Levi’s is a brand that is trying to encourage their consumers to be conscious when they purchase a pair of jeans.
This brand has always been a leader in sustainability. Through their initiatives, Levi’s is trying to make a real impact in the world and hopefully change the way people think about clothes.
The oldest denim brand ever was founded by Levi Strauss, who first established a wholesale dry goods business in San Francisco under his own name and served as the West Coast representative of the family’s New York firm.
Meanwhile, Jacob Davis, a Latvian Jewish immigrant, disclosed a unique way to make pants for his clients through the use of rivets at points of strain to make them last longer. In his tailor shop, Davis made functional items such as tents, horse blankets and wagon covers for the railway workers on the Central Pacific Railroad. The fabric Davis worked with was heavy-duty cotton duck cloth and cotton denim which he bought from Levi Strauss & Co. Due to higher demand for pants, in 1872 he decided to talk with Levis Strauss about patenting this new idea. Strauss agreed, and on May 20th, 1873, US Patent No. 139,121 for “Improvements in fastening pocket openings” was issued in the name of Jacob W. Davis and Levi Strauss and Company.
Since then Levi’s jeans became popular among a wide range of youth subcultures, including greasers, mods, rockers, and hippies.
But this company has a long history of caring — both for the communities in which they work and live and for the environment. They’ve made their vision a reality by focusing on the three areas they cared the most to have an impact: the planet, production and people.
This vision is coming from their founders. I was delighted to find out that Levi Strauss himself was a great philanthropist. He was a contributor to a benevolent organization (Pacific Hebrew Orphan Asylum) and provided scholarships at the University of California, Berkeley, all of which are still in place today.
Let’s take a look at a few initiatives that bring to life Levi’s sustainability commitments:
- The company launched Worker Well-being, a program to improve the lives of apparel workers outside the factory walls.
- They were the first company in their industry to establish global guidelines for water quality standards for our suppliers.
- They were one of the first companies in their industry to establish a Restricted Substances List.
- They were the first to prove financial incentives for garment suppliers in developing countries to upgrade environmental, health, safety and labor standards
- They introduced an innovative Waste Less™ process in order to make their product lifecycle more sustainable.
- They come up with the ‘Are You Ready to Come Clean?’ quiz, through which consumers discover how much water and energy they use compared to an average and are asked to pledge to make reductions.
- They have a program called the Levi Strauss Collabatory where they bring together small designers who share their values and help them integrate sustainability into their young new businesses.
- Levi’s brings their educational messaging into the classroom through a partnership with Project WET foundation to provide a water conservation curriculum for students delivered through Levi’s “water ambassadors” – employees volunteering to deliver the curriculum.
They are constantly striving to increase transparency (there is a public factory list on their website) about where their products are made and improve the condition of workers in those places. Their aim with these decisions is also to change the rules of the business and determine the other brands, retailer and vendors to do the same.
Paul Dillinger, the head of global product innovation at Levi Strauss & CoInstead claims in one of his interviews: ¨what we’re trying to do is encourage our consumer to be conscious that when they purchase a pair of jeans, that is not an isolated event. The garment had an impact before they purchased it, in terms of people that made it and the waste that was involved in creating it. And it’s going to exist long after they’re done owning it.¨
I encourage people to demand this responsibility and transparency from every brand they consume. It’s not so hard to consume consciously, it is just a question of getting informed and choosing new priorities. I’m far from being perfect when it comes to consumption but I’m in a process of educating myself so I can know which purchases are the ones to make.
Until now you can make an idea about why do I choose Levis. Those not so well-known facts mentioned above(caring about the planet, production and people) and their indisputable quality and comfort. These jeans are helping me to find my way to shine by accentuating my effortless, sporty, playful and tomboy style, as you might see in the pictures.
I’m wearing the model Line 8 and 525, and Olya is wearing the model 501.I´m also wearing a T-shirt from Fimamento(a local surf fashion brand).
Credit photo Li Zhiying