We love our jeans but they come with environmental costs. Leading fashion manufacturers are out to change that.
We love our clothes, yet their production often has harmful impacts on the environment. But leading fashion manufacturers are out to change that, at least for jeans.
Operating within a broader initiative called Make Fashion Circular, Jeans Redesign aims to shape a sustainable future for jeans. The venture wants to tackle the whole cycle of jeans production, including sourcing, so as to overcome harmful practices and reduce the material footprint of the industry. For instance, it takes an estimated 1,800 gallons of water to produce a single pair of jeans, according to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation.
“The way we produce jeans is causing huge problems with waste and pollution, but it doesn’t have to be this way,” says Francois Souchet, who spearheads the new initiative, which comes with official guidelines to be followed by all signatories.
H&M, Lee, Mad Jeans, and more than 10 other global brands have already joined the initiative. Jeans Redesign aims to deliver the first pair of properly manufactured jeans to the market by 2020.
The guidelines set minimum requirements for durability, recyclability, health impacts and supply chain transparency. For example, a new pair of jeans should meet minimum quality requirements of the participating brands even after 30 washes. The materials they are made from should contain 98% cellulose fibers coming from sustainable farms and be 100% free from hazardous chemicals.
The jeans should also be optimized for disassembly and further recycling, while any unessential components should be brought to a bare minimum. The guidelines also place an emphasis on the emotional durability of new jeans and so they are designed with customers in mind. And the best of it is that the guidelines are free for anyone to download and share.
The hope is that the initiative will help to drive not only incremental changes but whole system transformations. The new guidelines come as a bold move for the fashion industry that’s just learning to be sustainable and is still responsible for 8% of emission globally.