Denim – Polluting or Evolving?

Denim – Polluting or Evolving?

Whenever we are asking which cloth makes you feel comfortable while you are travelling? An answer always passes through your head and you look down to your pair of jeans. Yes, there lies the answer!

Jeans are made of denim fabric a famous fabric for its durability. But have you ever thought weather your jeans are ecofriendly or not? Or have you ever wondered if the fabric was made is a different way to make it strong? May be you have or may be you haven’t. If you have then hope this article will provide you with a best answer!

Why Denim is considered as strong fabric?

Denim were made for gold miners as their fabrics needed to be strong enough and could handle the hazardous work they do. And Levi and Strauss first invented the denim that could hold its shape even after working in the mines or other hazardous work and it didn’t need frequent washing. It started blooming since then, Then it made debut as a film dress and become popular in cowboy movies and western movies.

Special weaving process and rivets to keep it from ripping made it strong than other clothes.

Picture: Factory beside a river. Courtesy: Photo by Linda Finkin on Unsplash

Picture: Factory beside a river. Courtesy: Photo by Linda Finkin on Unsplash

Why is it considered as a non eco friendly fabric?

Talking about denim’s being not an eco-friendly fabric, we can sort the problems in a numerical order and denim has got problem in every step of its way to processing from cotton to

finished fabric. Here are the problems described and I have also described how they can be reduced to minimum.

Cotton Cultivation Process:

Cotton plants need a lot of water to start with and even one of the most pesticide using plants. So they are polluting water and actually consuming a lot of water. Producing just 1 kilogram (2.2 pounds) of cotton can require up to 7,660 gallons of water, depending on where it’s grown. So it’s a huge amount of water. Even workers who are working in the field are exposed to the chemicals that are used as pesticides.


Picture: Cotton. Courtesy: Photo by Amber Martin on Unsplash.

Picture: Cotton. Courtesy: Photo by Amber Martin on Unsplash.

Dying process:

Dying process in the textile factory means dying the fabric with chemicals and colors as coloration process needs various chemicals to make the colors long-lasting. A series of chemicals are used to treat denim fabric and it’s colored with indigo color, a special color that lasts long enough to have the fabric

10/11 wash. 7.5 billion feet of denim fabric is produced every single year and they are repeatedly washed with water. A question may arise so what is the problem! We can use wasted water! But unfortunately we cannot do that as we have used the chemicals once and it has different ratio after one use. So the waters are wasted. It was noticed that Xintang, a town in southern China, the denim capital of word faced a disaster in 2013 . All of its rivers ran deep blue and smelled foul because the denim producers damped all the wasted water in the river.

Washing Process:

Washing denim is a process where a lot of chemical treatment is involved. While researching it was found that denim fabric contains heavy metal which can be disastrous for human life. After the pieces of denim is sewn together it is tossed into a variety of washing machine to gain the color or the faded color according to the trend and design.

So how to overcome this situation? Is there any solution to this problem? As human brain is the most sophisticated one, it has been searching for the solution for decades and a lot of solution has came forward. Let’s talk about that!

Hemp vs Cotton!

Hemp is often considered as a drug which is a miss conception. Levi the legendary brand of denim has found a technology to make hemp feel like cotton. They have blended 30% hemp and 70% cotton in their denim. Hemp produces fibers more than same amount of cotton and they need less amount of water to cultivate.

So it is a legendary step in the world of denim as denim is one of the most environment polluting industry in the world.

Courtesy: Photo by Rick Proctor on Unsplash.

Courtesy: Photo by Rick Proctor on Unsplash.

Courtesy: Photo by Hanna Balan on Unsplash.  Picture: Hemp vs Cotton.

Courtesy: Photo by Hanna Balan on Unsplash.  Picture: Hemp vs Cotton.


Laundry system:

As we know the washing process need a lot of water so we need to reduce the amount of water. Some company has been trying to develop the environment. Pakistani denim company named Soorty has been trying to develoo a denim laundry system that is environment friendly and socially conscious. It has already invested to the most expensive wet denim processing plant in Pakistan. Later on they established A spinning space and in house recycling unit to recycle the wasted water.

This Industry needs to work altogether to reduces the effects and that’s why they made a joint effort in 2019 to go the greener way to reduce the pollution. The brands who have signed the commitment, they express their feeling as they are committed to creat a product or multiple products in adherence to the jeans redesign guideliness. Similarly, in fall 2020, Dutch and international brands signed the Denim Deal in Amsterdam, a pledge to reform and recycle jeans. The project, which is an initiative by House of Denim and the Dutch government, was started to create a circular economy and reuse more old denim garments.

Denim's sustainability will lead us to a good denim for future.

Picture: Denim for future! Courtesy: Photo by Albany Capture on Unsplash.

It will continue as a debate topic that weather Denim is a fabric that we should put away or we should continue with it! But as long as I don’t have to wash my denim regularly and is made with latest ways, I am not leaving my most reliable “Friend Dress” Jeans!

Go green! Save the environment and wear jeans which are less hazardous to the environment!

By Team Bucolic Bohemian,

Mentor: Umme Memory Mim (Id: 2018-1-6-012) Dept: Textile Fashion & Design

Leader: Sabiha Moon Taha (Id: 2019-1-6-006) Dept: Textile Fashion & Design

Executive: Md. Mahmud Hosen (Id: 2020-1-2-006) Dept: Fabric Engineering


If you want to read about a denim brand called Risen Jeans, you can go here! We’ve got you covered!