Levi’s, perhaps one of the most famous denim brands in the world, has just launched what it calls its “most sustainable jean ever”. Available through the brand’s Wellthread collection, the jean is made using organic cotton and Circulose, a material made from recycling worn-out old denim fabrics.
Debuted in late July, the new jeans by Levi’s is a part of a collaboration between the brand and Renewcell, the Swedish startup behind Circulose, a material made from reconstituted cotton derived from old recycled jeans and combined with biodegradable wood pulp. Available in the 502 for men and High Loose for women, the jeans are crafted out of both Circulose and organic cotton, and are dyed using a water-saving method.
Each part of the jean – from its trimming to the thread – is also designed to ensure that it can be fully recycled and eventually turned into a new product in the future, making it the brand’s most circular design to date.
“These jeans represent an important step in our journey to reduce the environmental impact of our products and keep garments out of landfills,” explained Una Murphy, Levi’s senior designer for innovation.
“[They] are a realisation of a vision and a more circular design practice that can keep materials in circulation longer, therefore reducing the impact of the garments we create, while still delivering the same style and longevity Levi’s are known for.”
Reusing old fabrics and fibres are crucial if brands hope to green their designs and operations and reduce the unsustainable consumption of natural resources. Currently, the fashion industry uses up enormous amounts of virgin new fibres – 53 million tonnes, according to a report by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation.
These jeans represent an important step in our journey to reduce the environmental impact of our products and keep garments out of landfills.Una Murphy, Senior Designer for Innovation at Levi’s
Making denim products is especially environmentally taxing, with growing new cotton required to make a single pair of jeans using up more than 2,500 litres of water. By recycling old jeans, the water, carbon and chemical footprint of the jeans can be reduced.
Levi’s isn’t the only major brand now incorporating Circulose into their collections. In February, Swedish fast fashion giant H&M became the first retailer to use the recycled fabric to make a dress in its Conscious Exclusive collection.
It’s a part of H&M Group’s ongoing cleanup of its role in fuelling the global fashion industry’s pollution. Since last year, the brand has launched a number of circular initiatives, from transforming its Stockholm flagship into a rental, repair and recycling concept to introducing other innovative upcycled materials such as Vegea, a plant-based leather made using wine waste.
With consumers becoming increasingly disillusioned with fashion’s footprint, it’s become clear that brands across the board must now shift towards more sustainable and circular business models in order to survive.
Read more about sustainable fashion here.
Lead image courtesy of Levi’s / designed by Green Queen Media.