Re: What Does Up-Cycling Really Mean to Manufacturers?

I think Devan makes an extremely interesting point in how much consideration actually goes into consumer benefits of up-cycling by the manufacturer. When reading her post, one company in particular stood out in my mind: Levi Strauss & Co. Granted, they are no architecture firm, but from a design standpoint they are really pushing sustainability and not so much product up-cycle as product recycle.

“Sustainability is much more than an idea or a project at Levi Strauss & Co. Sustainability is deeply embedded into our products, our culture, and our business.” This reads across the top of their website Sustainability page. As an architecture student who has been penetrated with the benefits to sustainability, why wouldn’t this appeal to me? Then it hit me, As Devan’s post mentioned, I cannot afford these. As a college girl, on the other hand, the sustainability factor may not be as impressive to me. The status of these jeans is what appeals to most people in my demographic. The little red piece of fabric among a blue jean has such an intriguing attraction to it. So why would they push such an idea? Maybe because “everyone is doing it.”

The Levi Strauss & Co. website has an entire section devoted to their cause, even a diagram of the “life cycle.” They pride themselves through all phases including the initial cotton production and when the “worn-out clothes are placed in a landfill.” They also mention wanting to reduce the impact in the the four areas “critical to apparel manufacturing: water, energy, chemicals and materials.” This relates to building manufacturing on the grand scale as well. The website elaborates further on each category and the different aspects they hope to improve on.

The life cycle of Levi Strauss & Co. Jeans

Ultimately, I believe that Levi Strauss does a wonderful job of advertising their devotion to a sustainable manufacturing process. As previously stated, I wish they were more affordable for individuals my age. It almost seems as though they feel they can justify their cost with explanation of how much goes into the making of the product. This seems to be where the challenge lies. How can we create a sustainable, well liked product, for an affordable amount of money? As of right now, it seems as though we can’t.

http://www.levistrauss.com/sustainability

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