Updated: Nov 10, 2020
When I looked at my stack of denim that I received from friends and family only within the last few months, I thought I really needed to write a post about this! In just a few months, I received so many jeans, ALL of them are true treasures!
Could it be, that the men's jeans (which are totally oversized) be turned into either "mom jeans" or "paperbag jeans"? Or even, the distressed ones, which are actually very cool? How about the stretchy ones for a more elegant look? I can use them all!! So why buy new jeans??
Apart from adding more waste to our planet when throwing away used jeans, the environmental impact of producing new jeans is high.
Every stage of the production causes a very heavy burden on the environment and workers who make them:
GROWING THE COTTON: In cotton production large amounts of water, fertilizers, and pesticides are used. According to the WWF, the amount of water for irrigation can be as high as 20.000 liters per kg of cotton produced. THIS IS THE EQUIVALENT TO 1 PAIR OF JEANS!!
DYEING OF YARNS: Many chemicals are being used in the dyeing process such as: sodium hydroxide, hydrogen peroxide and synthetic dyes. Most of the time, the washed out chemicals and dyes end up unfiltered in rivers, lakes, and our oceans.
FINISHING LOOK: “After-treatments” are applied in order to give the jeans a worn look. This means another washing cycle with either enzymes, bleaching chemicals, or “stone wash,” (pumice stones added to the washing). Another very common way to achieve the “worn look” is sandblasting. The procedure is quite dangerous, as workers may inhale the sand particles, which can cause long-term lung damage. Many factories around the world are either replacing or combining sandblasting with potassium permanganate (PP) treatment, a substance which can also cause serious health issues. Doses of 10 g may cause cardiovascular collapse, irritation in the nose and lungs, and kidney damage, or may cause death. One must not forget that potassium permanganate (PP) is also washed out again by the use of other chemicals, which again pollute our rivers, lakes, and oceans.
All these "after treatments" do actually destroy the fabric. The jeans might look “cool” after undergoing the treatment cycle, but it does also reduce the strength of the fabric, resulting in a much lower technical lifetime.
SEWING: Most problems in jeans assembling, arise with the labor conditions. People have to work hard for low wages in so-called sweat shops.
There are soooo many cool and amazing pairs of jeans out there, a lot of them barely used or the used ones which obtained their “distressed” look naturally!
I wanna call out to everyone to start collecting used jeans, just like me and use and wear them, instead of buying new ones!
How can you get your hands on these awesome treasures?
1. swapping clothes with friends
2. simply ask friends or family for jeans that don’t fit them anymore
3. check out second hand stores
4. buy upcycled jeans