Classic denim style, the ethical and sustainable way
This post was written by Chandra Fox and originally appeared on her US-made ethical fashion blog These Native Goods.
I heard Rock On by David Essex the other day on a “one hit wonder” radio show. This song has been on my list of all time favorites for the last 14 years, can’t help it I have a soft spot. ” Still looking for that blue jean, baby queen prettiest girl I ever seen” got me in the mood for a little denim on denim and got me thinking about the Quintessential fabric.
Jeans are a pretty universal classic but they have deep roots in the USA. Even though denim originally came from Italy and France several centuries ago, we are still known for creating the iconic style of blue jeans. A partnership between dry goods store owner Levis Strauss and a tailor by the name of Jacob Davis, launched the predecessor to the modern staple. Davis came up with the idea of using copper rivets to reinforce areas of heavy wear and Strauss provided the fabric, their creation was patented in 1873. We have seen denim styles come and go (and come again) but they have remained a big part of American style since the 1950’s. Hollywood and greaser kids helped take the work wear staple and make them fashionable.
Unfortunately Levis is one of the many brands who resorted to outsourcing to keep prices competitive. Most of their jeans made before the late 90’s were manufactured in the USA. Thanks to their current popularity these styles are pretty easy to come by second hand. Sizing can be a little tricky, they usually run at least a couple sizes smaller than modern jeans. But if you are buying online many sellers know this and list the actual measurements along with tag size. If you don’t have the time to hunt around for the perfect pair and have the extra cash Re/Done is a great option. They repurpose old Levis, Frankenstein them up a bit and the final results are beautifully fit jeans with that classic Levis vibe but a modern style. Another brand reworking vintage Levis is Bliss and Mischief, they add chain stitch embroidery and modern sizing as well. I love the sustainability factor of reusing old denim and both these brands make finding your dream pair a breeze.
A few other USA made jean companies that I’m currently lusting over are Imogene and Willie, Mother and Doen. The latter only produces a couple different jean styles, but they are always dreamy and made here in California with USA manufactured denim. Imogene and Willie is a company based in Nashville, born out of an old service station. Their jeans take us back to a time before jeggings and colored denim with their classic styles and heavier weight. Although some styles do have stretch their denim is more hearty and the cuts have a vintage feel. Mother is another LA based brand, they offer a wide range of rises and washes. Skinnies, flares, jean jackets and tops are all available.
On the subject of tops I am a big fan of companies using Tencel to achieve a denim style look for shirts and dresses. The fabric is softer with a nice drape, plus its Eco-friendly. The fibers come from sustainably farmed wood pulp and are processed using a closed loop system that recycles the solvents. Whatever isn’t reused is disposed of in a responsible manner. USA made companies like Bella Dahl and First Rite have been utilizing the fabric for tops and dresses (I used a shirt from each brand in my looks below). I hope you enjoy my USA made takes on Denim Dan and the Canadian Tuxedo.
*(This post include affiliate links for products that align with the ethos of tortoise & lady grey. If you click the link and choose to purchase, the blog will receive a small commission, which keeps us running)