You probably don’t need another person telling you how terrible denim production can be. Don’t fret, Remake is here to make sure you can still wear your stylish jeans and be a conscious consumer! Stamped with Remake’s seal of approval, Boyish Jeans is one of the most sustainable denim brands, committed to leaving as little impact on the planet as possible. The only impact we’ll have on the planet is good jeans is proudly displayed on their Instagram bio. We are thrilled to chat with Jordan Nodarse, founder of Boyish Jeans, about the company and his journey as a sustainable designer.
Tell us more about Boyish Jeans. What inspired you to found this brand?
I’ve always been conscious of the environment growing up in California. As my career in denim evolved and I spent more time in factories around the world, I realized how much waste and toxic chemicals were being used in making jeans. Boyish Jeans derives from my passion for making environmentally conscious and sustainable jeans, and the need to educate consumers so they have a higher standard and knowledge when it comes to choosing products to buy.
What is Boyish Jeans’s aesthetic?
Vintage-inspired silhouettes with modern updates.
What were you doing before you founded Boyish Jeans?
I designed and created the GRLFRND denim brand for Revolve and then went to Reformation to create the Reformation Jeans collection of denim, knits, and soft goods.
When did you first become interested in sustainability?
It’s difficult to define a specific time. However, I’ve been designing with deadstock fabrics since 2007. I didn’t really learn what truly sustainable jeans were until I was at Reformation a few years ago. I suppose no one at that time knew what sustainable jeans were. Unfortunately, most supposedly “sustainable” jeans from other brands now are not very sustainable.
What has your journey been like as a sustainable designer?
It’s been a lot of trial and error. Nonetheless, it is progress, not perfection. Environmentally conscious manufacturing and sustainable fashion are constantly evolving and I’m excited to keep evolving with it.
What’s your typical day like?
Water my plants (my apartment is a jungle ?), surfing at dawn, then grab an espresso at Urth Caffe before heading into the office. At the office, my day is early morning calls with Asia & Europe, design meetings in the late morning, production reviews around lunchtime, and then I usually eat at my desk. The afternoons are catching up on emails, reading articles online about new advancements with chemicals and technology in manufacturing (Ecotextile News and Sourcing Journal are my favorites) and finish off with sales reviews. I usually meet with friends, editors, or factories for dinner meetings in West Hollywood or Downtown LA.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
This wasn’t given to me directly, but Erik, one of the founders of Veja, said, “Invest yourself in the looking and you will see” in reference to auditing your supply chain and how he visits his cotton farms where they purchase organic cotton from. Certifications are not always legitimate. The supply chain should be farm to brand knowledge. There are no excuses for not knowing what’s happening and the full impact in a brand’s supply chain. Sewing factories are just a scratch on the surface. After all, fabric is 60%-80% of a garment’s impact on the earth.
Do you feel like marketing Boyish Jeans as sustainable has helped or hindered the brand?
We hope that it has helped and that more and more people actually care about sustainability when making purchases.
We are completely transparent with our consumers about what materials and chemicals we are using, where we purchase them from, as well as the certifications and transaction receipts to prove those claims. This is not optional, it’s necessary. And we hope more and more businesses start operating this way.
What makes conventional denim production unsustainable?
Cotton mostly. It uses a lot of water, pesticides, insecticides, herbicides, fertilizers, land use (that could be used for growing food), carcinogens like formaldehyde, and of course, slave and child labor.
What are your thoughts on today’s fashion cycle?
Rubbish! Fashion is one of the only industries where technology hasn’t evolved into a better product. If you look at TV’s, they have gotten thinner, lighter, better definition of picture quality, more internal features, and also, less expensive. Fashion is the opposite of that. Trends change all the time so that consumers have to constantly buy. The quality has gotten worse so it falls apart faster. The fabrics have all turned into polyester or polyamide, or some sort of petroleum-based (fossil fuel) plastic fiber that sheds thousands and thousands of microplastics into our freshwater and ocean water—also making its way into our stomachs. Also, let’s not forget the fact that all this is damaging our homes, mama earth, and also killing humans.
How do you believe the fast fashion industry can begin to fix itself?
People need to realize that it’s cool to care about the planet. What will be left for the generations beyond ours if we don’t make good decisions now?
Check the labels. Know what fiber the garment is made of and request information from your brands. Ask them about their certifications, what their stance is on microfiber shedding, and to see an audit report of their factory conditions.
What brands do you look up to?
Patagonia has been a leader for years. They pretty much paved the way for most brands. I recently heard Yvon Chouinard speak about how they are focusing on organic regenerative cotton growing. This means using plants to add nutrients back into the soil versus using fertilizers. That’s the true form of agriculture—working with the land and the organisms that are meant to nourish that land. Also, Reformation has amazing policies and stances on issues like polyester and traditional cotton. I’d say Reformation’s standards of sustainability are higher than any other brand I know!
If you weren’t a designer, what would you be?
Where do you like to shop?
How do you wear your values?
Leading by example—be the standard you want to see in the world.
Images: courtesy of Boyish Jeans