Jeans are the foundation on which many wardrobes are built. They're democratic, timeless and worn by people of all ages, sizes and genders around the world. They are also, however, bad news for the environment, given that it can take up to 1,800 gallons of water to produce just a single pair of jeans. This is why the Ellen MacArthur Foundation has launched its Jeans Redesign Guidelines, in the hope that brands will sign up and reconsider the way in which they produce their jeans, so as to make them last longer.
As part of the Make Fashion Circular Initiative, the Guidelines state that metal rivets should be reduced to a minimum, so as to make jeans more recyclable. It also states that jeans should be able to "withstand a minimum of 30 home laundries, while still meeting the minimum quality requirements of the brands."
Francois Souchet, Make Fashion Circular's Lead said: "The way we produce jeans is causing huge problems with waste and pollution, but it doesn’t have to be this way. By working together we can create jeans that last longer, that can be remade into new jeans at the end of their use, and are made in ways which are better for the environment and the people that make them. This is just the start. Over time we will continue to drive momentum towards a thriving fashion industry, based on the principles of a circular economy."
Some major brands have already signed up, including H&M, Weekday, Tommy Hilfiger, Lee, Reformation and sustainable denim brand Boyish. Just last week, the charity Barnardo's reported that in the UK, consumers will buy over 50 million outfits this summer that will only be worn once, so if the new Jeans Redesign Guidelines help to ensure that we're all investing in a product that is better made and lasts longer, that can only be a good thing.