Last week, Nudie Jeans announced that they would be stepping away from using leather patches on their jeans in the future. To accompany a piece we did to celebrate that step, here’s an open letter we published in our issue 04, some one and a half years ago, in which we urged the Swedish denim brand to please do just that. One from the Vaults:
Photos & Words_ Eric Mirbach
Swedish Brand Nudie Jeans produces in Europe and uses organic cotton. They’re the perfect jeans brand. Well, almost! Unfortunately, even a label like Nudie, which created a thought-through sustainability- and eco-conscious strategy for itself, doesn’t seem to be able to dismiss the almighty leather patch. We asked them why. In handwriting.
I love the products you put out, I really do! I’m highly interested in buying responsibly – but I can’t wrap my head around the fact that a lot of clothing brands with a background in sustainability insist on producing clothing items with little to no fashion appeal to them. Why is it that everybody seems to think sustainability in itself is a good enough reason to buy someone’s product? It’s different with you guys, though – you produce cool clothes first and only then tell everybody about your responsible production process, the organic cotton, the fair wages, the whole shebang. Way to not fuck others over in sake of first world “fashion needs”. Much respect for that! Now that being said, I have to tell you I have a hard time buying Nudie Jeans. And it’s not about your shirts, the pocket longsleeves, your sweatshirts. Wearing those on a daily basis, love them. It’s the jeans. Why would a company like yours, with all that effort you put into a highly respectable sustainability-backbone, would still be using leather patches?
“You guys have it all figured out. Be the change. I’m right behind you, wallet in hand.”
You’ve proven that you’re on a mission to cause the least harm possible while making stylish, comfy, great looking jeans. You, my friends, are this close to being the most awesome, kickass clothing brand there is. Why not go the whole way by integrating patches made from cotton, linen, hemp, jacron? – it could all be so easy! I’m not going to lecture anybody on the evil that is leather production, about the toxic waste and the implications on global warming – partly since I’m sure cool cats like you are very aware of all of this. And I’m sure you feel pressured to offer leather patches because a high percentage of your target group possibly thinks it’s natural, a sign of quality or gives their big city lifes a more cowboy-y appeal. Whatever it is: You guys, you have it all figured out. Be the change. I’m right behind you, wallet in hand. I’ll be forever faithful and tell the world your product is the best. Promise.
A couple months later, this happened:
and thanks for reaching out!
First off, I am sorry for the very delayed response, but the fact of the matter is that we neither got your physical letter, nor did we pick up any static in social channels back when you penned your piece on our brand.
“People have been asking us about the leather patch and it’s reason to be, but there really isn‘t a good-enough one.“
We always start with the garment, designing them the way we want them to look, and then, since we‘re really nice girls and boys, we produce them the best way possible with regards to environment and the people making them. The leather patch might not be necessary, but it‘s a design feature that‘s been there since the beginning. As of late, people have been asking us about its reason to be, but there really isn‘t a good-enough reason, so the leather patch on the jeans has been under debate for a while here at HQ, and we‘ve been looking for options that suit our range of dry, pre-washed and black denim best. However, we won‘t stop producing garments and accessories made with leather, but people don‘t have to buy them. BUT; since the better part of the jeans are made with organic material, we agree, why should not ALL women, children and men be able to enjoy our range of organic cotton jeans?
You state in your piece that we‘re so close to being the perfect brand – we are glad you see us that way, but according to ourselves we have a long way to go until we reach perfection. There‘s always something to improve, and to us, that‘s the beauty of it.
I hope this letter answers some of your questions, and again, sorry for the delayed response! Be well!
Looking back at this today, just like we did in our newest piece featuring some of the first leather-free Nudie jeans from the new range, we want to say ‘thank you’ to Nudie for taking this important step forward. To dismiss using leather for a patch that has no purpose (other than branding) is the right thing to do – but it means change and people tend to not like change too much. That makes it a decision that’s potentially alienating parts of their customer base, even though it is actually very much in line with the company’s beliefs.
We, for one, applaud the brand for taking that risk and look forward to see Nudie pop up on the pages of Vegan Good Life more and more!- Share -