Is California the Sustainable Fashion Capital of the US?

Allbirds. Levi Strauss. Nike. The North Face. Patagonia. Reformation. Think of an American brand with an earth-conscious bent and chances are it’s from California. The Golden State’s legacy of environmental protection runs deep. For decades, it has led on pollution, chemical, and conservation policies that have often served as proof-of-concept models for other states and…

In Denim, Investing in Sustainable Technology Is the New Normal

Eco-friendly denim is more ubiquitous than ever, but bringing it to market hasn’t been easy. Nor cheap, for that matter. While planet-pandering technologies—think Jeanologia’s water-sipping denim-finishing systems, Tonello’s bleach-less OBleach or Archroma’s botanically derived EarthColors—are increasingly available, they also require upfront costs from the mills that employ them. “Sustainability is really linked to research and…

Denim’s Resale Revolution

Used. Secondhand. Thrifted. Pre-loved. Whatever you call it, resale is becoming big business. The proof is in the statistics: Not only has the clothing re-commerce market grown 21 times faster than its retail counterpart over the past three years, according to secondhand e-tailer ThredUp, which crunched the numbers with analytics firm GlobalData for its 2019…

Eternal Life: How the Denim Industry is Pushing Circularity

Few garments are as tailor-made for the circular economy as denim. When Jacob Davis and Levi Strauss invented rivet-reinforced blue jeans as we know them in 1850s San Francisco, they conceived of them as workwear for prospectors in the grip of the gold rush. For circularity pundits, who want to keep resources in circulation as…

For Denim, Progress Makes Perfect

It’s hard to tell when denim decided it wanted to be a sustainable product. Perhaps it was in 2010, when reports of a “silicosis epidemic” that cost the lives of sandblasting workers hit the mainstream press. Or maybe it was after Greenpeace investigators described blackened rivers in China, India, and Mexico marbled with fetid plumes…

Are Denim-Recycling Initiatives Green or Greenwashing?

Denim recycling isn’t an issue that would strike most people as being controversial. Who wants to see more textiles destined for the dump? And surely with all that Marie Kondo-ing going around, all those joyless jeans must go somewhere. And indeed, schemes such as Cotton Incorporated’s Blue Jeans Go Green initiative—the largest and most successful…

Hemp or Hype?

Industrial hemp is in the spotlight again, and for good reason. The new Farm Bill that the Senate passed 87-13 in December now legalizes the commercial production of hemp, freeing it from the shackles of the Controlled Substance Act and severely curtailing the number of restrictions that have prevented farmers from raising it as a…

How Levi’s and Outerknown Reclaimed Hemp from the Hippies

Rare is the San Francisco party where Paul Dillinger, head of global product innovation at Levi Strauss, isn’t accosted by “some hippie” extolling the wonders of industrial hemp and demanding to know why the denim giant isn’t doing more with it. “The answer is always, ‘Well, just look at yourself hippie,’” Dillinger told Rivet with…

Axing Aniline? Not so Fast.

Aniline is a problem for the denim industry. Or it isn’t. It depends on whom you ask. Certainly the chemical, a building block for synthetic indigo, is the cause of some concern for Archroma, a Swiss specialty chemicals firm that debuted a so-called “aniline-free” indigo dye, which boasts undetectable levels of the agent, in May….

Denim Manufacturing Plots Comeback to NYC’s Garment District

One style of jean—just one. That’s all Christine Rucci wants brands to commit to making in New York City. In the 35 years she’s spent working with “pretty much every major designer and denim icon,” including Adriano Goldschmied, Ralph Lauren, and Donna Karan, Rucci has witnessed Manhattan’s historic Garment District transform from the epicenter of…

This Fall, Blue Jeans are Going Green

No, your eyes don’t deceive you. Blue jeans are getting greener—figuratively speaking, anyway. It was only a matter of time before the humble workwear staple-turned-fashion essential reinvented itself. As shoppers begin to look askance at products that don’t dovetail with their values, denim’s reputation as a resource-hungry pollution powerhouse hasn’t served it well. Environmental groups…