Unlike throwaway fast fashion, Levi’s® makes their jeans to be worn and get better with age

Karen Madej

Introduced during WW2, Levi’s® became more than the hardwearing materials needed to stand up to the wear and tear of good old-fashioned manual labor, on farms, and in factories. Movie stars like Marilyn Munro in River of No Return and The Misfits and James Dean in Rebel Without a Cause made 501’s famous and desirable to fans.

Levi Strauss arrived in San Francisco in 1852. He opened a dry goods store to serve the gold rush dreamers and diggers and soon saw hard-working people needed tough clothing. Tailor Jacob Davis and Levi added copper rivets to pockets on heavy denim. First called waist overalls, we now know them as ‘blue jeans.’

These days, Levi’s® walks the talk. (But do they?) They design their products to be worn and get better with age. Their mission is to change the clothing industry for good. Their mantra:

Buy better. Wear longer.

In the UK, Marks and Spencer - affectionately known as - M&S source ethically grown cotton mostly in Bangladesh and pay their Bangladeshi factory workers a fair wage. The UK high street favorite brand sticks to its Global Sourcing Principles for guaranteed good working conditions and pay. Good for you rates them: it’s a start.

100% of the cotton for our clothing is sustainably sourced, and always will be. By partnering with the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI), we’re empowering farmers to be more efficient with water, care for soil health and respect biodiversity – all in an effort to slow down climate change. M&S Cotton Commitment

Some companies act responsibly. Levi’s® appears to walk the talk. Their website gives us all the information they want to share. Their profits also increased 198%, as reported by Forbes.


Their factory in Egypt looks like a great place to work. But good for you rates them: A good start. Levi’s gets a 4/5 for caring about the planet but 2/5 each for people and animals.

Today, one of the first truly American garments remains a booming business — the average American owns seven pairs of blue jeans, and approximately 450 million pairs of jeans are sold in the United States per year.

In the 1960s the US manufactured 95% of clothing and shoes. By 2017 the US manufactured only 2% of clothing and shoes. The History of American-Made Clothing.

You can still find 100% made in the US, from California and other verified US cotton sources and sewn in the US. Cheapism finds the companies that have the best products that use American cotton producers and garment manufacturers. I can’t vouch for who stitches the cloth together, their working conditions, or their pay, though.

According to Wikipedia, “as of 2019, the vast majority of Levi’s are made overseas in a number of developing countries, such as India, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, and Indonesia, due to the availability of cheap labor and raw materials. Some styles in the “Levi’s Premium” and “Levi’s Vintage Clothing” lines are, however, made in the United States.”Alternatives

The US has online and physical consignment shops. Places where you can drop off an item for them to sell. If it sells, you will receive between 30-80% of the sale price. Many of these shops and eBay customers look for gently used designer clothing and accessories. Consignment shops are an excellent incentive to sell or invest in more expensive but high-quality clothing.

Levi’s® makes their jeans last a lifetime, unlike cheap, throwaway plastic fast fashion. Their production techniques use fewer resources, create less waste, and promote wearing and keeping clothes longer. They haven’t reached 100% sustainability yet but have made a good start.

They’ve saved 4.2 billion liters of water since introducing ‘Water<Less®’ in 2011. They’ve reused and recycled 6 billion liters of water. They care about where their cotton comes from, and 75% of it is sustainably sourced. It’s also important to Levi’s® that Worker Well-being programs run in their factories. Currently, 65% do so.

If you must buy new cotton or denim clothing, Levi’s® offers good advice:

Buy better. Wear longer.

Look for organic cotton as it is unlikely to contain toxic chemicals from pesticides and dyes. It’s good for your, the workers, and the planet’s health.

Secondhand cotton and denim clothing cost a fraction of the original price, plus your choice means a good quality piece of clothing gets a new life with you, and you support various charities and small businesses.

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Passionate about climate change and living a debt-free, sustainable life. Determined to learn how to and build an adobe house or Earthship. The goal is to live off-grid and off the land. Energy for heat and to power electrical devices and appliances will use solar, wind, and hydro-powered electricity. No trees will die to make my home.


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