Lifecycle of a jean

We know that jeans have one of the biggest footprints of any piece of clothing.

To define what this means, we have researched the journey of a pair of our jeans from the cotton field to store and beyond to create the ‘Lifecycle of a Jean’, calculating the impacts along the way.

Our lifecycle shows the impact of the average pair of jeans vs. the impact of a pair from M.i.h jeans. Through sharing this knowledge, we are striving to create a partnership to reduce our collective impact while raising awareness and advocating for change.

See the lifecycle

Water & carbon

Air and water, quality and quantity, are our focus. Women’s jeans have the highest water footprint and third highest carbon footprint of any piece of clothing in the UK, so we measure these two biggest resource impacts, water and carbon, throughout the lifecycle.

We use the base symbol for water, a triangle, and carbon, a circle, throughout the lifecycle to illustrate average impacts alongside reductions achieved by M.i.h Jeans.

Field to fabric

Field to fabric

The cotton field has the largest environmental impact. Where cotton comes from counts.

The average water consumption to grow cotton for a pair of jeans in the UK is 5,600 litres: 98% of the water used by a pair of jeans over its lifecycle. Taking cotton from field to fabric also counts for 40% of the carbon a pair of jeans uses over its lifecycle.

Our focus on cotton sourcing means that through our efforts, the jean we’ve followed has reduced its water consumption by 85% compared to a standard jean and achieved a 54% reduction in carbon emissions.

Jeans washing

Jeans washing

The jean manufacturing stage, which includes the washing of jeans once they are made, has significant impact.

The average pair of jeans uses 50 - 60 litres of water during the washing process, and some can use up to 100 litres. Our approach has been to almost completely remove water from this stage by switching to innovative water-reducing laser technology and reduced-process ‘cloud’ washing.

We have also adopted organic treatments to reduce the impact of jeans washing on water quality.

Home laundry

Home laundry

It’s easy to overlook the post-purchase stage in the lifecycle of a jean, but it has a similar impact to the manufacturing stage, which means we should all feel empowered to do more to reduce our impact.

Break the cycle of water washing by laundering your jeans half as often to reduce the water and carbon impact by 50%.

You can spot clean, air or freeze your jeans to refresh them, or use a refresher spray such as the M.i.h Jeans x Montamonta Denim Refresher Spray, formulated with essentials oils and fragrant botanicals to protect and extend the life of your denim.

Recycling

Recycling

We believe that your jeans should be worn and loved for life.

However, even the best quality jeans will eventually come to the end of their lifecycle. To achieve a circular lifecycle, we recommend that our customers recycle their old denims. M.i.h Jeans offers a recycling service where we offer to take any old denim and jeans and recycle these into new yarns for new denim.

This last stage in the journey of a pair of jeans offers the opportunity to offset many of the impacts caused in the making of a new piece of clothing.

The future

The future

The sense of heritage and authenticity inherent in 70s denim is still at the heart of M.i.h Jeans today – a belief in creating jeans that are made to last and leave the lightest footprint on the earth.

The Paradise denim capsule collection is the most sustainable and lowest impact denim we can make today. Our holistic approach has achieved reductions throughout the supply chain and we’ve applied these principles to every jean we make.

Our goal is to reach this level of sustainability for all our jeans by 2020 and we have set targets for the future in our manifesto.