29. Apr, 2017

Denim and sustainability


Out of all the clothes a person owns, usually their jeans last the longest, they have a history, a relationship with the owner, the fit, the shape, the adaptability from day to evening wear, look good with a  T- shirt and equally good with a sequinned top.
However mass production, fast fashion has created a problem and big brand name retailers began producing cheap quality denim / jeans, no lasting relationship with the purchaser, bad fitting and poor quality, easy to discard.
The consequences of it all, is the massive environmental issues involved in the production of denim, accelerated by fast fashion. Sandblasting, for example, is a hazardous process and can suffocate a worker, some have died from this. 
From the chemical dyes used, the waste is poured out into rivers and pollutes the local water supply, poisoning fish and any humans who drink it.
The actual fibre Cotton used for denim, also uses a huge amount of water. 1,800 gallons of water is used to produce one pair of jeans and  also the water used in production added to that.

(http://blog.euromonitor.com/2016/10/blue-jeans-go-green-ethical-production-good-fit-denim-industry.html)  written by Miles Agbanrin.
‘’As ‘new consumerism’ sees shoppers’ demand shift increasingly towards sustainability and ethically produced fashion, jeans, one of the worst offenders in terms of human and environmental production costs, will present some of the best opportunities to make a sound business out of ethically produced apparel. The peculiarities of the UK’s relationship with jeans will make it easier for brands to convince shoppers to trade up to higher quality and higher prices, mitigating the costs of ensuring more ethical production.’’

Agbanrin believes that denim is the one item of clothing that UK consumers are willing to pay that extra for and he is probably right. Looking for denim in the charity shops finds only a small selection and of cheaper value brands. It would be a rare find to come across any Levis or Huit Denim, or even Armani jeans in a second hand shop.

Denim was a key choice in this project influenced by WGSN's Denim Kinship story and the indigo theme with mariner influences.

(Photo sourced from https://saralichouhan.files.wordpress.com/2013/03/trashed-couture-1.jpg)