Why The Fashion Industry Needs Sustainable Denim

Did you know that the fashion industry is responsible for 8% of carbon emissions?” (UN Environment, 2019) Every year, over 15 million tons of clothing go to waste globally. That is the equivalent of a truckload of garments going to a landfill or an incinerator every second.  (Ellen Macarthur Foundation). With tangible statistics like this, the need for sustainably made denim speaks for itself. The fashion industry is one of the biggest contributors to pollution and at Lola Jeans, we are committed to doing our part to change that. If you find yourself wondering if sustainable fashion is really needed, trust us when we say YES in all caps. Here’s why. 

It Harms Soil Biodiversity

Cotton is a valuable resource to so many industries, and the textile industry is at the top of the list. Growing cotton isn’t always a “green process,” especially when it is grown for the use of fast fashion. As with the growth of any crop, growing cotton requires a lot of water, and depending on the farming practices, insecticides and pesticides are used. Using heavy chemicals like these not only contaminates soil but harms soil biodiversity. Why does that matter? Soil biodiversity “reduces the impacts of extreme droughts and floods, which are becoming more common as the climate changes,” according to the Center for Biological Diversity

When looking for sustainable denim, it is important to look for brands that are using organic cotton or recycled cotton. At Lola Jeans, we source our sustainable denim from post-consumer waste and denim floor scraps.

It’s Harmful For Workers

The dyes used in denim are full of toxic chemicals that are not only harmful to you as you wash and wear them but are especially harmful to factory workers who are handling these dyes on a daily basis. It is not uncommon for these dyes to include chemicals like formaldehyde, which is known to cause cancer.  In working conditions like these, it is commonplace for workers to be paid less than livable wages to be exposed to dangerous chemicals and poor working conditions. 

When thinking about the environmental impact, it’s important to consider the livelihood of those all over the world, including the people who make a living by manufacturing products that we find stocked in our stores.

It Pollutes Local Ecosystems

Many factories that manufacture denim are near bodies of water. Their wastewater is then discharged into rivers and streams, polluting the water and the ecosystems that live in them. The NRDC reports, “Textile mills generate one-fifth of the world's industrial water pollution and use 20,000 chemicals, many of them carcinogenic, to make clothes.” You don’t need to be an environmental scientist to understand that disposing of cancer-causing chemicals and textile waste into local waterways isn’t best practice. Rivers and streams that locals fish and swim in have now turned blue and black near denim mills. Cities along these waterways have seen an increase in cancer rates. The price of fast fashion is leaving its mark on the environment and not for the better. 

Our production facilities in Mexico employ Ozone & Nebulization Technology, which, when combined, is an innovative washing technique that has cut our water consumption by 80% and the remaining 20% is entirely re-usable. By opting out of old school methods and investing in new technologies, we can proudly say that our sustainable denim line wastes no water. For the little water we do use, it is filtered and reused in everyday laundry and toilets.”

Synthetic Materials Can’t Break ​​Down in Landfills

Denim is often made of synthetic materials and dyes, which can take up to 200 years to decompose in a landfill. Fast fashion has taught us that throwing old clothes out is a solution to staying current with trends, but when you consider the environmental impact of your clothing in a landfill, it’s easy to see the need for a better solution.

Our signature stretch denim now contains 80% recycled cotton, made from post-consumer waste and denim floor scraps. 18% Tencel TM Lyocell fibers, derived from sustainable wood sources and sustainably managed forests. Wood and pulp used by Lenzing Group is harvested from certified controlled sources, they are bio-degradable and compostable under industrial home, soil, and marine conditions, thus they can fully revert to nature. Finally, 2% Lycra for that perfect stretch.

Our Sustainable Denim fabric is Global Denim® produced. Ensuring quality control that meets environmental standards eco-responsible and low carbon footprint for a circular economy in textiles.

While it can seem like an overwhelming global issue, we are encouraged by organizations and brands who are taking a stand and are dedicating themselves to creating a greener future for the fashion industry. At Lola Jeans, we are joining in that mission. Each one of us can take small steps toward making a big difference. We are building an ethical supply chain that creates high-quality, low-impact, long-lasting, affordable denim. We have started at the source and aim to be as transparent as possible. From the raw materials to innovative washing techniques, to the finished product—we reduced our water consumption by 80%. Join us in our mission and curate a sustainable wardrobe. Shop with Lola today

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