Remember hand-me-down clothing back in the day? Most of us have grown up wearing clothes discarded by older siblings or cousins, passed them down to younger ones, until it finally became a household rag. Back then, buying new clothes was reserved for 'special' occasions, and apparel shopping primarily focused on brands that offered long-lasting quality.
In the last 15 years this trend has seen a sharp shift, with clothing consumption more than doubling between 2005 and 2020. The Ellen MacArthur Foundation reported that 53 million tons of fibre are produced by the global apparel industry every year. A whopping 70 per cent of this ends up in landfills. Besides this, the resources used to meet rising demands, including pesticides for textile growth, energy, labour, and transportation, all add up to the environmental cost of fashion
This urgent challenge requires not just garment producers to drive sustainable processes, but also consumers to be far more aware of the clothes they purchase. Popular American brand Levi’s is among the few that has acknowledged this heavy environmental cost and is on a mission to change the clothing industry for good. In its latest campaign video, the brand urges consumers to ‘Buy Better, Wear Longer’ with the help of six international changemakers, who are all doing their bit for the planet.
“The world we live in encourages us to constantly buy. It puts us in this bad cycle. I’m glad that Levi’s is changing that message by making thrifting cool,” explains Jaden Smith, one of the six changemakers. The actor also works to raise awareness around water scarcity in the planet. Emma Chamberlain, a fashion lover, celebrates second-hand clothing and upcycling, and is a passionate voice against over consumption, while English footballer Marcus Rashford champions youngsters from underprivileged communities, in addition to being an advocate against fast fashion.
The video also features Melati Wijsen, an Indonesian entrepreneur and co-founder of a non-profit that helped ban plastic bags in Bali, along with Mexican climate activist Xiye Bastida, and hip-hop artist Xiuhtezcatl, whose music champions environmental justice. Together, the six young icons urge people to rethink their fashion choices and the impact it has on the planet.
On its end, Levi’s, too, is committed to improving its production cycle to ensure long-lasting, high-quality garments that can be worn for generations. The brand has heavily invested in climate-friendly technologies and material that can reduce its natural-resource footprint and altogether make production far more sustainable. Nearly 76 per cent of all Levi Strauss & Co. products, and 70 per cent of all Levi’s bottoms and Trucker Jackets are made using Water<Less® technology — built on a series of finishing techniques and water recycling guidelines that have saved more than 4 billion litres of water and resulted in the recycling of nearly 10 billion litres of water. Not just that, Levi’s has also introduced these technologies in the public domain to encourage the apparel industry to further save resources in their own lines.
The Buy Better, Wear Longer is a sustained global campaign that aims to remind us all that a sustainable future is one where companies and consumers around the world come together to rethink fashion. There’s just one planet after all, and we’re in this together.
Click here to learn more about Levi’s sustainability initiatives.