Levi Strauss & Co. introduced a sustainable design process and premium capsule collection for men dubbed Dockers Wellthread on Wednesday evening at the company’s new innovation lab next door to its San Francisco headquarters.
Combining sustainable design and environmental practices with an emphasis on supporting the well-being of the apparel workers, the program was developed as part of the First Movers Fellowship at the Aspen Institute.
“How you make a garment is just as important as the garment itself,” said Michael Kobori, vice president of social and environmental sustainability at Levi’s. “We believe that we can use our iconic brands to drive positive sustainable change and profitable results. With that comes the responsibility to continually innovate for each new generation of consumers.”
The eight-piece collection will be available on dockers.com and in select locations. A pair of khakis, the foundation of the collection, will retail for around $140.
Taking the view that fast fashion is the antithesis of sustainability, the design team studied archival garments to see how clothing has held up over time, using them to create a pilot collection of khakis, jackets, shirts and T-shirts. The team engineered lasting value into the design process by reinforcing garments’ points of stress and making buttonholes stronger and pockets more durable.
Next, they worked with suppliers to find ways to reduce water and energy use, such as specialized garment dyeing to reduce water and energy consumption, with cold-water pigment dyes for tops and salt-free reactive dyes for pants and jackets. The apparel is dyed to order in the factory, not in the mill, which allows for greater inventory agility.
The designers also considered responsible use and reuse. Extremely long staples of cotton are more easily recycled, so the brand developed a unique, long-staple yarn for its premium Wellthread three-ply twill. In addition, every garment in the collection uses 100 percent cotton thread and pocketing. Sundries include compressed cotton or metal that can be easily extracted by magnets. Washing garments in cold water and line-drying are also encouraged with features such as T-shirts where front and back shoulder panels overlap to prevent stretching out while hang-drying, and a locker loop built into the khakis for easy line-drying.
“The collection is built on the premise that once you become informed of the challenges of environmental responsibility and social value, you have to act to create change,” said Paul Dillinger, senior director for Dockers global design. “We see where we can adjust our social processes and also yield some great men’s wear.”
The task wasn’t without challenges, which Dillinger called “guardrails rather than constraints.” For example, the company is now piloting a new approach with factories to support programs that will improve the lives of factory workers worldwide. Dockers Wellthread khakis are made exclusively at one of the five factories designated as Improving Workers’ Well-Being pilot sites. If a site lacked sweater-making facilities, the challenge became how to design a garment that delivered the same need for warmth as a sweater. The khaki twill was also used to make a blazer.
“The company took a risk on this groundbreaking vision and then supported it all the way through its implementation,” said Nancy McGaw, the founder and deputy director of the business and society program at the Aspen Institute.
Levi’s other sustainable innovations include the Waste<Less collection of jeans made from an average of eight 12- to 20-oz. recycled plastic bottles and the Water<Less collection, which reduces the amount of water used to make a pair of jeans. Last year, the brand made 29 million Water<Less units, saving more than 360 million liters of water.
As one of the most recognizable models in the world, Christy Turlington Burns has an insider’s view of the fashion industry and the allegations of sexual harassment swirling around it. “I can say that harassment and mistreatment have always been widely known and tolerated in the industry. The industry is surrounded by predators who thrive on the constant rejection and loneliness so many of us have experiences at some point in our careers,” Turlington told WWD, along with her suggestions for how the modeling world should protect younger women and men. Read more on WWD.com. Link in bio. (📷: Tony Palmieri) #wwdnews
@asics America has tapped a new brand ambassador: famed DJ/record producer @steveaoki. This initiative is intended to set the tone for the new brand identity and philosophy and will include partnerships with influencers and in-store and off-line activations that will continue into next year. This is Asics’ most significant marketing effort in two decades, and is expected to attract younger consumers to the brand. #wwdfashion
24-year-old Jean Prounis is redefining the rules of jewelry. Formerly a studio assistant to Jemima Kirke and a design apprentice at Ghuran, she focuses on handcrafted subtleties and ancient goldsmithing techniques. “There was a really sterile feel in the environment and I wanted to have jewelry with character that shapes how you wear it everyday,” Prounis said. Each piece is hand made in New York, either by Prounis or three other jewelers in the district. #wwdfashion
“These collections continue to build on that vision, empowering differently abled adults to express themselves through fashion,” said @tommyhilfiger of his line of adaptive apparel, which launches today. The line consists of 37 men’s and 34 women’s styles based upon the pieces from the spring Tommy Hilfiger sportswear collection. #wwdnews
“Stranger Things” is getting a new cast member for season 2. Meet @sadiesink_, the 15-year-old who will be joining the Netflix series for its new season. You may recognize her from “The Glass Castle” with Brie Larson and Woody Harrelson, but the Texas native’s next role goes in an entirely different direction. She describes her character, Max, as “a rough and tumble skater girl [who] becomes friends with the boys at school.” The second season debuts on October 27. (📷: @jgreenery) #wwdeye
Amid the Harvey Weinstein controversy, there’s another sector that’s being put under the spotlight for sexual abuse: the modeling industry. While rumors about abuse and sexual harassment of female and male models — and the photographers, agents and others who perpetrated it — have circulated within the fashion world for years, model @cameronrussell started posting stories from models on Instagram last week about abusive situations they’ve encountered — from sexual harassment and molestation to attempted rape. Over 75 have weighed in so far. Read more on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdnews
To celebrate its 16th anniversary, @dylanscandybar tapped designers and celebrities to create mosaics out of candy. The mosaics will be auctioned off to support the philanthropic cause of each participant’s choice. Pictured here is the mural created by @aliceandolivia's Stacey Bendet. For a first look at some of the other artwork being unveiled tonight, go to WWD.com. #wwdeye
The annual Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic in Pacific Palisades this weekend drew Kate Hudson, Tracee Ellis Ross, Laura Dern and more. See pictures of the star-studded event on WWD.com. (📷: @chelsealaurenla) #wwdeye
In his new book “Hollywood Royale,” Andy Warhol’s Protégé Matthew Rolston celebrates the Eighties revival of Hollywood glamour. Featuring more than 100 portraits taken by Rolston from 1977 to 1993, the book contains photos of icons like Michael Jackson, Cyndi Lauper, and @drewbarrymore, pictured here in 1991. “Hollywood Royale,” out today, will be accompanied by an exhibition opening at Los Angeles’ Fahey/Klein Gallery on March 1. #wwdeye