SHOWCASING BRANDS THAT PRODUCE ETHICAL AND ECO-FRIENDLY PRODUCTS
Cotton. While it covers only three percent of the world’s arable land, it consumes more chemical pesticides than any other crop globally, and accounts for 50 percent of the world’s fibre needs. With a massive demand for textiles to clothe the world’s population, cotton production is perpetually on the rise, and with it come some pretty heavy consequences for the planet.
Some of the chemicals that are so prevalent in conventionally farmed cotton have even been classed as “probable carcinogens” by the World Health Organisation – this is a worry when you consider the fact that cotton doesn’t grow and pick itself. Workers are exposed to harmful chemicals, water supplies are contaminated and wildlife is negatively impacted.
That’s where organic cotton comes in. Opting for organic means that farmers can reduce the chemical load on the environment and their workers, while also increasing long term carbon-storage in the soil which is beneficial for climate change. Organic farming also supports biodiversity conservation by protecting larger numbers of beneficial beetles, spiders, earthworms, birds, bees and more.
Right from the beginning, Nudie Jeans Co made it clear that they were out to redefine denim and shake things up with a focus on sustainable and organic raw materials on the production line. Now, it’s been six years since their entire range transitioned to 100% Organic Cotton and they’re still going strong.
Being big fans of quality denim as a wardrobe staple, we decided to track down Bryce Alton, the CEO of Nudie Australasia to chat about how we can put our money where our mouth is when we buy a pair of jeans.
Curious to hear about all the ways that Nudie lives and breathes sustainability and denim? Join the conversation!
Bryce, thanks for catching up! For those who don’t know, can you tell us who you are and what you do at Nudie?
My name is Bryce Alton and I’m the CEO for Nudie jeans Australasia. I oversee all departments and work alongside a great group of people.
Has Nudie always had a sustainability focus? How did this focus first come about?
I’ve been working with NJCO since 2002 and the direction has always had both human and environmental sustainability in mind. At the beginning it was very challenging to make jeans from organic denim. However, by 2012 we had achieved our goal of having the entire denim collection created from 100% Organic Cotton and we haven’t looked back since. The driving force behind the sustainability foundation of the brand was our Founder and Creative Designer Maria Erixon. Her dream came to life to make a denim brand that was sustainable using the best fabrics in the world.
Why the push to Organic Cotton?
Producing cotton is a massive undertaking on the environment and has the potential to do a lot of harm if not responsibly produced. By using 100% Organic Cotton across our entire range, we hope to encourage other denim brands to follow suit for the sake of the environment and the impact chemicals have on the workers involved.
Can you explain for us how Nudie ‘Dry’ denim works?
Pictures speak a thousand words and there is nothing more beautiful than seeing how a pair of Dry jeans look, when worn in. Like a fingerprint; no two pairs are alike. For best results, we encourage “Dry” jeans (the really dark un-washed/un-treated ones) to be worn for at least six months to allow the fading to occur. This natural transfer of the indigo is where the magic happens depending on your life story.
When it comes to reusing and recycling – how does Nudie commit to keeping jeans in circulation and out of the landfill for longer?
We offer FREE repairs at all our Nudie Jeans Repair Stores around the world. In 2017 alone we repaired 49,235 pairs of jeans and collected 7463 which were then re-sold as RE-USE denim or used as patching material. It means we kept approx. 40,000 kilos of clothes from being thrown away and saved 345,000,000 liters of water!! *Every pair of Nudie jeans comes with a promise of FREE repairs, or a 20% off trade in value, no matter WHEN or where you got them.
What’s the big deal with transparency? How do you try to keep things transparent so customers can see the Nudie sustainability focus for themselves?
Transparency is key to us as a business as we believe that the owner of a pair of Nudies deserves to know exactly how, when and where their jeans were products and sourced. Check out www.nudiejeans.com to read as much as you like!
Where do you see the future of sustainability and denim? Do you see more and more consumers asking the questions that matter?
Sustainability becomes more of a focus every day as we continue as a planet to understand the impact of consumption on the earth. Customers are becoming more and more aware not only with denim and clothing but also with food. What we are putting IN and ON our bodies is as important as the processes of how they are prepared and made, to ensure our future generations can enjoy great products and produce.
Has working at Nudie made you more environmentally aware in other areas of your life?
Once you know what goes into anything, it is hard to forget and should not be ignored. Therefore, when I’m buying clothes for myself I’m always doing as much research as possible. Most importantly, I carefully make my decisions no matter the price, to ensure I need the item before buying. When it comes to items I already own I ask myself “can I fix my current item (i.e. toaster etc.) before buying a new one?” This saves resources and landfill waste! If you go into my closet, my jeans are all repaired some being used for over 10 years. I even have tee’s and sweaters, 12 years old, that have been produced with fantastic materials to ensure quality and ALLOW them the opportunity to be repaired/saved.
What’s one thing you want readers to know about sustainability and fashion?
Buy items you love, take care of them and make sure they don’t have a negative effect on the planet.
Can’t think of a better mantra - thanks for catching up Bryce!