Denim is every fashionista’s best friend. But when shopping for jeans, quality is critical. Everyone should be buying jeans that last a lifetime, not just a year. Jeans with a low cost-per-use, and jeans that give you a feeling of ownership and individuality.
Starting with the fabric, denim is fabricated primarily with cotton, though it’s currently often blended with synthetic fibers like polyester. “Cotton, in general, is a very thirsty crop,” says Tatiana Schlossberg, a former environmental reporter at the New York Times. Producing just 1 kilogram of cotton can require up to 7,660 gallons of water, depending on where it’s grown. Cotton crops consume many chemicals, too: 16 percent of all insecticides are used on the plant.
The Natural Defenses Resources Council stated that the impacts from this process have been evident in Xintang, a town in southern China. Otherwise known as the denim capital of the world that produces 1 in every 3 pairs of jeans sold. Due to the lack of regulatory oversight, Xintang’s rivers turned deep blue. They smelled foul due to manufacturers dumping millions of gallons of chemical-laden wastewater directly into local waterways. These unsafe amounts of toxic metals like mercury, lead, and copper have been found in the surrounding waters, which residents rely on for drinking. Denim is known to go through absurd energy and water-intensive destructive processes. After dyeing, fabrics are repeatedly treated and washed with various chemicals, like bleach, to soften, colour, fade, or texturize the fabric. “These clothes are cheap in the store because nobody’s paying for this waste,” Schlossberg says, adding that communities on the other side of the world will be experiencing the consequences for years to come.
So what makes jeans high-quality, exactly? And how can you tell when you’ve found the perfect pair? To help you out, here are the steps to take to find the perfect pair of jeans that will stand the test of time. Byrdie, a shoppable online and mobile content platform, suggests that while shopping you must:
It’s all in the touch and feeling. Quality jeans are made from a more robust, heavier weight of denim. They should not only look luxurious but feel luxurious, too. So get your hands on the fabric when shopping. Generally speaking, apart from summer jeans, lightweight denim may reveal lower quality. You can always ask a salesperson for a denim’s weight if it is not specified on the label.
The stitching around a jeans’ hems, pockets, and side seams are telling of its quality. You are looking for a good, heavy stitch that won’t pull, split or unravel under stress. Double-stitching and chain-stitching are both good signs, with this stitching you will never find loose threads or pulling in your jeans.
Ever find your jeans give out or get to loose over time? When shopping for stretch, check the jeans label for the percentage of Spandex or Lycra in the fabric. You should be looking for a maximum of 2%. Anything more will become too stretchy and baggy over time. Even though stretch jeans are made from fabric that is designed to pull and give, they should only stretch so far, this is key in finding lifetime jeans.
Here are some of the most well-known, high-quality, locally made denim brands you should support! Not to mention, thrifted high-quality Levi’s or Wranglers can be just as good!
Founded in LA, Reformation offers high quality jeans ranging from $90 to $150. They pride themselves in using organic, recycled and locally made materials. The brand offers size-inclusive collections of basics, denim, swimwear, and lingerie. More precisely, the company uses sustainable materials such as organic cotton, recycled linen, regenerated nylon and deadstock fabrics.
Levi Strauss & Co. is an American clothing company globally known for their line of denim jeans. Recently, the brand launched its most sustainable jean ever, as part of the Wellthread collection.
The company’s goal is to become a leader in the sustainable world by producing high-quality products from recycled textiles. The new sustainable collection is fabricated from recycled denim, sustainably-sourced viscose, and cotton at an affordable price point of $90 to $150.
People Tree is an ecommerce retailer producing clothes from sustainable materials, and best known for their use of Fair Trade, GOTS-certified organic cotton, and lyocell. Their denim products go for around $80 to $130.
In 2013, they became the first fashion company to be awarded the World Fair Trade Organisation product label, which highlights their dedication, and compliance to Fair Trade and sustainability practices.
Ultimately, buying cheap denim can do more damage to the environment and your wallet than you may think. So it is essential to invest in quality lifetime jeans rather than buying a new pair every season!
Via ÀLA.HAUSSE‘s Multi-functional and Multi-purposeful Fashion Ecosystem- BUY/SELL/RENT/LEND/ (swap BETA 2021) mobile application, INDIVIDUALS & brands (BETA 2021) are encouraged to REBUY, RESELL, REUSE and UP-CYCLE their personal “Closets” aka Clothing Assets, along with overstock inventory and samples. Through this consumerism habit shift we indirectly slow down the urgency on fashion’s carbon footprint, aiding sustainability as a whole.
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