When Bert van Son introduced Mud Jeans in 2012, he also introduced a new way for consumers to acquire denim.
After founding Mud Jeans in 2012, Bert van Son made history when he bowed the first denim rental business model long before resale became a fashion buzzword.
An avid sailor and nature lover, he committed himself to finding ways to enjoy all of the world’s offerings without harming it. That’s what led him to build a denim brand for people who “love jeans as much as [they love] this planet,” by focusing on a circular economy.
Initially, consumers were split between the those who purchase new jeans and those who rent, but in recent years the number has skewed in favor of renting. Most recently, van Son said the company’s aim is for 2020 to be the year the brand introduces 100 percent post-consumer recycled jeans.
Why are you drawn to the business of denim?
A pair of jeans is the most popular item in the industry and, at the same time, one of the most environmentally destructive items, if it’s made in old fashioned ways.
What challenges lay ahead for the denim sector?
Jeans have become too cheap in the last decades. We have to get back to humane proportions, where everybody in the manufacturing process is reasonably paid, where pollution is stopped by using new techniques in all processes and where the raw material is recycled after use.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received?
Keep going. No matter what, you are on the right track and a leader in the industry.
What can other industries learn from the denim sector?
That change can be made and that even a pair of jeans can be made circular.
What’s exciting you about denim in 2019?
All of the new techniques in the making process that are available now—for example, the non-toxic indigo dyestuff that we use.