Nudie Jeans Co – the naked truth about denim
As a PR agency, we’ve taken a new approach to fashion brand representation – shifting our focus to socially responsible and sustainable labels. As someone interested in fashion, I’ve also taken a personal journey into reassessing the clothes I buy, and even like.
In a recent post, I explored the devastation of the Rana Plaza factory collapse and the repercussions of the collapse for fast fashion, as well as the shift in attitude towards the production of clothing that followed.
Since researching the tragedy, I’ve also been living with a personal struggle with my fashion choices, driven by the guilt of a first world luxury – having the option of supporting fair working conditions for the people who produce our clothes.
I’ve started to compartmentalise the fashion choices I make into a kind of pro and con list in my head – the ‘naughty or nice’ list of brands, if you will. On one hand, the ‘nice’ in me has pledged to find designers who create clothes that are ethically and sustainably produced – meanwhile the devil horns present themselves on the side of my conscience that still wants to purchase designs I love.
Fortunately for my naughty-driven conscience, the more research I do into particular fashion labels, the more I have found that the brands I love are doing things right. And while there are some that are just starting their ethical transformation, there are a select few that have had it sorted since inception.
Of those I’ve found, the leader of the pack is brainchild of Maria Erixon, Nudie Jeans Co. Known in the ethical fashion world as the godfather of fairtrade practices, Nudie has long been leading the way in both style and the ethics behind its cult denim jeans.
Since inception, the Nudie Jeans philosophy has been to consider the environment and human rights throughout every aspect of production, without compromising on style.
Erixon believes in the link between jeans and culture with her brand – crediting its birth in the 70s in the middle of the jeans mania of Stockholm, where patched jeans were a wardrobe staple even for the King.
On the style front, Nudie gets my seal of approval. The way I see it, finding the perfect denim brand is like finding a good hairdresser – once you’ve discovered one you love, you hold on to them for dear life. A good jeans brand has a way of understanding you – it gets your shape, the length you want and the style that suits you best.
My new knowledge of the lengths to which Nudie has gone as a brand to advocate for ethical fashion practices has only reinforced my view of how special the label is, right down to its roots.
Visit the Nudie site once and you will see its pursuit to stand out from the crowd in ethical practices. Self-claiming the ‘naked truth about denim’, the brand philosophy is to create jeans that share the same soul and attitude as music. Erixon believes the inspiration between the two spawns from the same dreams. An analogy I love and one that has transposed into something real.
Nudie also advocates for the re-wear and repair of their jeans. Jeans are worn as a second skin – they go with you where you go, they live your lifestyle, they get abrasions and scars and they bleed – just like you.
“We encourage people to wear in their jeans and repair them instead of throwing them out and buying new ones. Everyone carries their past within them, and eventually some parts of your history become part of your legacy.”
Nudie only partners with the people and companies that are doing things right. They stand up for fair living wages, human rights, environmental sustainability, fairtrade organic threads – you name it, they’ve got it covered.
From sourcing threads to manufacturing their quality denim, the Nudie brand requires all partners to comply with a code of conduct, which ensures its membership with the Fair Wear Foundation – meaning the people that work with Nudie in factories are doing so under fair and safe conditions.
Furthermore, they support the idea of harnessing good environmental practices wherever they can, providing advice on limiting the washing of your jeans and offering free, in-store repair services to ensure their longevity.
So in a world of fast-paced fashion, it’s refreshing and heartening to see that there are brands out there who are doing things right ethically, without compromising on style.
I am a total advocate of brands like Nudie standing up for what’s right and showing us all that style is about more than just the mass production of ever-changing trends.
Let’s hope other fashion labels can take a leaf out of Nudie’s ‘naked truth’ book and keep their conscience front of mind when considering the production and manufacturing of their designs. Made with love should be a tag we all wear with pride.
Yours in ethical denim,