The Sustainable Product
When you wear a pair of drys well and long, some magic will come your way.
Although organic cotton is the main fiber we work with, we strive to use other sustainable fibers for non-denim products.
For us, a sustainable product means it must be made of at least 70% sustainable fibers. Aside from organic cotton we use recycled fibers, for example, wool and polyester.
You decide how far they go
No matter how your Nudie jeans looked when you bought them, they all began as a pair of dry denim. Even the pre-washed and pre-distressed styles were dark indigo denim at first. We cherish well-worn and mended jeans. Jeans that become a part of us when worn a long time, just like a second skin.
At every stage, from harvesting the cotton, to indigo dyeing and weaving, down to the sewing, men and women have worked hard to create our products. This is why we value the product so highly and will always believe in the worth of repairing and reusing. We recommend our customers to wear their dry Nudie jeans for at least 6 months before the first wash. The outcome depends on who you are and how you live your life in your jeans. But regardless of the lifestyle, your jeans become a log of the time gone by, and they will end up as one of a kind, shaped by you.
An important part of the break-in process is of course not to wash your jeans too often, but washing your denim early is great if you want an even, clear blue tone. There is not one right or wrong way to go, as long as you love and respect your jeans. You decide how far, and in what direction they go.
But if it’s those strong contrasts you’re after, keep in mind that an early wash will reduce the chances to get that distinct look. Airing them instead of washing will also save water. And this is the first part of the smart but still so simple eco cycle. Following the eco cycle makes your Nudie Jeans more beautiful while also saving resources.
Why does Indigo fade?
During the dyeing process, the natural cotton warp yarn is dipped into a number of indigo dye baths where it gradually turns to a deep blue color. As indigo dye can’t be completely fixated onto and penetrate the cotton fibers – the color will bleed and fade as long as the denim is worn.
If you scrape an indigo-colored cotton warp thread with the edge of a knife, the blue dye will bleed and reveal the white core layer. The same principle applies when wearing a pair of dry jeans.
Free Repairs Forever
Every pair of Nudie Jeans comes with a promise of free repairs. No matter when or where you got them. Our jeans are meant to be worn a lot. We use only high-quality fabrics, and the sewing is top class.
As we provide the jeans, we also take care of them when they are torn. Just wash your jeans and hand them into your closest Nudie Jeans Repair Spot. Once they are patched and sewn, you have an updated version of your favorite jeans.
If you feel the moon is closer than any of our Repair Shops, you can look for our Repair Partners. They are fully equipped to repair and handle your jeans just as if you had left them at one of our shops. Of course, they do it for free as well. We also got repairs on wheels. Catch the Mobile Repair Station when it hits your town.
Our shops are called Repair Shops because, for us, it is just as important to care for and repair the jeans we once sold, as it is to sell new ones. Of course, you can buy our products in our Repair Shops, but we have also chosen to give the Repair Stations a key position in the stores.
The idea behind the Nudie Jeans Repair Shops, is for them to serve as hubs where our jeans are repaired, resold as second-hand products, or handed into the Nudie Jeans Reuse program. Last year we collected 9218 pairs of jeans in our shops. Thanks to our customers using this service, together we saved about 7374 kilos of textiles to be reused or recycled.
"Every pair of Nudie jeans, no matter where you buy them, comes with a promise of free repairs"
In 2020 for the first time ever, we saw a reduction of repairs made. The figures dropped with 27,5% compared to 2019. But although so, we kept our promise of free repairs forever and prolonged the life of 45 900 pairs, and in other words 36 718 kilos of denim. An amount that would demand 325 321 tons of water in the production of new jeans, and in turn could fill 130 Olympic swimming pools.
One of the biggest challenges of circularity is scalability. In 2018, we set a goal to open 50 new Repair Spots globally by 2030, and one of the steps toward reaching that goal is partnering with selected wholesale accounts and establishing Nudie Jeans Repair Stations in their local shops.
