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Denim, forever

Since its invention in the 1800s, denim has stood the test of time – and trends. And now, designers are making this mainstay even more sustainable. From recycled (and recyclable) jeans to caring and repairing, this is how to do denim now.


A sustainable approach: high-quality denim, designed to last.

Take yourself back to those watershed style moments in your life, and chances are you were wearing denim. From a go-to pair of time-worn jeans to your first-ever denim jacket, fashion’s most-popular fabric has long proved its place as a wardrobe essential. So, what can we do to future-proof current favourites for the next few decades of wear?


The good news is by choosing thoughtfully made denim to begin with, you’re already on track to a more sustainable approach. COS denim is made from 100% organic cotton – with most styles containing up to 65% recycled cotton, including left-over off-cuts from the production process. From removing the non-recyclable rivets (those metal discs once signature to your denim jeans and jackets) without compromising on quality (the atelier team use a rigorous four-step revision process to ensure the best possible fits), brands are focusing on how to make garments more responsibly. Longevity has never been more important. ‘It has always been part of our ethos,’ says COS head of sustainability, Francesca Lilley. ‘[We] design products with the physical and aesthetic attributes that allow our garments to be long-lasting. High-quality materials and production mean they can be worn over and over again, and still perform well.’


To wash, or not to wash? Experts swear you should never wash your denim, and it’s true: the longer you can go between washes, the better. The fabric creases and moulds to your body becoming unique to you – that’s the draw of denim, after all. When the time comes, handwash inside out with lukewarm water and use a specialised denim detergent to protect and preserve. Avoid fabric softeners that could spell trouble for your more precious pieces, says COS designer Rebecca Liesenfeld: ‘Softener can really kill your denim, as it weakens the fibre and can cause damage.’

Taking these small steps can yield big results – preserving your denim’s original colour, shape and texture. Don’t be afraid to repair your more distressed pieces, either – reuse, upcycle and have fun with them, whether you decide to get crafty (DIY shorts, anyone?) or leave it to the professionals. More and more brands are offering these types of services, which tailor pieces to suit you.


The moral of the story is: love your denim, and it will love you back. And when you invest, shop smart: 100% of COS’s cotton is sustainably sourced, from the pockets and lining to everything in between. If you do eventually decide to part ways, bring it full circle; ensure you recycle at any number of facilities available – to reduce waste and to give your pieces a second lease of life. You owe it to your style memories.

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