The future belongs to ecological denim

If we were to name one piece of clothing above all others in the western world, it would undoubtedly be blue jeans. Denim has become the cornerstone of urban fashion – it’s a symbol, an icon, a classic.

Contrary to the common belief, the history of jeans began in Europe, where the navy mariners used jeans as work trousers already in the 16th century. Denim was invented by the French.

The better-known part of history is that Levi Strauss, in the 19th century the United States, started manufacturing durable jeans made at first of hemp and later of cotton.

In the ’50s, the American jeans made their way into the popular culture of the youth with such a blast, we all know what followed. The jeans never went out of fashion – and probably never will.


Different styles of jeans

During the decades, the topical design of jeans has varied greatly. The most fashionable of the Summer 2021 styles is the 70’s favorite flare with generous wide legs all the way.

Another topical design this season is boyfriend with a carrot-shaped cut and narrow legs. The jeans literally look like they are borrowed from a boyfriend, but are very popular amongst women right now.

A more loose-fit version of the boyfriend design is mom, with a high and loose waist but narrow legs. Even more relaxed style is balloon, generously wide carrot cut, with often slightly cropped legs.

Classic designs include straight of which the typical example would be Levi’s 501, and slim, which is almost the same but with an even slimmer style.

Also skinny jeans, tight fit with a bit of stretch, have become quite popular in the last years. In the ’80s, both skinny and slim styles were supposed to be so tight, that you could not really breathe easy and the only way to get them on was to lay on the floor on your back. Nowadays we seem to appreciate a little more comfort in fashion too.

Bootcut was a super popular design in the ’90s and has made its way back to the world now again. In this design, the legs get wider down from the knees. In the grooviest bootcut jeans around the ’70s and ’90s, there were also some crease details to underline the bell shape.

Low-cut jeans have a low waistline with a short zipper, just the opposite to the high waist jeans.

Long-life cotton is comfortable to wear

Jeans are most commonly made of cotton, which is a durable and breathable material. The fabric is called denim. Cotton gets softer with time; we all recognize the loveliness of long used denim and bedclothes!

Cotton is a natural fiber and gives a long lifespan to the products made of it. The clothes can endure countless washes without fluffing or linting. Sometimes the cotton in jeans is accompanied by other fibers too, to get some stretch in the denim fabric.

Cotton, or organic cotton?

The cultivation of cotton takes a lot of water and quite a bunch of harmful pesticides and fertilizers. Growing organic cotton is more sustainable – there is no use of such chemicals, and no GMO seeds allowed. In addition, the methods used in organic farming protect the soil. The most common certificate of organic cotton is GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standards).

Nowadays, ecological clothes production also utilizes recycled cotton that comes from used textiles as well as the leftover fabrics of the textile industry. This helps reduce the amount of textile waste and saves a notable amount of water and other resources when compared to the traditional manufacturing of cotton.

Are jeans unecological?

As the transparency of the clothing industry increases, the problems of the huge global jeans production are coming to daylight. Producing denim in the mass fashion industry is typically unecological. Manufacturing denim and the raw materials for it swallows insane amounts of water.

Denim is often processed with harmful chemicals, which also harms the people working in the production chain. It’s not unusual that the working conditions and facilities lack sufficient safety standards. Coloring and dye include dangerous substances as well as finishing processes, such as stonewash and sandblasting. PP spray (potassium permanganate) causes lung problems to the workers inhaling it because the spray gun transforms the chemicals into easily absorbing particles.

How to purchase sustainable jeans

1. Choose a sustainable brand

A sustainable clothing brand invests in environmental and social responsibility in their whole production chain. Ecological jeans are manufactured in well-established and safe conditions. The brands guarantee a fair rate of pay and appropriate working conditions to all their workers and make sure not to risk their health during the manufacturing process.

Ecological jeans brands pay attention to the physical labor conditions, coloring and finishing agents, the recycling percentages of materials, the usage of water and recycling it, and the usage of chemicals and energy. Check out the principles and selections of for example the awesome brands Kuyichi, Mud Jeans, andKings of Indigo.

All of the fashion brands presented at IVALO.COM meet the sustainability criteria developed in collaboration with Aalto University.

2. Choose your material

If you’re looking for jeans for life, traditional cotton might be the most durable option. If you’d like to follow the trends and change the design of your jeans more often, you probably prefer organic or recycled cotton to match your total consumption. The denim with less harmful chemicals is more healthy for the wearer, too.

There’s no absolute truth, but nonetheless, we have the chance to consider and compensate out carbon print to the best of our ability. In the future, we are also going to see jeans made of alternative materials for sure.

3. Personal eco jeans are the best

Finding the jeans just for you is not the easiest task, so when you run into your own personal favorite brand or design, stick to it tight! Wash, repair, and take care of your jeans with love, and you will have a loyal, perfect-fit comfy denim partner for a loooong time.

It’s not recommended to wash your jeans very often. It’s better to ventilate them in the fresh air and remove stains locally. Don’t leave them lying around in a pile of laundry, but instead hang them to get some air while you’re not using them.

Wash your denim inside out in cool water. Even though cotton can take higher temperatures as well, for jeans 30C-40C degrees is enough. Use a gentle detergent that protects the color. Avoid tumble drying, the jeans like to dry on their own. If your denim has some stretch in it, it’s better to lay it to dry than hang.

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