I still start to giggle when I think about those old Fruit of the Loom commercials with the dancing apples and grapes, so I was dismayed to find out recently that the process to make those 100% cotton underoos is more puce than green.
As it turns out, cotton is one of the most pesticide-dependent crops in use today, accounting for over 25% of the world’s pesticide pollution and contributing heavily to the contamination of ground water and soil. In other words, your “but-I-need-a-new-pair-of-jeans” habit may be encouraging the damage of local ecosystems across the world! Eeek.
The good news is that several designers are now producing denim lines made from 100% organic cotton. (Think washed dancing apple and grapes.) Like other organic products, this cotton is produced under strict processing regulations to ensure that it is free from any harmful toxins or chemicals. The result? All-natural jeans to satisfy your habit and help you treat the world a little more kindly.
Levi’s has led the pack in the organic denim movement, when in comes to established, big-name jeans brands. The company introduced their “Levi’s Eco” line a few years ago, which are not only made entirely from organic cotton, but boast recycled zippers, rivets, and buttons and colored with a special dye made from potato starch, mimosa flower, and Marseille soap. The eco-friendly Levi’s are available in several popular fits and finishes and are embroidered with a lowercase "e" either inside the front pocket or at the bottom of the right leg of each jean to signify their green-ness.
The Levis Eco mid-rise bootcut ($68) has a great, modern silhouette and comes in three washes: midnight sheen, wendy (indigo with a soft yellow tint), and Abby (bleached-out blue).
New for spring are the Eco Skinny Jeans ($59), which are perfect in purple or one of their other pastel washes.
Boutique brand Loomstate also has a great selection of styles, fits and colors, ranging from skinny-leg pants to mini skirts. Loomstate’s Justice jean ($70), which has a bit of stretch and a classic bootcut leg, is best in the chic dirty dark wash.
Although I harbor a hippie streak, the idea of organic clothing initially gave me visions of scratchy hemp lounge pants in earth tones. This new wave is certain a welcome alternative and a move towards the positive. But all things considered, it seems to like there’s only one really effective way to go green: cut back on your clothing consumption! I propose you wear your jeans out and cut them into cute shorts when the knees rub bare. Now that’s an idea. Are you up for it? Let us know if you'd part with your favorite, but not so eco-friendly denim to go green.