Patagonia’s sustainable denim – because denim is filthy business

If you’re a regular reader of the WGSN denim blog you’ll no doubt have read our recent articles on sustainability in denim. From Kingpins Founder Andrew Olah’s in-depth discussion on the need for change in denim manufacturing to the inspiring story behind Nudie Jeans eco-ethics, these articles have helped to increase awareness and educate our readers on this crucial issue.

While many denim brands are dipping their toes into sustainable lines, there are very few who are making conscious efforts to improve and change the way we, as consumers, think about buying our jeans and the impact our purchases have on social and environmental areas.

Denim production typically involves the use of dangerous chemicals to grow conventional cotton and creates millions of gallons of wastewater in the dyeing process. All too often, the jeans are sewn in factories where employees work and live in substandard conditions.


Surprisingly, one non-denim brand – outdoor gear-and apparel-maker Patagonia – recently launched a great new campaign to change the “filthy business of denim” with a line of performance denim which raises the bar in sustainable jeans manufacturing.

In an innovative new approach, the California-based label has rethought and reconsidered the conventional process of denim production to create a range of jeans engineered to revolutionise the denim industry.


Several years in the making, the program is headed up by Miles Johnson (former creative director of Levi’s Vintage Clothing) and offers both benefits in environmental and human rights practices in the production process. Using innovative, environmentally friendlier dye, Fair Trade Certified sewing practices and 100% organic cotton grown without pesticides, herbicides, or synthetic fertilizers, Patagonia has created a line of ethical, sustainable denim that feels as good as it looks.


It also uses a special dye process bonding colour more readily to the fabric which results in much shorter production lines using 84% less water, 30% less energy and emits 25% less CO2. Additionally Patagonia’s denim is Fair Trade Certified, using a market-based approach fairly compensating workers for their labour, and safeguards against substandard working conditions and child labour.


The Fall 2015 collection consists of three men’s and three women’s jeans that come in raw finish just as rugged and authentic as your regular unwashed jeans but with the added conscious element. They are available now at Patagonia retail stores, partner stores and at patagonia.com.

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