Levi’s continues its efforts towards sustainability, and like many brands, has been leading the charge in taking an organic look at what shapes the denim and fashion industries. Today, October 16, 2012, they announced their new collection of denim called Waste<Less that basically incorporates post-consumer waste, specifically recycled plastic bottles and trays into 1 pair of jeans, or essentially 8 bottles per jeans.
Available as part of their upcoming 2013 Spring collection, it’s also a further step in the brand’s philosophy and commitment to sustainability, similar to what Patagonia’s been doing since its inception.
“From the beginning, we have designed our products with purpose and intent. By adding value to waste, we hope to change the way people think about recycling, ultimately incentivizing them to do more of it,” said James Curleigh, global president of the Levi’s brand. “This collection proves that you don’t have to sacrifice quality, comfort or style to give an end a new beginning.”
Overall, the Spring 2013 Levi’s Waste<Less collection will utilize over 3.5 million recycled bottles. The Spring 2013 men’s products, which will be available globally, will feature Levi’s® 511™ Skinny jeans, a new modern-looking Levi’s® 504 Straight Fit jean, and the iconic Levi’s® Trucker jacket. For women, Levi’s® Boyfriend Skinny jeans in a progressive fit will be available in the U.S. and Europe.
Through the company’s partners, PET plastic, or polyethylene terephthalate materials – including brown beer bottles, green soda bottles, clear water bottles and black food trays – are collected through municipal recycling programs across the United States. The bottles and food trays are sorted by color, crushed into flakes, and made into a polyester fiber.
Next, the polyester fiber is blended with cotton fiber, which is finally woven with traditional cotton yarn by Cone Denim to create the denim used in the Levi’s® Waste<Less jeans and trucker jackets. The color of the bottles used adds an undertone to the denim fabric creating a unique finish in the final product.
“With this collection, we’re doing our own small part by taking waste and making something new from it,” added Curleigh. “We don’t just want to reduce our impact on the environment, we want to leave it better than we found it. We are committed to making products in ways that are good for people and better for our planet.”
In 2009, Levi Strauss & Co. introduced “A Care Tag for our Planet” initiative to educate consumers on how to clean their clothes with less environmental impact; it also encourages them to donate used jeans to Goodwill rather than throwing them out. This initiative was followed up by the development of Water<Less™, a revolutionary finishing technique designed to reduce the use of water in the finishing process by up to 96 percent for some styles. This year, the Levi’s® Water<Less™ collection saved over 360 million liters of water. Additionally, the company is a member of the Better Cotton Initiative, which reduces water and pesticide use during the cotton growing process, and economically supports hundreds of thousands of cotton farmers. To date, LS&Co. has blended Better Cotton into more than 5 million pairs of jeans.
Levi’s Waste<Less™ jeans will be available in Levi’s stores globally and on Levi.com in January 2013.
For more information on Sustainability and The Future of Youth Culture, check out our Study which includes an entire section of changes in spending habits for fashion, trends in vintage and thrift, and more.