Jeans come in a variety of colors, but there are two reasons ours come in just a dark wash.


The original jean was a dark wash, and the same style still looks great today. It is a versatile look that is just as functional at the office as it is at the bar. You can’t go wrong with a dark pair of jeans. Except perhaps if you are at a wedding. Probably should be wearing a suit there. Otherwise, though, it’s hard to mess up an outfit that starts with dark jeans. Whether you pair it with a white tee, a baggy sweater, comfy flannel, or tucked in button down, the look just works.


The other great part of dark wash jeans is they continue to become unique to you over time. The indigo used to dye jeans is unstable in nature. Unlike most dyes used in textiles and apparel, indigo does not form a permanent bond with fabric fibers. Instead of a chemical bond, it forms a physical one. This is why crocking, or when the indigo color rubs off onto another fabric or surface due to physical contact occurs. And crocking is one of the reasons denim heads love raw denim. The stress you put on the jeans creates fades in the creases, seams and other worn areas over time. It gives each jean a unique personality.


After growing the cotton necessary for standard jeans, finishing the jeans for the desired color and feel is the most resource intensive step in the whole process. On average, 18 gallons of water is required for each pair of jeans. For context, that is enough drinking water for the average American for a little over three weeks.


The process at the heart of this water usage is stonewashing. Pumice stones and jeans are thrown into industrial washers and tumbled until the jeans are physical abraded enough to lose sufficient color. These industrial washers vary in size across company and country but can require as much as 4 gallons of water per every three pairs of jeans to operate. Jeans may even need to cycle through the process numerous times to get the desired finish and color.


The next challenge is what to do with the wastewater after the jeans have been washed. The indigo dissolves in the wastewater to create a sludge that is toxic to wildlife and can leave heavy metal deposits in the waterways if not processed properly.


We are addressing this problem by relying on a dark denim wash and keeping it simple. Our denim is not delivered to you raw, as we do not want to be the reason you accidentally stain your new couch blue, but we get as close as possible to that. We do a simple rinse with an enzyme wash and fabric softener included. It is the least water we can use while still providing you with a premium product that feels great from the start.

The real innovation and change comes from replacing virgin cotton (organic or otherwise) with a more sustainable fiber.

Other brands have established campaigns to address this source of water usage. While it is great to see change, it is important to understand the limitations. Gap for Good claims it reduces water usage in the finishing process by 20%. Levi’s does a bit better with its Water<Less campaign that claims 65% savings on the finishing process. Yet according to Levi’s own data, finishing accounts for only 6% of the total water usage over a jean’s lifetime.


That 65% decrease only makes a 4% difference. Don’t take this the wrong way. We fully support what Levi’s is doing. And we hope to use more advanced sustainability techniques like Jeanologia ozone washing once we have the scale to do so. We just also want to make clear addressing just the finishing does not cut it. We are doing what we can there too, but that is merely a step change improvement.


The real innovation and change comes from replacing virgin cotton (organic or otherwise) with a more sustainable fiber.



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