Slow Jeans


Last updated: December 2015


Jeans: Champions of Sustainable Fashion?


Our penchant for hurrying the long-lived jean through its natural life-cycle is peculiar. After prematurely fading it and making artificial holes in it, we keep it in our wardrobe for a year or so, wear it a handful of times if it’s lucky, then chuck it away. Until the next more fashionable jean takes its place.

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But amongst these blue depths of despair, there is hope!

Thanks to their continued appeal in various states of (dis)repair, and in-built longevity, jeans have the potential to become a beacon of sustainability in the fashion world. A growing movement of people prize their oldest pair of denims as a wearable chronicle of their past adventures. And there are brands popping up which challenge the overconsumption of denim in all sorts of ways.

Raw denim

This is a term for un-faded denim. Denim purists get an authentic distressed look by not washing their jeans at all for the first six months. The resulting marks are a true reflection of your own unique shape, movements and lifestyle. Hiut will even pay you to wear in a new pair of their raw jeans for 6 months! Denim Breaker Club members pay a deposit, then simply wear a pair of Hiut jeans for six months (without washing them!). After this time, you can return them and receive 20% of the sale by way of payment. 


Free repairs

Both larger companies and niche jeans brands are beginning to offer life-long free repair services for their jeans. Even what appears irreparable damage can be salvaged by a denim expert - if you don’t believe it check out the Denim Doctor website! And of course denim lovers are even more enchanted by a pair of jeans displaying the scars of a life well lived. Mud Jeans, Hiut and Nudie all offer a free jeans repair service, the latter two with an in-store service.


Lease your jeans

Some jeans brands are also developing innovative new business models which challenge the notion of ‘ownership’ of garments. Mud Jeans doesn’t sell you a pair of jeans – it leases them to you.

Taken from Mud website 


You make monthly payments, and after 12 months it will offer you a new pair. If you choose to take a new pair, you return the old ones and continue making the monthly payments. Your returned jeans are sold on to someone who prefers a more worn-in look, or if they’re beyond re-use, they’ll be recycled into new products. 


Composting jeans

Upcycling pioneers FREITAG, who started out transforming lorry tarps into bags, have lately turned their attention to denim. They’ve developed a fabric which contains no cotton but is entirely compostable, with the single exception of a removable and re-usable button. 

F-ABRIC jeans will biodegrade completely within about two months on a compost heap.

Have a go at composting. Any natural materials will biodegrade (cotton, hemp, linen etc.), but don’t put any clothes containing synthetic fibres on the heap. Also, unless you’re buying jeans like F-ABRIC which are made of 100% biodegradable materials, you’ll first need to remove the stitching and any zips, buttons or leather patches.






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