Is the jeans you wear polluting the earth?

THE STAR – We often talk about spring cleaning, but back-to-school and the fall is also the ideal time to put your life in order, as well as your wardrobe, in order to start the new season on the right foot.

And since 2021 is all about consumer awareness, why not take advantage of this time to make your wardrobe more sustainable?

Starting with our jeans, one of the most polluting – and most worn – items in the world. Jeans have a place in our closets… as long as we choose them carefully.

A must-have in both men’s and women’s wardrobes, jeans have been subject to much scrutiny as environmental sustainability has become, quite rightly, a main concern of brands and consumers alike.

In fact, jeans have been criticised and for some environmentalists are “THE” piece to banish from our wardrobes. But this radical solution is not necessarily the most realistic, as denim has taken a starring role in our wardrobes in recent decades.

We’re here to reassure you, it’s not necessary to go to those extremes because many brands now offer jeans that combine quality, durability and responsible production. As long as you make the right choices…

Brands have been putting forward, one after another, more sustainable denim collections for several months now.

Their revamped approaches include the choice of less polluting fibres, such as GOTS certified organic cotton, recycled cotton, or Tencel, which are the most common – but these aren’t the only ones.

These raw materials not only reduce water consumption, but also chemical use and carbon emissions.

When you renew your wardrobe, consider this important criterion when choosing your new jeans.

In her investigation Unraveled – The Life And Death Of A Garment published in June, Maxine Bedat followed the journey of an average pair of jeans, which starts in a cotton farm in Texas and ends in Amazon’s warehouses after having stopped in sewing workshops in Bangladesh.

A near interminable journey – a pair of jeans can travel up to 65,000 kilometres according to Ademe, France’s Agency for ecological transition – which is just extremely polluting because of the numerous transports used for this perilous journey.

And beyond the question of environmental sustainability, Bedat also points out the working conditions of the textile workers, also to be taken into account.

It is therefore better to opt for local manufacturing, wherever you are in the world.