Direction by Stephan Alessi
Styling by Julian Antetomaso
Everyone loves a good pair of jeans. Comfortable and classic, they perfectly tie together any outfit with an air of casual chic. With roots in the American West and a historic rise alongside youth culture, denim has become a global staple and found itself everywhere from the runways of luxury brands to red carpet statements (looking at you, early-aughts Justin and Britney) to the closets of nearly everyone.
Denim’s long-lasting popularity, versatility, and democratic appeal have resulted in everyone from top models to politicians embracing the look. However, like many industries across the globe, the fashion industry has contributed greatly to a massive environmental footprint. Greta Thunberg notably reminded world leaders of the pressing issue at the United Nations Climate Action Summit last month, and some big names in fashion have begun taking responsibility by going carbon-neutral, participating in initiatives like The Fashion Pact, and in the case of AG Jeans, making some sweeping changes to reduce energy usage across the board.
Denim’s contribution to the environmental problem has been its production process, which traditionally uses a lot of energy. To get the dye to fade properly, some manufacturers might wash denim dozens of times. This process means that many of the jeans you’ve purchased in the past have typically been hammered with countless gallons of water before they even make it into your closet. Making matters worse, some manufacturers' denim washes often use a cocktail of chemicals that often end up dumped in natural environments.
Luckily, leading figures in the denim industry, including AG Jeans, realize the immediacy of this issue and are taking steps towards sustainability by finding new production methods that create the same quality product while respecting the environment. The nearly 20-year-old label brings together the design aesthetic of Adriano Goldschmeid (formerly of Diesel and Gap 1969) and the forward-thinking manufacturing expertise of Yul Ku. The company has consistently prioritized social responsibility, proving that sustainability is far more than a trend.
To further emphasize its ongoing commitment to sustainability, the brand charts its efforts through its #AGOODKARMA initiative. Tackling several issues with long-term approaches to each, AG hopes to combat the single-use bags and plastic straws of the world via a process that prioritizes the environment (and all the people within it) regardless of how trendy sustainability is that season. Over the past few years, the brand has been ramping up their efforts by installing solar panels on their headquarters and factory, upgrading the lasers they first installed about a decade ago, and advocating for clean water for all through collaborations with Water for People and Boxed Water.
Most recently, AG Jeans overhauled its filtration system, making it capable of fully recycling its wastewater in honor of World Water Day this past March. The new machinery uses a multi-step recycle process, which preserves the same dyeing and washing process that results in the jeans’ signature look and feel while sending the used water through several stages to separate it from any waste. The system shows the brand’s willingness to prioritize this critical issue throughout all parts of their process. By adopting new methods and practices, AG Jeans is helping to combat the exponential progression of climate change.
To highlight these important efforts, AG Jeans and L’Officiel USA have teamed up for a sustainable laundry day starring Calu Rivero. An actress, model, and occasional DJ, the Argentine multi-hyphenate has a major following for her creative work, but she’s also regularly engaged in environmental activism. She has spoken out on topics like food (Rivero is a devout vegan), fashion, and beauty, and often shares tips that anyone can adopt to reduce their individual footprint.
In the new video, Rivero takes some AG Jeans pieces for a spin at a Brooklyn laundromat while sharing her tips for more sustainable washing and drying practices. While loading machines, she reminds viewers to use cold water and avoid overfilling dryers. Rivero also gives viewers permission to skip washing their jeans sometimes—that is, in fact, the most eco-conscious choice. All the while, she makes the chore of laundry look fun—taking advantage of the empty space, she kills time by dancing around, riding on carts and a tiny pink bicycle, and flipping through the pages of L’Officiel USA. Watch the video below, and get inspired to give your laundry routine an eco-friendly revamp.