Levi’s CEO: Save the Planet, Stop Washing Your Jeans

by , 05/20/14   filed under: Eco-Fashion Brands, Eco-Fashion News

Levi Strauss, Chip Bergh, eco-friendly jeans, sustainable jeans, eco-fashion, sustainable fashion, green fashion, ethical fashion, sustainable style, eco-friendly denim, sustainable denim, Fortune Brainstorm Green

Photo by Stuart Isett for Fortune Brainstorm Green

Chip Bergh wants you to stop washing your jeans. Speaking at Fortune Brainstorm Green conference in Laguna Niguel, Calif., on Tuesday, the Levi Strauss CEO said that while roughly half the water usage happens during jeans production, the other half is consumed at home. Bergh also billed the denim giant as the “ultimate in slow fashion.” “We have a pair of jeans in our archives that are 135 years old, so we are the ultimate in sustainable apparel,” he said. “We build our products to last; if you treat them right, they will last a long, long time—probably longer than most people’s waistlines.”


Levi’s also happens to most sought-after brand in secondhand stores like Goodwill, making it the “No. 1 in hand-me-downs,” Bergh added.

RELATED | Stop Wasting Water Washing Dirty Jeans…Freeze Them!

He also spoke about the “Wellthread” initiative, which is currently being test-driven by Dockers, a subsidiary of Levi’s. “The concept is to try to develop a line of product that is sustainable in every single facet of the word,” Bergh said. “Not just environmentally sustainable but socially sustainable and economically sustainable.”

RELATED | Wearing the Same Jeans for a Year Without Washing? Surprisingly Not That Gross

And if you want to do your bit for the planet, do as “real denim aficionados” do and cut your agua use by washing your denim sparingly, if at all. “These jeans have yet to see a washing machine,” Bergh said, indicating the year-old pair he was wearing onstage. ““I know that sounds totally disgusting, but believe me, it can be done. I have yet to get a skin disease.”

Let’s hope he switches out his underwear regularly at least.

+ Levi Strauss

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6 Responses to “Levi’s CEO: Save the Planet, Stop Washing Your Jeans”

  1. wiley sanders says:

    Judging from the rest of his attire he doesn’t actually work in his jeans either.

  2. freemars says:

    That was a most stupid suggestion. You wouldnc’t want to wear my jeans a second day after a full day pf hard work accumulated dirt and sweat. Showing once again how out of touch the uber rich really are.

  3. mendolyn says:

    yeah i agree with other people’s responses here. WORKING people wear Levi’s to WORK in! They can’t not wash their clothes. My husband has to have his washed after each use because of the nature of his job. While I only wash mine after 4-5 wears depending on activity levels, sorry but body odors get in and make things stink in a place that is regularly 100+ degrees over the summer. I’m guessing this guy never leaves his air conditioned luxury palace and has other people to do all the heavy lifting. eyeroll to the elites.

  4. freedomtothink says:

    Years ago, when the American Icon, Levis, moved it’s production to China, the quality of their product went so far down that a new pair wouldn’t last me six months. Switched to Carhartts and never looked back. Nobody actually works in Levis anymore, they are a cheesy fashion statement. Can’t believe this guy has the audacity to say “we build our products to last”… The junk they sell, they don’t build at all, they buy them from a factory in China.

  5. urbangent says:

    Oh come on people! I think his suggestion requires a little common sense.
    Of course you’re going to need to wash your work clothes if they’re heavily soiled.
    That goes without saying. However, jeans that you wear casually can be washed less.
    He suggests that you put them in a plastic ziplock bag and freeze them over night.
    I do this with my jeans and it works. It freshens them up and gets rid of the smell.
    However, after some time, I do wash them, just out of habit. By the way…
    I’m a working class guy. So his suggestion isn’t about “elitism.”

  6. suewise says:

    And this is why the planet is being destroyed by the attitude shown in the comments here…….when the water is gone its gone and then every country will be a third world country ….. Levis are one of the big name companies to actually be doing something to reduce its consumption and carbon footprint. Educate yourselves on the impact Fashion is having on the planet, read ETI, Greenpeace, Source, Fair Trade and many more newsletters and regular articles about it all and then leave an educated comment not a ‘oh well he has money blah blah ‘ naff comment.

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