Nov 03, 2021
by Sidney Pacampara
PANGAIA Launches First Denim Line Using a Himalayan Nettle Blend
by Sidney Pacampara
Nov 03, 2021

It’s been a busy year for sustainable fashion brand PANGAIA. The loungewear label beloved for its eco-conscious take on colorful basics and core wardrobe items have expanded into grape leather sneakers, plant-based activewear, and even sunglasses that use lenses made from collected CO2 emissions. Its latest Earth-friendly venture is the brand’s first-ever line focused on the apparel staple denim.

The PANGAIA Denim collection is made up of three pieces each available in a mid and rinse wash including a denim jacket ($275 USD), high rise jeans ($225 USD), and straight leg jeans ($225 USD). The denim is spun in reverse on a shuttle loom and utilize left hand selvedge denim, which creates a softer feel compared to the right hand twill commonly used by other selvedge denim offerings. A unique purple-line detail is included on the inside of the jeans distinguishing the garments from other brands that traditionally used red thread. All pieces are meant to be recycled at the end of their life and even feature non-galvanized, recycled stainless steel buttons.

The capsule aims to address the water problem in the denim industry: over 3,700 liters of water is needed to produce a single pair of jeans, according to a lifecycle assessment study conducted by Levi Strauss & Co. This is equivalent to three days’ worth of one US household’s total water needs or the estimated amount of water a person drinks over 3.5 years. Conventional denim is made out of conventional cotton, what the brand notes as “a fiber that is usually heavily irrigated and fertilized in cultivation.”

In order to shift its reliance away from conventional cotton, the PANGAIA Denim pieces use a unique blend of natural materials including fully biobased, cellulose thread. The brand’s innovation in the denim space is PANettle, which is made in Italy using naturally regenerative wild Himalayan nettle, organic cotton, and treated with PANGAIA’s peppermint oil-based odor control and antimicrobial treatment called PPRMINT.

“Everybody knows hemp is a miracle-like fiber because it’s so strong. Himalayan nettle is multiples stronger than that,” PANGAIA Denim Designer Jonathan Cheung told WSJ. The brands Chief Innovation Officer Amanda Parkes also emphasized the social importance of cultivating the material. Giant Himalayan stinging nettles are “foraged in Nepal by a female-run collective of subsistence farmers,” WSJ repots, and the work “helps support local communities by providing off-season work for farmers who wild-harvest the raw material without disruption to their farm activities,” the brand says.

Cheung was the Levi’s Head of Global Design prior to his current role at PANGAIA and knows the work needed to reshape the denim industry for better. The global denim brand has also made strides in redeveloping its manufacturing process to combat water waste especially through its Water<Less jeans initiative. “I’m part of a long denim lineage. This has to be at the edge or beyond my standards. If it satisfies me as a denim nerd—and a fussy denim nerd—then I can deliver that back to our customer,” said Cheung when explaining his work for PANGAIA Denim.

Shop the new PANGAIA Denim line now online at

In other fashion news, the plant-based, zero waste streetwear brand UNLESS by former adidas executive Eric Leidtke just dropped its first collection.