Producing denim from post-consumer waste, recycling jeans into insulation for housing or reducing water usage are just a few of the ways in which the denim industry has attempted to reduce its impact on the environment. Have you observed manufacturers of other textiles following suit or even adopting similar technologies?
In my experience the other categories were way ahead of denim when it came to eco-friendly processing – from t-shirts using organic cotton to knit dresses using vegetable dyes – brands like Eileen Fisher and Indigenous have been producing reduced carbon footprint garments for years.
Denim is acclaimed for its heritage and oftentimes denim designers promote vintage techniques. Yet innovation among denim manufacturers can rival that of sports/athleticwear manufacturers? Why the paradox?
The tug of war between old world craftsmanship and new age technology has played out in many ways – most recently with Levi’s Made & Crafted line, which nicely blends old and new – so I think it can be done. Companies like Jeanologia and Pizarro are doing amazing things with hi-tech eco-friendly processes that create a vintage look – it’s a great development to see happening. Consumers don’t want to have to sacrifice one for the other.
Levi’s CEO Chip Bergh recently made headlines for wearing a pair of jeans that he didn’t wash for a year. Has an admission from such a respected person had any lingering effects (consumer or trade) several months later?
I have to admit, I wash my jeans maybe once every couple of months -they hold their color longer! Not sure I’ve noticed anything on a large scale occurring. I’m sure Tide hopes not!
What kind of fancy finishing or technology do you think consumers will be most excited about in the near future?
Clearly wearable tech is on the rise, so I believe once consumers experience its benefits, they will want it on all of their sportswear. Given how much time we spend in blue jeans, why wouldn’t we want a built in pedometer? I also find stretch denim to be very comfortable, I think we will see more use of denim/lycra blends.