How Levi’s turned – not washing your clothes – into a masterful PR move

A fascinating statement was recently made for those who are environmentally conscious about their clothes. Essentially the mindset is “Stop washing your jeans, save the world” – turning not washing your clothes into a PR Stunt. If you wear clothes, then it is safe to say that you are aware they require maintenance. Part of the normal maintenance process for taking care of your clothing, is washing and drying them. However, a recent admission by Chip Bergh, the CEO of a major jeans manufacturer, Levi Strauss & Co., caused some uproar among the attendees of a recent Fortune’s Brainstorm Green Conference held on May 20th of this year. Mr. Bergh stated that the jeans made by his company do not require washing. In fact, the very jeans that he was wearing at the conference was said by Mr. Bergh to have “yet to see a washing machine” for approximately a year.

May 20th actually is the 141st anniversary of the Levi’s 501 jeans product. Mr. Bergh exclaimed at the conference that “If you buy them, they will last a lot longer than most people’s waistlines”. Some are referring to the jeans as sustainable fashion and to encourage this line of thought Levi Strauss & Company are releasing a new line of products that are created from fabrics that are much easier to recycle by comparison to other jeans and actually require less water and energy known as “Wellthread”. The Wellthread line is currently available only in the United Stated online and in retailer locations throughout Europe.

The company is also focusing on the production of another line of clothing known as “Waterless”. The name is specific due to the radically lower amount of water that is required in the manufacturing process. The lack of water required is also inherent in the maintenance of the clothing as it is not required to place the jeans into the rinse cycle of your washing machine after purchase. This makes for a good public relations move for Levi, as it is great for those who enjoy a lower water bill as on average more than 2,500 gallons of water are required to be used for each pair of jeans. Many people in fact are freezing their jeans in their home freezers to reduce the potential for bacterial growth.