Youth won’t part with ‘dirty’ jeans

You can believe it or not, but if jeans are your second skin, unfailingly updated every season, you are making a huge contribution to environmental pollution. According to a recent report in Slate, large amounts of carbon dioxide emitting chemicals and fertilisers are used to produce cotton clothes, particu larly jeans. The report revealed that ‘to produce one pair of regular cotton jeans it takes threequarters of a pound of fertilisers and pesticides’. Seen this way, your jeans are not as harmless as the look.

So does that mean that ecofriendly youth will ditch their denims? “No way. I’ll never give up jeans,” exclaims 20-year-old Divya Bhandari, an engineering student. “If I had to remove all my jeans, I’ll have a totally non-functional wardrobe,” she says. Divya points out that most young sters are totally dependent on their jeans, which have become “365-days-a-year clothing,” because they can be worn both as casual and for mal wear.

In fact, many youngsters reveal that they are willing to switch from plastic to cloth bags, from polyester to jute, but when it comes to denims — there is no satisfying alternative.

Ketaki Pulijal, an 18-year-old mass communication student, who has been the president of her high school nature club and has taken part in projects like ‘save a tiger’ says, “I am a hardcore environment friendly person. But I don’t think any such report can make me go without clothes, which is what my denims are to me — they are the only clothes I can think of. It has become an essential, like underclothes.” Gen Next unanimously agrees that a denim-less, cotton-less wardrobe is something that they just cannot imagine. As Areeb Shakir, an engineering student and disc jockey puts it, “The very thought of living without the jeans that I practically live in is so absurd that I am not even sure if I believe that they are so environmentally damaging. Such things are to be taken with a pinch of salt.” But one thing that youngsters are willing to do is promote any positive movement that aims at reducing the harmful effects of cotton manufacturing. “If they have found out that cotton jeans are polluting, they can also figure out how to reduce this pollution. If there is any such product, I will definitely buy it,” says Natasha Dhedia, a student of St Ann’s College.

Luckily for those like Natasha, international brands and retailers like Nike, Levi’s and Walmart are all set to produce jeans made of organic cotton which reduce pollution by almost 50 per cent. In fact the Levi’s brand announced it will include jeans made with 100 per cent organic cotton in its Fall 2006 product line, but it may still be a while before “clean jeans” make their way to city stores.

In the meantime, there are other ways to cut down on environmental damage: Wash them less frequently and don’t iron them to save resources. Ironed jeans spell “geek” in any case, so this little move is good for your “cool quotient,” feels Apeksha Vishwanathan, a fashion designing student. She now has one more reason to reconfirm her liking for guys who don’t iron their jeans. She says, “Not only is the unkempt look so sexy and forever ‘in’ , now they also contribute to energy conservation by saving on electricity bills. This way or that, denim rocks.”


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