READING 8 C1-C2 ADVANCED Green jeans
Back in 2007, Levi´s did a cradle-to-grave assesment of the resourses required for its famous 501 denim and found out something surprising: its jeans were practically made of water. The San Francisco -based company discovered that over the lifetime of its jeans, from the cotton fields needed to make the fabric to consumers´tossing their dirty dungarees in the washing machine, each pair used up 3,480 L of water, which is the equivalent of running a garden hose for 106 min.
There wasn´t much Levi´s could change about cotton farming or consumer hygiene, but company executives realized they could use ozone processing to reduce the amount of washing needed to soften the jeans before they´re sold. The result is Levi´s Water Less jeans. On average, the jeans will cost the same as conventional ones and use 28% less water, so if we multiply that by more than 1.5 million pairs expected to sell, they´ll save about 16 million L of water.
Fashion may seem low impact, but growing cotton and other fibers involves a lot of water and fertilizer, and a great deal of energy is needed to manufacture, ship and eventually, wash and maintain the clothes that wind up in your hamper.
One way to shrink fashion´s environmental impact is through efficiency initiatives that reduce the need for water, pesticides and energy in the manufacture of clothes.
Some fashion pioneers are trying to push the boundaries of sustainability further by purposefully designing clothes that leave little to no waste. This involves techniques like creating a scrap-free pattern that fits together like a puzzle. But the overall look still has to be attractive.
For now, however, zero waste is on the margins of design, and efficiency improvements like this are barely a drop in the bucket. That´s why the most dedicated followers of sustainable fashion might want to limit the amount of clothing they buy -and make sure those choices last a long time.