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Let’s talk about jeans

All Areas > Health & Beauty > Vintage & Sustainable Fashion

Author: Lynda Rowland, Posted: Friday, 4th October 2019, 09:00

As Autumn arrives and we cast off our lightweight layers, we need to talk about jeans.

Unfortunately, these most popular items of clothing come at a considerable cost to the environment and to the health of the people who make them.

Approximately 1,500 gallons of water are used to grow the amount of cotton needed to make one pair of jeans. This usage is a major issue, especially as the toxic concoction of fertilisers and pesticides used during the cotton’s cultivation causes huge pollution issues and problems with water recycling.

Synthetic chemicals and pigments have taken over from natural dyes and can also be dangerous for the workforce.

Aspects of the production and manufacture of jeans also make them extremely difficult to recycle. Some ethically conscious clothing brands are already researching eco-friendly production techniques but, understandably, these are expensive. This, coupled with fair pay and safe working conditions, inevitably results in higher market prices.

Obviously a £150 pair of jeans is not accessible to everyone, so what can we do whilst we wait for things to change?

It may feel good to buy a pair of jeans for around £10 but, before you do, please consider that the cheaper they are the greater the cost will have been to the environment and to the health and well-being of those who made them. So, let’s give our jeans some thought.

Firstly, assess your shape. Not your desired jeans shape, but your own body. Is it really true that there is a style of jeans to suit everyone? I’m afraid my answer to that is ‘no’!

Jeans started life as workwear and moved into casual dress, yet nowadays they seem to be accepted on almost all occasions. However, if you cannot say you are 100% happy when you view yourself from all angles in your jeans, without having to resort to a long top to cover your ‘bad bits’, why not try a different look?

A pair of tailored trousers or chinos could be much more flattering!

If you still decide you are a dedicated jeans wearer, you could probably benefit from editing your collection. Just keep those you feel really good in and donate the other pairs to charity. That way you could prevent another pair of cut-price, mass-produced jeans being sold on the high street.

Why not also try having a few jeans-free days in the week? It’s easy to become lazy and just throw on jeans every day, but you could create some more imaginative outfits and find yourself standing out from the denim-clad crowd.

If you really feel the need to buy more jeans, try to invest in one good, classic pair – not too skinny or flared – from an ethical brand. Alternatively, try a good vintage store or online second-hand outlet. Quality jeans are very durable and you could probably pick up a hardly-worn, but originally expensive pair.

You can then congratulate yourself on being a socially-sustainable shopper with a clear environmental conscience!

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