Recycled cotton denims by REUSE Jeans

REUSE Jeans banner

More about reducing your carbon footprint in fashion.. Denim is one of the most controversial fashion pieces when it comes to sustainability. We all need and want them to be a part (sometimes a big part) of our wardrobes, but looking at them from the ecological point of view, it does not look so good. Good, genuinely fashionable eco denim brands are very few. Jeans need loads of cotton and cotton is one of the most harmfull materials to grow. It requires much water and pestisites and contributes to erosion. Of course there is organic cotton, but that too is a new material and requires energy and resources to grow. Using recycled materials is really the most ecological way to manufacture garments as all the materials all ready exist and using them you take away waste. Of course some energy is used in reforming the recycled material into their new use, but still it is far better than making clothes from complitely new materials. For example polyester fleece can be produced nowadays from recycled PET dringking bottles.

I´ve not heard that jeans (cotton) could also be made from grinding fibre from used jeans to a pulp and then spinning it to make new recycled cotton fibre. REUSE Jeans does this. They use about 80% recycled cotton, 18% new and 2% elastane in their jeans. And all their styles cost less than 100$! This is the denim business of the future. Reforming the cotton fibre does use some water in the production but I´m sure we are still talking a fraction of the amount that would be used in growing it.

Just think about it. If all jeans manufacturers is the world would gather their unsold cotton jeans from their stores into one place, make them into "new" recycled cotton jeans and use them to cover some of the new cotton denim market, it would make a huge difference. Customers would get the same quality and models they are accustomed to, but greener. I´d buy it. And pay for it.

Here´s an interview of REUSE Jeans founders:

Recycled cotton denims by REUSE JEANS 2
Recycled cotton denims by REUSE JEANS 1
Recycled cotton denims by REUSE JEANS 3

I´m not too exited about the REUSE Jeans denim models though. In my eyes the treatments, stitchings and embroiberies look a bit cheap. As a Scandi I prefer my jeans to be more clean cut, with a more classic and genuine looking treatment, and no big embroideries or visible stitchings.. I hope they hire an expert denim designer that has worked with some big brands if they´re going to make it in a global market and get fashion recognition. Being green is not the only thing a brand need to have to make it, but true fashion credibiliy. You know.. that you´re good enough for Vogue, or Elle :)

P.S. Get someone to redo your website. I can´t stand it when eco brands clog their site with flowers and butterflies, or globes.. Even if your brand is 100% eco, you should not have to underline it all the time. The product should be good enough as it is. Being eco is just a huge additional value to it. You´re also missing all promotional images from your website. Bloggers need good high res images in their posts. If you get people to write about your brand and supply them with fashionable good quality photos it is free press for you.

Outi Les Pyy

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  1. Besides the whole 'shoving the eco-thing down your throat' they only acknowledge up to a US size 10. As a curvy 14, I'm further offended. All the more reason to DIY

  2. I reuse my jeans! I've made a ton of upcycled bell bottom jeans out of old jeans or jeans I've thrifted. I sell them in my etsy shop, actually.


  3. From a consumer point of view, I see it being a very bad thing if a brand only manufacturers small/medium sizes.. I´m also a US size 14 and would be offended if a clothing store would not carry my size. Too bad for them.

    This post was really about sustainable denim business in general and I hope some brand representatives read it, research fibre recycling and add it to their collections.

    But if you´re just by yourself, DIY and customize old :)

  4. I work for Levi's and I know we have had several models of jeans that are available in both organic cotton and recycled cotton. In the stores we carry up to a size 16, and even more sizes online!

  5. Hi Lisa, The eco Levi´s are just 17% recycled denim. Of course that´s better than nothing but in my book pretty far from calling the entire jeans collection "recycled" or "eco". I hope they boost up these percentages soon :)

    "“Levi’s eco” line of organic cotton jeans, dyed with natural indigo, called Levi’s RECYCLED line. The fabric consists of just 17 percent recycled denim, which has been re-milled from ends used for other jeans. The rest is conventional cotton (82%) and spandex (1%), which are both dyed conventionally."

  6. Haha!
    Great investigative journalism, Outi! I totally agree, the concept is great but the design needs work. And websites like that bug me too! It's so simple to SIMPLIFY the website and underline the eco-value instead of headline it. Ya know? Plus the design of the jeans is so Deb circa 1995. Definitely a re-do would make them a force to be reckoned with!

  7. good points about the website and hi rez images. if they have figured out how to create this denim well perhaps jean design and web design is more easily figured out in comparison. that would be nice. this is such a good idea. and i could not wear those designs they have.

  8. Yeah the website is tragic- I took one look and closed it again, I don't want to wade through all that rubbish to see what's on offer.

    I can't see many reasons why someone would need a new new pair of jeans. Surely there must be jeans for every size in every thrift shop in every town in every Western(ised) country. Some simple DIY skills and there should be no need to ever get a new pair. That said- I haven't owned a pair of jeans for about 10 years.