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Levi’s WellThread Uses Transitional Cotton from India

Plant-based dyes and organic cotton are the main drivers of sustainability for the new Levi’s WellThread collection.  

The Spring/Summer 2023 men’s and women’s collection uses fabrics spun with organic cotton sourced from Levi’s WellThread Transitional Cotton program.

Launched in 2020, the program works with small shareholder farmers in India as they transition their fields to a production system that sustains the health of soils, ecosystems and local communities. The brand supports the farmers during this transition by committing to purchase their transitional cotton crop, which reduces their financial risk during the shift to organic farming.  

The S/S ’23 collection also sees the addition of plant-based black pigment. Prints in the collection are achieved with BioBlack TX by Nature Coatings, a 100 percent bio-based pigment. The black pigment comes from upcycled wood waste that otherwise would be burned or landfilled and serves as a replacement for petroleum-derived carbon black, which relies on the combustion of fossil fuels. Additionally, BioBlack TX is produced through a closed-loop manufacturing system. 

Plant-based dyes have been a focus for Levi’s WellThread. The brand added fabrics dyed with Stony Creek Colors’ plant-based dyes in 2021.  

As Levi’s incubator for sustainable innovations, Levi’s WellThread collections leverage more sustainable design innovation. Garments are made in facilities that recycle water and the wash formulas used in the line are developed to reduce their chemical, energy, and water impact.

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“Collaboration is a key element in all of our work and we’re grateful to all of the farmers, designers, and material scientists who contributed to the breakthroughs that will help protect our planet,” said Paul Dillinger, Levi Strauss & Co. VP, head of global product innovation.

Style-wise, the collection zeroes in on classic silhouettes with long-lasting appeal. For women, the assortment includes the Baggy Dad, a loose and relaxed-fitting jean, and the Type II Trucker, a boxy silhouette with denim-covered snaps. New additions include the ’80s Mom Shorts and a slim denim shirt with denim-covered snaps. 

Men’s fits for the assortment include the 551Z and 502 in denim, the Loose Chino Crop in printed denim, and the Vintage Trucker jacket.

“Our goal is to develop more sustainable methods to make high-quality, beautiful clothing that will endure both emotionally and physically,” Dillinger said. “Through WellThread, Levi’s has demonstrated a firm commitment to supporting research efforts for new processes and resources to be scaled and shared with the world.”