Levi’s Water<Less line uses far less water than standard denim production, the company has pledged to stop using PFCs in all manufacturing by 2015, and now the company is launching Wellthread, a new label that puts together all of Levi’s previous efforts toward sustainability, and more.
Like Water<Less before it, Wellthread (which is being produced under Levi’s Dockers brand) will need about 30% less water and energy than conventional clothing production methods. The cotton used in the line is grown in Pakistan under the Better Cotton Initiative, which promotes water conservation through improved irrigation technology. (Levi’s also works with cotton farmers under the organization’s auspices to manufacture Water<Less.) Most important, this ain’t fast fashion. Wellthread is built to last, with reinforced buttonholes and pockets; even the cotton is a long staple yarn that’s meant to last through more washings than its cheaper counterparts.
Paul Dillinger, the line’s head designer, wants to incorporate sustainability at every level, which means that while Wellthread will be produced in Bangladesh, the garment workers producing the line will receive economic and social benefits well beyond the current standard. Prices will be commensurate with the quality, ranging from $50 to $250.
The only catch? When the line launches next year, Levi’s isn’t selling it in the U.S. The company doesn’t believe the American audience has yet developed the taste and standards that its European audience has, to pay a higher price for more provably ethical, longer-lasting clothes. We don’t agree (Lemlem, Honest By, IOU Project, Edun, Cuyana…need we go on?), and we hope the brand — which is synonymous with being American, for goodness’ sake — will change its tune by launch.