On the face of it, consumer culture and environmental awareness run counter to each other. Any shopper focused on buying unnecessary product is presumably not paying much attention to their carbon footprint, or so the assumption goes. But making amazing product and making a difference don’t have to conflict, and Nudie Jeans is doing its best to do its part. The Swedish brand’s latest offering, a collection called “Bloodline,” features treatments on denim that you’d never expect. Truly. Stitched into these jeans and jackets is denim made with hemp, bamboo, and even paper.
As a species, we’ve been making materials and housing from paper, hemp, and bamboo for millennia, so it makes sense that Nudie would reach all the way back to blend those materials into selvedge denim. “Our heart is made from dry denim; our blood is indigo colored,” Nudie says in a statement. “The idea of these denim items can be traced back to the very beginning. They are lineal descents of prototype #1. Now updated and made with an alternative way of thinking.”
The details are painstaking, with yarns spun in non-hemical processes and aesthetics balanced for natural variations. But the final products are indistinguishable from traditional denim in the best sense.
The heaviest denim of the bunch is dry hemp selvedge, a 42% blend of hemp that weighs in at 14 ounces (per yard). The longer fibers of hemp catch the indigo dye in a unique way, providing the surface of the material with incredible variation and irregularity for a wide range of blues. The hemp pieces feature orange and pale yellow stitching on the back pockets and seams.
For the bamboo variety, Nudie pulverizes, spins, and mixes the material in with cotton for a 17% bamboo blend. The little bit of bamboo lightens the fabric up to 7.1 ounces, but keeps it strong and sturdy. Bamboo pairs from this collection feature four shades of green stitched into the pockets.
Nudie also created a paper yarn, allowing the brand to blend a denim that is 31% paper. The paper gives a flat surface to the material for a solid dye and a smooth, shiny surface. The new material also lightens the denim a bit, bringing it to 12.5 oz. Paper denim pieces from the collection feature white pocket stitching.