My man Ben, from whom you will be hearing a lot as he gets down and dirty in the Naturalista kitchen, has three pairs of Nudie jeans. He also has a few Levi’s, and some dodgy emergency-purchase ones from (gasp) Zara man. And it’s not because they’re organic that I can hand on heart say no jeans ever looked hotter or hung more perfectly off the male frame than the Nudies. They are nothing short of perfect and they have the eco-credentials to go with. The same can rarely be said for such a lusted-after denim brand and for this they should be duly crowned and celebrated. Based in Sweden, Nudie launched in 2001 and went 100% organic in 2012. In an industry in which three pairs of jeans are sold every second and the production of that denim is rife with pesticides, formaldehydes, toxic dyes and countless pesticides, their decision is as brave as it is brilliant.
Refreshingly for a label who pledges “green” credentials, ultimate transparency is key to their whole operation and in their online production guide shows customers each country their products are made in, and every contractor and sub-contractor involved right across the chain. And from their audit procedures to transportation methods it’s all on the page for everyone to see. They also set impressive new parameters in their approach to wages in Asia – for while 90% of their clothes are produced in Europe where the minimum wage is more accurately reflective of the cost of living, 10% are made in Asia where they have deduced that a more fitting “living wage’, higher than the prescribed minimum wage, is a fairer (and more sustainable) reflection of the cost of living.
“We believe that everyone who participates in the manufacturing of our clothes should have a wage enough to live on. This is part of our strategy to take responsibility on how our products are manufactured… After investigating the actual cost of living in the area, the living wage level was calculated in cooperation with the supplier and the aid of the Asian Floor Wage benchmarks. To reach up to that level, an increase of approximately 17% of a worker’s annual salary is needed. So far, our share of the total production is limited, which means that it requires several companies producing at this supplier to pay their share. It’s only then the salaries will reach the level of living wage for all workers, and can be extended throughout the manufacturing chain.
Paying our share of the living wage is a step in the right direction and Nudie Jeans is proud to be part of that development. We hope to inspire other brands to follow this initiative.” We very much hope so too. And if that isn’t enough, they also get busy recycling old un-resurrectable Nudies into beautiful Rag Rugs which you can then purchase from their online shop.
So next time the knees wear out on your favourite pair and you find yourself down on denim, head to Nudie and show them you love them – and love them you definitely will.