Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Should You Wash Your Jeans?

According to the latest skuttlebutt, Levi CEO Chip Bergh says he never washes his jeans in an effort to conserve water and keep them in "mint condition." While I understand the necessity of conserving water, I wonder if Mr. Bergh has any sense of history about why jeans were created in the first place. The original intent of jeans was for the working class. I believe they were popularized in America via Levi Strauss when folks started gold mining in the 1800s as apparel one could wear that held up to hard core labor and that were comfortable. My partner's jeans come home caked in dirt and mud and grease after a day of driving for a landscaping business. And what about all those hard working moms out there, dealing with infants who spit up, poop and pee regardless of where the stuff is going to land? Imagine wearing those same jeans day after day, removing soil by "spot cleaning." In the 1970s my brother passed on a pair of authentic orange tag bell bottom Levis to me after he had outgrown them. They had gone through several washings, were soft and had plenty of tears, especially in the knees and butt. Eventually, they became a series of holes that I artfully patched for an Art class project, receiving an "A" for my effort. Had it not been for the fact that I gained a few inches and could no longer fit into them, I would probably still be patching them. As it is, I sold them on ebay for a premium, stuffing a few extra patches in the pocket for the buyer's future use. And what about all the commando types out there, who choose not to layer their private parts with underwear? I shudder to think. I've decided Mr. Bergh doesn't have to wash his jeans because he dons a new pair every day. Heck, he can afford it being a CEO and all. But for the rest of us poor folk, it's a good washing that keeps us wearing and enjoying the comfort of a pair of broken in jeans. It's one of the things that makes being part of the working class enjoyable. So much for "mint condition."

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