How Levi’s Is Embracing The Environment

From recycling water to making 100% biodegradable cotton jeans, Levi Strauss & Co is starting to take resource consumption seriously

Though it often takes its cues from botanical elements, the fashion industry isn’t always the most eco-conscious. And while many brands claim to take environmentally-conscious steps (like off-setting carbon), the repercussions of the clothing production process (like using harsh chemical dyes) are often still felt.

Instead of just considering how to counteract their ecological footprint, Levi’s, the all-American jean company, is attempting to launch a lifestyle paradigm shift, by reframing how we understand and consume fashion. Their “Made of Progress” campaign emphasizes a new perspective on clothing use– including washing jeans only when really needed or biking to work in their commuter fit jeans– just as much as their materials and how they are approaching the manufacturing process (like recycling water or making 100% biodegradable cotton jeans).

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In an interview for Fast Company, Paul Dillinger, head of global product innovation at Levi Strauss & Co., discusses the philosophy behind the shift:

“What would happen if we could change culture in such a way that consumers imagined the end of life of the product they bought? So, what if we said that you could mulch your jeans, put them in your garden, and see how the decomposition of your Levi’s could feed the food that you were growing. That’s conceivably how we might dispose of garments in the future. That would prompt the consumer to think about little details like how the color was applied to the garment in the first place. Would the chemicals in the dye affect the garment, my food, and my body? This is the kind of holistic thinking we want to spur in our customers. Fundamentally, asking them to take into account the impact they’re responsible for in the whole system, from the supply chain to the eventual disposal of the garment.”

Read the rest of the interview with Paul Dillinger at Fast Company.


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