At one point the majority of denim brands Levi’s, 7 For All Mankind, Earnest Sewn, and J Brand offered at least one pair of organic cotton jeans and while it may have seemed like a gimmicky sales tactic, cotton is one of the worst offenders when it comes to the use of chemical pesticides and fertilizers. In fact the Sustainable Cotton Project, has released data showing that the cotton industry is responsible for 25 percent of the world’s chemical pesticides and fertilizers. So if cotton is so damaging to the environment, why have we lost interest in organic environmentally friendly denim? In fact nearly all of the denim brands that once carried organic denim have stopped.
Denim companies argue that they are now taking into consideration water use, dye impact, soil health, labor issues and fair trade. H & M, Adidas, Nike, and Levi’s have all recently joined the Better Cotton Initiative, a nonprofit, which focuses on sustainable-agriculture techniques, water use and economic and labor issues. The initiative which is focused on cotton farms in India and Pakistan will aim to reduced chemical use and water consumption by a third. However, this cotton will not likely be ready to used in clothing until spring 2012, and will be blended with conventional cotton at first. It can take a while for industries to shift practices, but it seem a shame to see them move away from organic practices.
All of this begs the question was organic denim popular or do we not really care. Either way the future of eco-fashion is certainly up for debate.
By Laura | January 13th, 2011