Chip Bergh, CEO of Levi Strauss & Co, recently talked about denim care in front of Huffington Post. At a conference prior to that he had admitted that the jeans he would wear every day “hadn’t seen the inside of a washing machine — and the jeans were more than a year old”. Some people understood his statement as advice to never wash your jeans, but that wasn’t exactly what he meant.
The bigger picture is of significance. He has been concerned with sustainability and is not a supporter of the frequent usage of a washing machine, once every two or three wearings of a pair of denim trousers. He claims that he strongly believes in the brand’s main ideals: “quality, durability and lasting products”.
A study conducted by the VP of Sustainability, Michael Kobori, and other experts in 2007 showed that a pair of jeans consumes about 3,500 liters of water after about two years of use, if they are washed once a week. The astonishing results made the company wonder how the water consumption could be reduced, so began with limiting the water used in producing the jeans. However, it turned out it was only 4% of the total.
Many initiatives like Levi’s Water Less line and Better Cotton Initiative were launched, so that the water used in cotton production and the jeans’ creation would be significantly reduced. Still, a little less than 50% of the water consumed by jeans was in the hands of clients. So they created the “Care Tag for the Planet”. The CEO of Levi Strauss & Co recommends that you wash your jeans rarely or at least simply spot clean them if they aren’t too dirty. Hand-washing and hand-drying is also an option.
Changing laundry habits can make a huge difference to the environment. So why not start yourself? After all, we all need water and we all live on this planet, and jeans do not help us survive.