No Marshmallows, Just Term Papers
Levi's has a heritage of tough, durable denim appropriate for both the workingman and the teen rebel. Last fall the 150-something-year-old denim purveyor announced a new line of its red tab–emblazoned jeans. The launch of a new jean style isn't all that extraordinary, but it is newsworthy to learn that Levi's "Eco" denim are made of 100 percent organic cotton and, in the case of its handmade Capital E line, carry a triple-digit price tag.
As consumers become more aware of modern consumption's effect on the environment, organic practices are increasing, boosting the niche organic-clothing industry. In essence, the same organic farming practices used to produce clean food are used to produce natural, insecticide-free fibers.
Organic Exchange, a non-profit organization focused on organic farming—particularly cotton—says it expects organic cotton apparel sales to hit US$ 2.6 billion in 2008. Levi Strauss & Co. is banking on an expectation that there are enough people around the world who care about where the cotton covering their backside came from and how it was treated along the way.
As of this year, Levi's Eco organic treatment will be applied to its Red Tab lines—including classic 501s—and its high-end Capital E denim line, as well as potentially other lines in the future. In addition to the use of organic cotton, buttons and zippers are formed from recycled metal and natural dyes color the jeans. External packaging is made from recycled paper using soy-based inks.
To identify Eco within the Levi's lines, an embroidered lowercase "e" is featured inside the front pocket or at the bottom of the right leg of each jean and a natural-colored canvas "Levi's" tab and "Two-Horse Patch" are featured. Just as the previous sentence indicates, the branding relationship of Eco to other product lines from Levi's and what to call it (a line? A treatment? Just another gratuitous trademark?) is, sadly, rather confusing even to write about....