By / May 17, 2019

Levi’s 511 Slims is Now Made of Cottonized Hemp

In March, Levi’s, the maker of the iconic 501 jeans, introduced Levi’s Wellthread Collection. They are the Trucker Jacket and 511 Slims, made from cottonized hemp, and produced using its waterless technologies. The product lineup, made in virtue of sustainability, launched in partnership with sustainable fashion brand Outerknown.

Paul Dillinger, head of innovation, said Levi’s plans to use 100 percent hemp in making its products. The American denim company plans to have some of its apparels made purely with hemp. 

Levi’s cottoned hemp

In its announcement in March, Levi’s highlights that sustainable fashion transcends just being ideal.

Hemp has always been one of the most sustainable raw materials since it uses significantly less water for processing. Therefore, it has less than half the carbon footprint compared with other materials. This key characteristic of hemp is the reason why industrial hemp has been an established market even before the 2018 Farm Bill.

Levi’s use of the material, however, is significant because the company was able to soften it to the level of cotton, at least to the feel of the users. Before Levi’s cottonized hemp, the material had always been known for its rough texture that is much closer to linen than cotton. In fact, hemp is widely popular as raw material for ropes

hemp cotton
There’s a growing need from consumers for eco-friendly products. (Photo by DepositPhotos)

The technology Levi uses

To overcome the problem with its rough texture, Levi’s partnered with unidentified fiber technology specialists. Furthermore, the specialists use a technology that softens hemp with a small amount of energy and does not involve a complicated chemical process. The process involves utilizing rain to conserve water.

“Our intention is to take this to the core of the line, to blend it into the line, to make this a part of Levi’s portfolio,” Dillinger said. The ultimate goal is for Levi’s to continue carrying sustainable and ethically-made products without sacrificing comfort and fashion.

Passion for corporate social responsibility

Levi’s move to integrate hemp with its products not only addresses environmental concerns but also addresses a growing need from consumers.

According to a study, 20 percent of consumers at present are willing to spend more for eco-friendly products. It would, therefore, be only wiser for big retailers and niche fashion brands to choose hemp as raw materials for their products to increase their market.

Levi’s, in fact, is joining an already long list of companies that have adopted hemp fashion. Some of these companies are EnviroTextiles, yoga brand prAna, outdoor brand Patagonia, and Bad Decision Adventure Club.

Levi, eco-friendly products
20 percent of consumers at present are willing to spend more for eco-friendly products. (Source)

Consumers prefer eco-friendly products

A survey from Nielsen found that 81 percent of consumers now prefer companies that display a passion for social responsibility. This sentiment is most common among millennials. Eighty percent of the Gen Zs and 79 percent of Gen Xs also prefer eco-friendly brands. The sentiment is also strong among Baby Boomers and Silent Generation with 72 percent and 65 percent respectively.

“As a result, sustainability has become an urgent opportunity for companies to connect with consumers. They are excited about the change,”. This is important to Regan Leggett, Executive Director, Thought Leadership and Foresight, Global Markets for Nielsen said.

That being said, Levi’s launch of its hemp collection more than demonstrates its passion for corporate social responsibility. In addition, they connect with a significant demographic with evolving taste.


(Featured Image by Mubariz Mehdizadeh)

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