Jeans are the ultimate wardrobe staple. They've been in style for the past six decades and are worn in nearly every country in the world. They're comfortable (most of the time) and versatile - you can dress them up or laze around the house in them, and just about everything in between.
But denim production is an environmental nightmare. Cotton is an extremely water-intensive crop. It takes 11000 litres of water to produce one kilogram of cotton. And denim also requires significant amounts of water to process. According to the recently-released documentary River Blue, a pair of Levis 501s takes 4182 litres of water to produce.
Then there's the issue of water pollution from the dyeing and finishing processes.
Though denim is an incredibly hardy material, most jeans are 'washed', meaning they go through a process of softening and distressing prior to being sold so you don't have to 'break them in'. And while this means your butt looks great and they're comfortable from the first wear, it also means large amounts of chemicals and water.
Luckily, there's an increasing number of brands producing ethical jeans. Some of our favourites are Kuyichi, Nudie Jeans and, of course, the two brands we stock at ecoture, MUD Jeans and Monkee Genes.
Finding the perfect pair of ethical jeans, though, is only the first step. To further help reduce the environmental footprint of your denim, love, care for them properly, and wear them for as long as you can. Some tips we've found useful:
* Always check the instructions on the care tag. An app like Washguide helps you store all of your care instructions so you can easily check how individual items should be treated.
* Before throwing something in the machine, ask yourself if it really needs washing. If your jeans don't smell and aren't stained, perhaps they can skip the load and get another wear (or two).
* Mix water, baking soda and the essential oil of your choice together to spritz on your jeans to refresh them between wears. Once spritzed, hang them over a coat hanger until you wear them again.
* Consider using a specialty denim detergent. Our favourite (which just happens to be environmentally-friendly, vegan and cruelty-free) is Denim Wash from The Laundress.
* Use a cold cycle for your jeans and other denim and instead of using the dryer, hang on the clothesline to dry.
* To prevent fading, hang inside out.
* When your jeans are a bit too worn, consider repurposing them. Pinterest is sure to have some inspo.
* And when they no longer fit, donate them to charity. For example, check out our Waste not, Want not initiative and be rewarded with ecoture loop points for your donations.
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