This enables a wider reach for our repair services and allows us to spread the eco-cycle message, while also creating opportunities to further impact consumers’ adoption of more circular behaviors. The Repair Partners are equipped with the same sewing machines and sets of tools as our own Repair Shops in order to easily carry out the same services that we provide. In 2020, we partnered with five new Repair Partners, each one carefully selected to ensure that our promise of free repairs for life is delivered responsibly, with high quality, and in more and new locations.
If there’s no Repair Shop or Repair Partner around the corner where you live no planned visits from the Mobile Repair Station, you can order a free of charge DIY repair kit.
To prolong the life of a garment is even more sustainable than recycling. It can be done by simply using the garment for a long time, reselling the garment, reusing the fabric to create something new, making patches for repairing, or cutting it to materials for new products.
At Nudie Jeans we do all of this, all to reduce waste. We offer our customers 20% off a new pair of jeans when handing in an old pair of Nudie jeans. The jeans that we sell again in our Reuse range are washed and then repaired if needed, and ready to become a new customer’s favorite pair.
We are also proud that we can label our Reuse jeans with “Bra Miljöval”, the Swedish “Good Environmental Choice” eco-label issued by the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation (Naturskyddsföreningen).
Since 2018, we also offer Reuse jeans online, where in limited occasional drops, preloved denim is made available at our online shop. In 2020, this initiative continued and the results were once again great, as most of the drops sold out in just a few days. We want to take responsibility for our impact that we create, which is why we have chosen to explore ways of curating the reuse jeans and turning them into new products that we can sell again, as the first step before up-cycling the fabric and later on, recycling at a fiber scale.
''Prolonging the life of the jeans by selling them as Reuse is also a way to showcase the value of the garment. In 2020 we sold 2238 pairs of Reuse jeans.''
Our view on renting programs
Rental schemes can be an effective way to reduce production volumes, and to improve the circularity of a business model. We believe that rental concepts are highly compatible with different garment types, such as outdoor and formal occasions wear. But the Nudie Jeans approach to circular adaptation is embodied by our philosophy of breaking in denim, establishing long-lasting relationships with garments based on their real value, care, and affection for them, as well as repairing, reusing, and recycling their fabrics. Because our garments belong to the everyday-wear category, we are more confident in the Nudie Jeans eco-cycle methodology and a refined Reuse Program with a strongly integrated take-back scheme for a broader range of Nudie Jeans garments.
This doesn’t mean we won’t continue reflecting on the matter, evaluating it, and possibly also explore renting as a complementary component to our circularity commitment further ahead. But until then, we’ll let the Nudie Jeans eco-cycle explain how we strive to enable a closed material loop for an increased level of circularity. And think about it, a pair of jeans you buy and wear with care, tear and repair over and over until the moment of farewell is knocking on your door, and you decide to let go of that precious pair, returning them to us isn’t that different from a rental scheme after all.
When we have used and reused denim for a long time, we need to explore recycling, as the last step of closing our loop. Recycling reduces waste, saves energy, and reduces the consumption of virgin raw materials. Cotton fibers last much longer than we normally tend to use or wear our clothes. A pair of jeans can be recycled in various ways, and there are challenges in both the mechanical and chemical recycling processes. We are constantly looking for new ways to extend the life of our cotton fibers.
In the exploration of recycling our own products, we endeavor to keep organic cotton separate from conventional cotton in the recycling process. This way, it can be used again as recycled organic cotton, which we think is the most sustainable alternative. By exploring ways of recycling our own products we know that the input of recycled cotton is organic, along with the input of virgin cotton. The new product would, therefore, be both organic and recycled.
To be able to scale up this circular idea to more than just one or a few projects, we need a steady inflow of our own denim to be used as raw material. This means that the more Nudie Jeans we can collect in our Repair Shops the better, both for reuse purposes and for recycling.
