Dirty Is Clean. Don't Wash Your Jeans.

In sustainable fashion, we hear a lot about waterless dyes and reducing the use of water in garment production. With the drought in California, the home of high end denim, companies are making drastic changes to the way they produce jeans. In 2013, Levi's conducted a lifecycle assessment of a pair of their jeans to "help LS&Co. and others in the apparel sector take more effective and holistic approaches to our industry’s environmental impact". 

The assessment was comprehensive, and I was shocked to learn that 23% of water consumption and 37% of climate change impact comes from consumer care — mainly from laundering. But this revelation also gave me hope because it's something that we consumers have real control over; by simply washing our clothes less we can make a significant impact on resource use. 

Inhabitat reports that the United States is currently primed for the worst drought recorded in the last 1,000 years due to climate change. “Projections by climate scientists at Columbia University show the U.S. will experience droughts throughout the 21st century far worse than the one in wreaking havoc in California, while data from NASA shows carbon emissions could be the driving force behind the massive water shortages.”

The world, including the fashion industry and consumers, need to act in unison to address water waste. This is where you have power to make change.

What can you do? Simply wash your jeans less. The Brooklyn Fashion + Design Accelerator is running a campaign under the hashtag #10Wears1Wash. If you wear your jeans 10 times before you wash them (rather than the average American's 2.3 times), you can reduce water usage by 77% over the life of your jeans. Increase the impact by sharing the news that "dirty is clean" and we can significantly reduce water usage due to laundering. 

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The #10Wears1Wash campaign will culminate on June 17th, which is World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought. The day was created by the United Nations in 1994 to highlight the urgent need to curb the desertification process and strengthen the visibility of the drylands issue on the international environmental agenda. Twenty-one years later, the world needs and lacks more water than ever. 

Head over to the BF+DA blog to read more about what you can do and to learn about a giveaway by Brooklyn Denim Co.


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