra 50 to 750 litres. Depending on where your jeans are produced and by whom, all that water may not be properly disposed, leaving water sources contaminated and sterilsed earth ruining crops.

Well, don’t get down just yet… there’s a lot of options you out there. And we’re going to take about a few here in this post.

Keep your Jeans

Back in the old days, if you clothes got torn or had holes, you wouldn’t just throw them out, you’d repair them. I know I’ve been guilty of disposing clothes in disrepair… Say your beloved jeans have holes… while this season that might be a good thing… there are places you may not want holes, but tend to happen with your jeans. SwanDiamondRose patches up her beloved APCs. Or if you prefer to get rid of the hole, Denim Therapy will reweave the holes on your favorite jeans, so their basically good as new.

Most of the water wasted on jeans is on making them look old and worn in, so why not just skip the process and wear your old and worn in jeans anyway.

Buy Vintage/Recycled

In terms of buying clothes… buying recycled is by far more eco-friendly than even the most sustainable clothing line for two reasons… 1. because your not using new resources to produce the garment and 2. you’re saving them from the landfills, a fate met by much of our disposable clothes. And since I tend to wear recycled clothes every day… it’s probably one of my favorite solutions (yeah, I’m saving these clothes from the landfill… hehe)

Here are a few jeans I found on eBay.com when I searched for vintage jeans. From the left, the 80’s fold over jeans I’m pretty sure I used to own these. You can also find high waisted acid wash skinny jeans more so than a year ago, so that’s a good thing. And finally, the last pair, I picked because everyone seems to be slashing stuff all over the place, and you might as well check into a pair that’s already been done up. I know in my experience, slashing isn’t easy…

Sustainable Jeans…

If you really must have a new pair of jeans, and there are reasons for this, like finding the right fit, and cut… etc. There is a growing selection of organic and environmentally friendly jeans out there. You can check out with each company to find out what exactly that means.

I actually had a hard time finding eco-jeans I really liked. As with anything else, the styles of jeans tend to change faster than anything. Like when I first started blogging in 2007, we’ve gone from boot cut, to skinny lo-rise, skinny high-rise, wide-leg, acid wash, peg leg, and now the ‘boyfriend jean’, holes, no holes and on and on… Many eco compaines tend to be more conservative with thier jeans, save Kuyichi, who had lots of styles to choose from, including the ‘carrot’ jeans, which if I was looking for new jeans, I’d totally get. Next Spring, they’ll be selling these lovely denim overalls, which I think are really fun… Kuyichi’s denim is all organic, some of which are mixed with hemp (stronger fibers) they use vegetable dyes, and in some cases, they re use denim left over from previous seasons. You can buy Kuyichi on Asos (boyfriend jeans are now £35) and ilovejeans.com.

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Mademoiselle Robot October 29, 2008 at 3:00 am

It has nothing to do with the post per se, but I really like the new yellow text inserts on the photos, it makes the whole thing look more like an online mag & less like a blog. x

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2 missmilki October 29, 2008 at 4:24 am

Great post - its something I’d never really thought of. Only thing is I would never buy jeans without trying them on, I find it really hard to get jeans to fit me and suit me so buying online is out of the question they’d most likely have to go back and thats just a load of airmiles! I have short legs…really short…like I still have to take up petite sized jeans…any recommendations for short people like me shopping for jeans?

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3 jennine October 29, 2008 at 4:41 am

@mr… thanks! i’m glad someone noticed…
@MM… ooh yah, i like to try jeans on too… i think the best option is for vintage, to go to vintage shops, often times vintage shops, and charity shops will have a wide selection of jeans, as far as eco friendly shops, kuyichi has several stockists in ireland http://www.kuyichi.com/kuyichi/?page_id=41&country=ireland
i’m sure the shops will have other jeans too.

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4 pony October 29, 2008 at 5:15 am

oh may,
well. i dint know that. i mean i never went for it. even though this summer i focused on buying organic cotton … but dit know this thing about jeans..

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5 Ashe Mischief October 29, 2008 at 5:24 am

Love the option of Denim Therapy! I ALWAYS try to patch up my old jeans first, but once I wear through the patches, I usually say goodbye.

Another great idea is at least reconstructing your jeans in to something else (MissMalaprop is great about this). Skirts, stockings, legwarmers, purses… put the fabric to use, or give it to someone who will! Denim isn’t cheap to buy.

I wonder if there is anyone making bamboo denim yet?

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6 violetville October 29, 2008 at 7:31 am

i have a friend (male) who swears by NUDIE jeans - i think they’re swedish? he def looks cute in them! don’t know about girl styles though. another option at any rate!!

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7 jennine October 29, 2008 at 7:36 am

@pony.. yeah, i had been considering buying organic, but i was so broke, i didn’t buy anything unless it came from the flea market (recycled) but i’ve been coming across more and more articles about organic clothing and eco textiles.

@ashe! oh yeah! reconstructed denim… i have to look more into that, but as I was writing this, i was wondering if anyone made new jeans with old denim.
@violetville… o h NUDIE, i saw them, they do look good, but i didn’t find any women’s jeans I fell in love with… I have them bookmarked though.
:)

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8 Market Publique October 29, 2008 at 12:37 pm

My fave brand of eco jeans is Del Forte. I bought a pair of the 50s-inspired Ivy at Gomi NY, and loved them so much I wanted an identical pair in black. They had sold out by then, and I was so nuts about them I emailed the showroom, who forwarded me to the founder of the line, Terra. She was super nice, found me a pair in a store in Minnesota, from where I had them shipped! Crazy. I know. Best part: They were half off by then!
And I finally found a perfect pair of vintage sailor jeans this Summer too, at a store in the East Village!

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9 SwanDiamondRose October 31, 2008 at 5:10 pm

thanks for including me jennine :) and that jean reweaving company is a godsend! thanks for bringing it to my attention! and i love the yellow text too. it’s perfect and punchy.

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10 Tristen April 23, 2009 at 4:53 pm

With jeans priced from $12.00 for a pair of Wranglers to $200.00 for designer jeans and now designer jean stores are opening up from Las Vegas to New York, looks like they are here to stay. Who would ever think the blue jean would get so popular when Strauss started his business?

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