In 2020, we collected 9218 pairs of old Nudie Jeans in our Repair Shops and we hope that more and more of our users will hand in their jeans to us when they no longer want them. This way we can continue to prolong the life of the cotton fiber, regardless of whether it is as a pair of Reuse jeans, patches for the repairs, fabric for new denim accessories, or as fiber input to a recycle fabric blend for new jeans.
Unsold & Faulty Garments
To minimize the volume of unsold products and deadstock, we need a controlled and responsible product flow, which is key to mitigate overproduction and overconsumption. This requires tailored logistics and technical solutions as well as meticulous product planning and the most accurate forecasting possible.
At the end of the season, unsold products from shops are sent back to the warehouse for each respective market. Our European shops send them to the warehouse Korallen AB in Borås, Sweden; American shops send them to a local warehouse in New Jersey, and the Australian shops send them to the warehouse at our office in New South Wales, Australia. We also try to be proactive and send items back to Korallen, from where they can be sold online, primarily during sales periods. Whatever remains in shops will be sent directly to one of our two outlets in Hede or Barkaby, Sweden. The management of faulty items is similar to how we handle unsold products.
Production seconds and leftover fabrics
In production, we sometimes end up with products that do not meet our quality requirements due to minor defects; these garments are referred to as seconds. Tops such as jackets, shirts, sweaters, and knitwear with minor defects are often amended or adjusted already in the factories, which makes the number of seconds in these product categories close to zero. Since denim laundering processes entail a higher likeliness of style differences, seconds among jeans occur more frequently than among tops, but even though the garments might not make it to a shop, they are still valuable material resources. For example, seconds can be used in recycling projects as an alternative way to optimize our material resources. We made this a particular focus in 2020, and together with our suppliers in Tunisia and with support from the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), we have further explored the possibilities of recycling some of our seconds while also evaluating the processes according to environmental performance criteria along the way.
Although we often buy minimum volumes of fabric stock, we sometimes end up with leftover fabrics at our production suppliers in between collections. The first solution is often to use the fabric for our production and styles in future collections or for the production of giveaways. Alternatively, we sometimes use the digital platform Rekotex, where textile companies can sell leftover fabrics to smaller players at a good price.
Product samples produced when creating new collections are sent to our outlet shops or are occasionally sold at sample sale events in our head office. In 2020, we contributed approximately 120 kg of unsold product samples to Style it Forward, the pop-up shop of Hungerprojektet (the Hunger Project), where all sales revenues were used to empower women in selected countries struggling with hunger and poverty. Product samples that cannot be sold or donated are considered material resources for upcycling or recycling projects.
Bags and Packaging
We care a great deal about taking responsibility for the manufacturing of our garments. We, therefore, find it equally important to care for how we package and distribute our products to customers. There are no plastic shopping bags in our physical shops and all bags and gift boxes used in our Repair Shops are made from FSC-certified and recycled paper. The Forest Stewardship Council offers certification to ensure responsible forest management. Products ordered from our online shop are delivered in plastic bags made from RE-LDPE and RE-HDPE, which are recycled plastics containing around 40–80% recycled materials and 60–20% virgin plastic.
We have since mid-2020 made sure that all our polybags that are used for packaging in our production chain are made of 80% recycled plastics. We have examined many different options including biodegradable plastics, but after thorough research, we decided that recycled and recyclable plastic is the best option for us right now, due to a vast lack of recycling possibilities for biodegradable plastics from domestic waste streams. Using recycled plastic also increases demand, which is still low globally, and as part of the circular flow of resources, this is important to us.
Since 2017, we have bought all paper bags, boxes, and plastic bags for our Repair Shops and online shop from our packaging supplier Avisera through their climate offsetting program ÅterBära (ReTurn), in which Avisera plants trees to offset CO2 emissions from the packaging materials. In 2020, we ordered 94,227 paper bags for our Repair Shops, 98,000 e-commerce plastic bags, and 375 e-commerce paper boxes through the program.