Back to school, back to a routine… back to those blue jeans. To get some denim wisdom, we went to the absolute boss of denim in Edmonton, Janna Stewart of Arturo Denim Co.
Not only do Janna, her husband James, and their partner Scott have good genes (they’re all beauties), they are all about good jeans. And we mean good. They design and sell their own jeans, with some tweaks and alterations so the pants hug juuuust right. They’ve been doing their thing on 124th Street since December 2016.
There are some pretty big sustainability issues with denim, y’all.
“The biggest thing that stands out for me is washing, or distressing,” Janna says. “Every pair of jeans you buy in a store will have some kind of wash done to it. Post-sewing or post-manufacturing, it goes through a whole chemical process or some sort of industrial washing process.”
Did you know denim isn’t actually soft? We don’t mean the pair of pants you see in a store. The actual fabric is a really rigid, suuuuuper tough fabric. Some companies use A TON of water to get the fabric to the soft state we all see it in.
“It creates a lot of chemicals and it exposes people to a lot of dyes,” Janna says. “There’s chemical runoff, especially when it's done in countries that maybe don't have high environmental standards. That's a big issue.”
One way Arturo is working more sustainably is through buying raw denim.
“We have a couple of pairs that are straight up,” she says. “We buy the denim from a mill. We cut and sew it, and have it available for customers to buy. No washing, no treatments.” They do have a couple of styles that have been washed once - but just like we’d do it at home on laundry day (bah, laundry day *eye roll*). A normal wash and dry, nothing fancy or that wastes water.
We all have that pair that makes our 🍑 look fiiiiine. But unfortunately, there usually comes a time where our fave jeans (or jean jacket, or denim skirt, etc) wears a little thin, or we bust a belt loop, or we get a scuff on the knee, or Heavens to Betsy, a hole in the crotch. Thank goodness Arturo does repairs and alterations. That’s one way you can make your clothes live longer and make the planet happier. Get ‘em fixed! Bonus: you won’t have to break in another pair.
Another way to make your jeans last? Wash them way, wayyyy less, says Janna. (Not never, like The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants. Just less.)
“The fabric will last longer if you wash less,” she says. “Washing breaks the fabric down.”
One more way to be a little more sustainable in your mission for good jeans this fall is to hit up your favourite secondhand store. Pick a pair that needs a new home, and then get it altered.
“Maybe the style is not quite right or the fit isn't good,” she says. “When you have tailoring done right, you basically transform it into a different fitting piece of clothing, which is nice because you're putting that piece of clothing back into your closet.” Arturo can help with that!
Whether you’re bringing an old pair back to life or giving a new-to-you pair some tweaks, make sure you finish it off with a ride-or-die belt. Did you know the Intrepid’s extra-tough elastic belt is made of recycled water bottles? A whole 8.5 bottles per belt! Bonus: it’s fully machine-washable, so when you do wash your jeans (maybe less than you were before you read this blog post?), there’s no need to unthread from the belt loops.
Get your Intrepid here - and enjoy being back in jeans this fall!
- Liz Pittman -