Patagonia Releases Eco Friendly and Fair Trade Denim Line
This is definitely an interesting time in denim, and in the fashion world as well, due to the increasing awareness of our footprint on Mother Earth and ethical manufacturing practices. Not only are so many brands upping the ante competitively with some incredibly innovative ideas for what was once seen as just a pair of jeans, but many are also doing their best to make their production as clean and kind as possible. This is one of the reasons why I choose not to go the fast fashion route by buying more at cheaper prices, and am willing to buy less at higher prices due to the fact that despite what many people might think, many of these pricier brands really are doing their part to make a global difference. Level 99, Levi’s, and AG are great examples of denim brands doing something to reduce their impact in some way. Patagonia, best known for their high performance activewear for the serious adventurists amongst us, is now out to change conventional denim manufacturing as we know it, by releasing a brand new denim line for women and men with some pretty impressive eco-friendly and fair trade features.
Helena Barbour, director of Patagonia’s Sportswear business, said “Traditional denim is a filthy business. That drove us to change the way our jeans are made. We wanted to find an alternative solution to using the standard indigo dyeing methods we once employed to create denim. It took several years of research, innovation, trial and error, but the result is a new path for denim. We’re hopeful other manufacturers will follow suit and help us change the denim industry.”
This dying process is special because the dye itself was created to help the indigo bond a lot easier to the denim fabric, which means 84% less water and 30% less energy usage, as well as 25% less CO2 emissions than synthetic indigo dying which is still used widely today. In addition, as much as many of us love our pre-faded, pre-destroyed denim, Patagonia is skipping the sandblasting, stonewashing and bleaching to “avoid the serious social and environmental downsides of doing so.” I know several denim shoppers nowadays who prefer the clean denim look anyway, and it’s hard nowadays to find a lot of that in the denim market, so this will surely resonate with a lot of denim fans quite well in more ways than one.
These new Patagonia jeans are also Fair Trade Certified™, with the brand paying a premium for workers to put back into their communities for social, economic and environmental development projects and ultimately, a better standard of living. As Patagonia puts it, “Workers may choose to use the money to help build a school or a health clinic, create a scholarship or invest in some other aspect of their other community.” Combine that with the fact that Patagonia’s denim fabric is 100% organic and GMO free cotton (as they’ve used in all products since 1996)!
Most of the denim (on both the women’s and men’s sides) use a special organic cotton/COOLMAX® T400 polyester mechanical stretch fabric blend with a DWR (durable water repellent) finish which repels water, whicks away moisture and keeps you comfortable. There are also many 100% cotton blends on the men’s side.
Patagonia’s denim campaign is led by the slogan “Because Denim Is a Filthy Business.” View the video below! Read more about the campaign at LA Times here or directly from Patagonia’s website right here.