New jeans for old

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IN an effort to promote sustainability, Levi’s let people swap their old jeans for new at an event at Glorietta on Oct. 25 as a part of its campaign “Buy Better, Wear Longer”.

People were instructed to bring old denim items and were given a number corresponding to how many items they brought. They could then go through a bin and score new pieces, some of them from special edition lines. This reporter scored a pair from the Star Wars-Levi’s collaboration, while another got a Levi’s Hello Kitty Jacket.

“We always try to avoid wastage,” said Kat Costas, Marketing Head for Levi’s in the Philippines. “Let’s say we do receive some damaged jeans. What we do with that is we upcycle it.”

She pointed to the denim bags and the denim wristbands given to the participants of the event, which included members of the media, influencers, and normal shoppers. Those were made from damaged denim. Ms. Costas said they partnered with NGOs to upcycle damaged denim items to make hats, bags, and other products.

“It’s very important for us to practice advocacies like this, to really mount events like this that also amplify the message to our consumers. It’s really the contribution of both,” she said.

Other activities during the event included patching up denim items at their tailor shop. “It’s creating that new item of clothing from something old that you continuously love and will wear again,” she said. “It’s already making the most of what you have.”

It wasn’t a one-day thing: pocket events will be held at Levi’s stores nationwide.

In addition, sustainability measures go all the way up to its US headquarters. Ms. Costas says that they have saved three billion gallons of water with the Water<Less denim line, introduced in the last decade. They have also invested in materials like organic cotton. Ms. Costas said that they have shared their technology with competitor brands. “We want that all of us stand for a better community, a better planet,” she said.

Ms. Costas pointed out that the fashion industry is the third-largest contributor to pollution. According to the United Nations Environment Program, the clothing sector produces between two and eight percent of global carbon emissions. Ms. Costas said, “How can we live with ourselves, knowing that? We want to make the world a better place.”

In buying less, one can reduce their impact on the environment. Buying more durable products will help a consumer become a more conscientious buyer. Next year, Levi’s will celebrate its 150th anniversary. Just last month, a pair of jeans from the 1880s were sold at auction for $76,000. “It was a good pair of jeans. That will tell you that it stands the test of time,” said Ms. Costas. — JLG