Patagonia Plans to Clean Up the Dirty Practices of Denim Manufacturing


Patagonia is primarily known as the California-based outdoor company that makes puffy coats, as well as gear for mountain climbers, skiers, surfers and more. The company, which is known to practice social responsibility, has a new goal in mind: to change the way that denim is produced.

“Patagonia is changing the way denim is made and raising the bar for environmental and human rights practices – using innovative, environmentally friendlier dye, Fair Trade Certified sewing practices, and 100% organic cotton grown without pesticides, herbicides, or synthetic fertilizers,” reads the press release.

Usually denim is made using a lot of practices that are bad for the environment. Dangerous chemicals are used when growing the cotton it takes to make it, dying it results in millions of gallons in wastewater, and the jeans are often assembled in factories where the workers are treated unfairly.

Here’s a rundown of what Patagonia plans to do:

“Patagonia’s new dyeing and manufacturing process uses dyestuffs that bond more easily to cotton, minimizing the resource-intensive and environmentally destructive indigo dyeing, rinsing and garment washing process used to create traditional denim.

Greatly reducing the environmental impact of the denim supply chain, Patagonia is using 84% less water, 30% less energy and emitting 25% less CO2 than conventional synthetic indigo denim dyeing processes.

All Patagonia denim is made with organic cotton that is grown without chemical or synthetic fertilizers, poisonous pesticides or herbicides. The entire process results in a color-rich, durable style – avoiding the environmental downsides of sandblasting, bleaching and stonewashing jeans.”

“Traditional denim is a filthy business. That drove us to change the way our jeans are made,” said Helena Barbour, Patagonia’s Business Unit Director, Sportswear. “We wanted to find an alternative solution to using the standard indigo dyeing methods we once employed to create denim. It took several years of research, innovation, trial and error, but the result is a new path for denim. We’re hopeful other manufacturers will follow suit and help us change the denim industry.”

We have to say, we’re definitely on board with this.

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