The California-cool label turning denim green

Not-so-fun fact: it takes up to 4,000 litres of water to make a single pair of jeans. Much of this waste water goes back into our rivers and oceans full of hazardous pesticides. Enter Boyish, the sustainable California brand founded in 2018 by Jordan Nodarse, former Director of Denim at cult ethical label Reformation. As Boyish joins the Selfridges squad (with a pop-up in our Denim Studio at Selfridges London on Tuesday 2 July), we caught up with Jordan to talk recycled fibres, vintage finds and why we should all be wearing men’s-inspired jeans.  

Denim jacket (coming soon)

Man, I feel like a woman
“It goes all the way back to my love of the movie Annie Hall and watching Diane Keaton kill it in her suit!” says Jordan. So it’s no surprise that the Boyish concept is centred around women wearing men’s jeans. “I hear a lot of women describe their style as boyish but sexy. It’s true. A men’s jean cuts a women’s butt very well. I took all the good parts of men’s jeans and applied them to women’s jeans.” Rigid denim is key here. “It should do what a bra does,” continues Jordan. “That’s the difference about our jeans and our fits.”

 

I took all the good parts of men’s jeans and applied them to women’s jeans.       

Stitch in time
If you’re after the perfect pair of high-rise, straight-leg jeans, you often have to go vintage shopping. Boyish jeans are like an old find. As Jordan explains, “Whenever I travel, I always look for good weekend/night markets or vintage shops to hunt down some beautiful garments. I’ve always loved that phrase: ‘What is old is now cool again.’” 

 

Whenever I travel, I always look for good weekend/night markets or vintage shops to hunt down some beautiful garments.      

 

Whenever I travel, I always look for good weekend/night markets or vintage shops to hunt down some beautiful garments.      

Heavy on the source 
“Our biggest challenge is combatting green-washing from other brands, and journalists who don’t even know what sustainable or environmental manufacturing truly is,” asserts Jordan. So, Boyish works to ensure the use of natural and traceable fibres. “Many don’t realise that cotton fields around the world could still employ child and slave labour. That’s why it’s super important to know where your products come from – not just the factory but the fibre. We start at the source.”

 

It’s super-important to know where your products come from – not just the factory but the fibre.    

Cotton on 
When Jordan first arrived at sustainable brand Reformation as Director of Denim & Special Projects, cotton was initially off limits because of how much water and pesticides it used. He then “discovered more and more information about how to reduce water usage and pollution, utilise fibre that others would consider trash, minimise carbon emissions, and streamline the supply chain to be as short and efficient as possible”.

 

Jordan’s top 3 sustainable innovations

1. Material
Alternative materials with low environmental impact, such as the newest sustainable fibre, Tencel™ x Refibra™ Lyocell. Refibra™ recycles scraps from big fashion retailers and reuses 99.9% of its water and materials.  

2. Manufacture
Efficient and streamlined manufacturing practices, like keeping the supply chain short to reducing carbon emissions and utilising new technology like vapour-spray washing machines so that machines aren’t filled with more water than necessary.

3. Misson
Partner with several organisations like 1% For The Planet and Solar Sister, which help women in rural Africa become solar entrepreneurs and enables villages to break away from using kerosene and other unsafe ways to generate energy.  

Jordan’s top 3 sustainable innovations

1. Material
Alternative materials with low environmental impact, such as the newest sustainable fibre, Tencel™ x Refibra™ Lyocell. Refibra™ recylces scraps from big fashion retailers and resues 99.9% of its water and materials.

2. Manufacture
Efficient and streamlined manufacturing practices, like keeping the supply chain short to reducing carbon emissions and utilising new technology like vapour-spray washing machines which use less water.

3. Misson
Partner with several organisations like 1% For The Planet and Solar Sister, which help women in rural Africa become solar entrepreneurs and enable villages to break away from using kerosene and other unsafe ways to generate energy.  

Boy, oh boy

Elsewhere in denim...

Elsewhere in denim...

Hey Jules
J Brand’s newest fit, Jules, is already an Instagram favourite, with the perfect rigid high-rise straight-leg silhouette that hits just at the right part of the ankle. It’s designed and made in the US using 30% recycled cotton with a wash process that, the brand claims, utilises 90% less water than normal to create a rigid look.

Trust Nobody
Nobody is based in Australia, the world’s second driest continent. Water saving is, therefore, critical for the brand, which has reduced water use by 50% in certain washing and finishing processes and is exploring the implementation of steam recapture to save even more. 

Less is more
The Levi’s Water<Less™ initiative is defined by over 20 water-saving finish techniques. So far the scheme has saved over 3 billion litres and recycled more than 2 billion litres of water. The brand also works with the Better Cotton Initiative to train farmers to use less water, pesticides, insecticides and synthetic fertiliser when growing cotton plants.

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