J.Crew and sister brand Madewell launched new sustainable denim collections that use less water, chemicals, and energy to produce
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- J.Crew and Madewell are furthering their efforts to be more socially responsible by teaming up with Fair Trade USA, a non-profit organization that helps implement better working conditions and more environmentally friendly manufacturing processes.
- Both J.Crew and Madewell's first Fair Trade Certified denim collections use 75% less water, 65% fewer chemicals, and a lot less energy.
- In addition to being good for the environment, the collections provide Saitex factory workers with benefits, equal pay for women, and additional donations to help support infrastructure in their local communities in Vietnam.
- Starting as low as $59.50, the J.Crew and Madewell's collections include jeans, shorts, skirts, overalls, and denim jackets.
As consumers continually become more conscious of the products they buy and the brands they support, many companies are doing away with the strictly-for-profit mentality and are setting up initiatives to become more socially responsible.You can buy sneakers made out of recycled plastic from the ocean, organic cotton sheets, and a whole slew of products that will give directly back to those in need with your purchase, but denim, arguably the most omnipresent wardrobe staple, is still one of the most wasteful products to make.
However, J.Crew Group, the parent company to J.Crew and Madewell, is doing its part to change that - all while supporting local manufacturing communities and sticking to the price points and styles you've come to appreciate.
The company recently teamed up with Fair Trade USA, a non-profit organization that helps brands improve their manufacturing processes and their commitments to the environment and the people that produce their products. As a result of the new partnership, both J.Crew and Madewell recently launched their first Fair Trade Certified denim collections.
What's different about how the denim is produced
In teaming up with Fair Trade USA, J.Crew Group also partnered with Saitex, the leading producer of sustainable denim, located in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Saitex has figured out a way to reduce the use of three major components in its production process: water, chemicals, and energy.
The biggest waste factor in traditional denim production is water, but Saitex has managed to reduce the typical 140 liters of water needed to make a single pair of jeans down to just one liter. And even with that remarkable reduction in water usage, the factory still filters and recycles 98 percent of the water, with the remaining two percent being evaporated. That makes it a zero-discharge facility.Chemicals are still a part of producing the denim, but J.Crew and Madewell's Fair Trade Certified denim have reduced the use of them by 65%. Rather than using harsh chemical methods to achieve different washes and styles, they use less harmful techniques like stone washing.
Running any factory consumes energy, but Saitex is extremely smart about reducing its use. Everything from renewable energy sources to clever techniques like hang-drying denim and using recycled heat from hot factory machinery has contributed to the reduction of energy consumption by more than 13 million kilowatts to date. That's equivalent to taking 2,000 cars off the road.
What does the Fair Trade certification really mean?
Fair Trade USA holds both manufacturing facilities and brands accountable for meeting certain standards of welfare. While underpaid and overworked employees is an unfortunate reality in many factories, Fair Trade manufacturers must ensure safe working environments, livable wages, equal pay for women, and benefits like maternity leave and paid leave.
Brands, on the other hand, must help to support this. For every Fair Trade Certified product sold, J.Crew and Madewell will donate a percentage directly to the workers, who then have the power to delegate what the money will be spent in their community - whether it be housing, schools, or infrastructures like bridges and power lines.
Just like the name suggests, it's fair for all parties involved. Factory workers get the opportunity to create better lives for themselves and their families, consumers get great quality denim that they can look good in and feel good ethically about owning, and, of course, the J.Crew Group makes a profit.J.Crew and $69.50 on Madewell, together the Fair Trade Certified collections feature 31 pieces. In addition to jeans for men and women, you'll also find denim jackets, overalls, shorts, and skirts for women.
If you want to help sustain the environment and support the people that produce the products you buy, Fair Trade Certified denim is one great way to do it.
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