Mar 25, 2022
by James Roberts
Levi’s Keeps Natural Dyeing Fresh in This Spring Collection
by James Roberts
Mar 25, 2022

Sometimes, you have to look back to go forwards. That’s just what Levi’s has done in its latest spring/summer collection, Fresh. Inspired by the brand’s 1970s capsule called Fresh Produce, which featured carrots on its tab labels, the new collection is a playful celebration of all things nature-based.

Natural dying uses less chemicals and additives, making it a more sustainable option. The downside is you usually don’t achieve the vibrant colors that synthetic dyes offer. But not with this collection. Levi’s has used a new dyeing method that produces bright Spring colors like yellow, lavender and peach to rival any synthetic dyes.

The dyes come from a range of natural sources, including non-endangered or non-threatened plants like madder root and natural indigo, agricultural byproducts like pomegranate skins and minerals like clays, carbonates and natural oxides.

Levi’s notes that not all of the dyes are plant or mineral based, but all do feature a minimum of 50 percent plant or mineral content.

Levi’s has covered all bases with this collection with a host of iconic styles and silhouettes, including the 551Z Straight Crop jean and a Type II Trucker. Also in there is an oversized anorak with kangaroo pocket, a Levi’s XX Chino pleated twill short, a Utility High Loose short, a cotton patch pocket chore coat, a calf length denim overall dress, and a selection of Red Tab Vintage Tees.

In the accessory department, there’s a cotton twill bucket hat and a knit beanie, so your head doesn’t miss out on any of the action. Everything comes together in a fun, playful and Spring-like vibe. Pairing shorts and jackets in the same color is a strong look, made even stronger by the knowledge you’re wearing something designed with the planet and produce in mind.

The iconic red tab has been replaced across all the items with little illustrations of various produce like lemons, cherries and mushrooms, which is a sweet nod to the collection’s use of plant-based dyes.

It’s not just in the dying process that this collection aims to look after the planet better. Three methods in manufacturing help reduce water consumption. A technique called reverse osmosis recycles water in the mills. Powder dying is utilized over traditional rope dyeing as it requires less water. And garment dyeing is used for the tops instead of yarn dyeing.

Karyn Hillman, Chief Product Officer at Levi’s Strauss & Co., says: “We are excited to debut our Levi’s Fresh collection, a vibrant mix of super soft tees, fleece, and denim made with natural dyes and water saving techniques. Taking inspiration from our archives, we infused each piece with youthful energy borrowed from the original ‘70s Levi’s® Fresh Produce line. It’s a fun, plant and mineral based, planet friendly collection rooted in essentials and infinitely covetable.”

Investigating the original ‘70s Fresh Produce capsule, we found that it repurposed used garments, a method of production that we’re seeing more and more brands employ today. It seems there’s plenty more we can learn from the past.

The Levi’s Fresh collection will drop April 4 on