“When it comes to the fashion industry, sustainability means that each stakeholder puts our planet before their profits,” said Oliver Timsit, founder of the Los Angeles-based women’s denim brand, Oliver Logan.
Known for soft fabrics made with recycled cotton blends and classic denim fits available in sizes 24-34, Timsit said Oliver Logan practices “slow fashion,” meaning garments take a little longer to produce but are made responsibly in ethical facilities and designed to endure seasons.
“Slow fashion is the opposite of fast fashion which means we do not believe in changing one’s entire wardrobe four times a year to match each season,” he said. “We take the evergreen approach, a movement inspired by the natural phenomenon of some plants, trees, and other types of foliage that remain healthy and vibrant year-round. Our denim is relevant and versatile regardless of the season.”
The brand sources fabrics from Deyao Textile Co. Ltd in China, which recycles 80 percent of its water discharge from its dyeing and finishing plant and is certified by the Global Recycle Standard (GRS) and Organic Content Standard (OCS). Easipower Co., its cut, sew, washing and finishing facility, offers employees paid maternity leave, continued education programs and childcare. Its garment accessories and trims supplier, Sun Tat, provides woven labels in recycled yarns and printed labels in recycled polyester tape.
To communicate the environmental savings of its partners to consumers, Oliver Logan teamed with Green Story, a platform that measures brands’ environmental impact and translates data into simplified and relatable statistics. Green Story concluded that a single pair of Oliver Logan jeans conserves .52 CO2 emission, or about 1.2 miles worth of driving, and one of its shirts saves 969 liters of water, or roughly 510 days’ worth of drinking water.
While every brand has its own sustainability journey, Timsit said he believes sustainability in the denim industry is no longer a choice.
“We have to start doing things differently,” he said. “The technology to manufacture better, recycle natural resources, and reduce waste has become widely available, and I encourage all brands to implement these technologies in their manufacturing and design process.”
Here, Timsit shares the greenwashing red flag every shopper needs to know and the role education plays in justifying higher prices for sustainable jeans.
Rivet: Describe the most sustainable jean in the current collection.
Oliver Timsit: Our most sustainable jean right now is the Mulberry Straight in Vintage Light Indigo. The fabric we used is made from 33 percent post-consumer recycled cotton, the metals used to make the hardware are recycled with eco-friendly finishing, and our wash was processed using a combination of ozone and laser technology. In total, one pair of these jeans saved 141 gallons of water which is equal to 281 days of drinking water for a single person.
Rivet: Who is your denim icon, and why?
OT: I love a good storyteller, and there is no one better than Ralph Lauren. His denim transcends generations and is accessible to everyone.
Rivet: Name one major red flag that tells you a brand is greenwashing.
OT: Ambiguity. Consumers should be wary of claims not backed with detailed statistics about a company’s efforts. If a company is truly sustainable, they should be willing and able to prove it in a way that the customer can understand.
Rivet: What is your first denim memory?
OT: I was 12 years old, and it was ‘bring your kid to work’ day. I went to downtown Los Angeles with my dad who was in the denim business. I remember walking past a cutting table as denim fabric was being laid out. I spent the rest of that day following the denim around the factory from the cutting table to the sewing line. A few days later, I went back to see the finished product, a pair of five-pocket men’s jeans, and I couldn’t believe my eyes. Since then, I’ve had an affinity for denim and the design process in general.
Rivet: What do you think is the next frontier in making denim more environmentally friendly?
OT: Brands play a big role in making denim more environmentally friendly since we sit between the supply chain and the consumer. It’s our job to slow down, create better products that last longer, use materials that are already in circulation, and reduce our reliance on natural resources. The technology that allows us to do that is widely available, we just need to encourage more brands to use it. If brands can leverage new manufacturing technologies and educate their customers on buying more responsibly, then we will all be on a path to more environmentally friendly denim.
Rivet: Describe your most-worn jean.
OT: I bought a pair of APC jeans at least 10 years ago. It was the first time I bought raw premium denim and spent every moment breaking them in. There was even a time when I was sleeping in them. Eventually, they molded to my body, and to this day, they still fit me better than anything else. They have aged beautifully, and the color was used as inspiration for our Ralph wash.
Rivet: In your experience, what is the most effective way to educate consumers about sustainable denim?
OT: The idea of sustainable denim can be very intimidating and even confusing for a consumer, so we use approachable platforms like Instagram, TikTok, and email to deliver our message. The best way to get the point across is to be direct, relatable, and most importantly, use quantifiable data in terminology everyone can understand. For instance, at Oliver Logan, when we talk about our resource savings, we talk about it in conserved days of drinking water rather than gallons of water saved. We do the same for energy and CO2 emissions. Sustainable denim can indeed be more expensive, which is a sensitive topic for consumers. This is where the education piece comes in—letting customers know that what makes a pair of jeans sustainable is that they are well made and will last a long time, eliminating the need to buy another pair in six months. When you put it this way, the money becomes less of an issue because they’re now paying for longevity. Not just for their garment but the planet as well.
Rivet: Which certifications do you rely on to identify suppliers that fit the brand’s eco ethos?
OT: We look for WRAP, GRS, BSCI, Bluesign, Higg Index, ISO14001, and Oeko-Tex. Beyond that, we like to spend time with our suppliers to ensure that everyone from the employees to the owners shares the same ethos as Oliver Logan.
Rivet: What is currently inspiring you?
OT: The transition to post-pandemic life inspires a lot of what we do. We spent so much of the past couple of years in sweats that our focus has been to design denim that is just as comfortable. Jumping back into ‘normal life’ has influenced our drive to innovate our sustainable practices further so that we can leave the smallest footprint possible and lead by example for a greater change in our industry. Our jeans are a nod to the future of denim while remaining timeless and classic.