Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Dirty dangerous denim and ethical jeans

I have been fairly reluctant to try out the new double denim trend but after reading this report called Poisoning the Pearl River by Greenpeace, I am not sure that I want to wear denim at all.

The report highlights the massive scale of the pollution in Xintang, Guangzhou, China. Much of the pollution is caused by the textile industry where an estimated 200million pairs of jeans are made every year for around 60 foreign brands. The process of dying the denim to make it the indigo colour that we all love, produces a large amount of waste water filled with bleach, detergents and dyes. Satellite images reveal the water running black and the river banks piled with debris including denim scraps. Tests on the waste water being discharged into the river from a number of factories including a textile factory revealed that all were discharging water containing proven or suspected hazardous substances including heavy metals linked to brain damage and hormone disrupting organic chemicals.

I realise that not all denim comes from this area and not all will involve pollution and discharge of hazardous waste but it is yet again a case of, do you know where your clothing is from and how it has been made? If not how can you be sure that its manufacture is not causing illness, danger and misery to others and environmental damage.

The good news is that there are some great ethical alternatives, here are just a few that I have found.

ethical organic denim
Monkey Genes do a great range of organic cotton jeans including this classic skinny ones, they are available from Ascension.
ethical organic denim Ascension also have their own range of organic denim including these skinny jeans.

I am planning on reading up on the ethical and eco policies of some of the most popular denim and jeans brands. I hopefully will let you know what I find out.

1 comment:

Kim McGrath said...

Wake Forest University recently hosted an eco-chic fashion show on campus. One of the designers, Jenny Hwa, says the fibers of a conventional pair of jeans and a t-shirt are embedded with two cups of toxins due to chemical-intensive growing and production methods. Here's a link to more about eco-chic fashion trends on campus http://www.wfu.edu/wowf/2010/20100405.ecochic.php