Apr 26, 2023
by James Roberts
Levi’s® WellThread® Collection Treads Lightly On Our Planet’s Resources
by James Roberts
Apr 26, 2023

Launched in 2015, WellThread® was founded on the principles of looking after both the planet and the people that make Levi’s® clothing. The SS23 WellThread® collection is a triple threat of sustainability: Earth-friendly materials and dyes, a circular design ethos, and worker well-being initiative.

The big feature of the collection is that it’s supporting farmers who are switching to organic cotton. Transitional cotton, as it’s known, is cotton that’s on its way to becoming organic. The process for changing can be expensive or risky for farmers. To give farmers confidence, Levi’s® is paying a higher price for the cotton while the growers convert their production to use less water, less pesticides and less genetically modified seeds.

This transitional cotton has been used to create some classic and contemporary Levi’s® pieces. For men, there’s the white tapered 502s, indigo 551 Zs, Vintage Trucker jacket and loose chinos. In the women’s department, there’s a shirt and a jacket, plus a couple items for those with parent problems: the “Baggy Dad” jeans and “80’s Mom” shorts. Perfect.

While most of the pieces are finished in indigo or white denim, several of the women’s garments have a floral pattern printed onto them. No petroleum-based inks have been used here. Instead, Levi’s® has used a black pigment dye derived from the wood waste which gives a rich, dark color.

It all fits into WellThread®’s circular design ethos. Levi’s® says that “each and every component of a WellThread® garment’s anatomy—from the fabric to the iconic Levi’s® Two Horse patch to the zipper—can be recycled.” So, when your “80’s Mom” shorts have frayed away from supporting too many little league games, they can be recycled and transformed into another family-themed garment.

A happy worker is a more productive worker. At least, that’s Levi’s® approach to its workers’ wellbeing. To make sure factory employees are getting what they need to feel more “engaged, productive and healthy,” it has carried out firsthand surveys to gather research and insights. It then works with nonprofits and non-governmental organizations to implement these findings in the real world. The workers talk; Levi’s® listens.

WellThread® is billed as a platform for innovation and testing. We hope to see more of these innovations being used in the long run across Levi’s portfolio of products. With around 6 billion pairs of jeans being manufactured by brands worldwide, the impact of denim on the planet is huge. Some pretty radical thinking is going to have to take place for things to change. Perhaps Wellthread can push Levi’s in the right direction.

Shop the Levi’s® WellThread® SS23 collection online now, and check out the Red Tab brand’s other recent release – a deadstock collaboration with Slam Jam.