Our take on Chip Bergh’s interview
May 29, 2014

As many of you may know, there has been a furor of activity since the “don’t wash your denim” proclamation by Chip Bergh, CEO of Levi’s Strauss & Co.

We steered wide of the very public stoning that followed on social media sites across the board. We didn’t want to join the wagon till we got the facts straight. I came across this video on Fortune’s site which shows the interview in full.

Personally, after watching the interview, I didn’t think that what he said was so blasphemous to warrant such a whipping. He didn’t actually tell people not to wash their jeans, he said and I quote “some denim aficionados would tell you never wash your jeans”. I think that he was trying to tell people to wash your denim less, not go without the wash completely. Obviously, the media skewered the story to sensationalize it.

I’m not sure what his intentions were by telling people infrequent washing makes your denim last longer. Going by the vein of discussion in the interview, I think he had conservative use of water in mind. It is true that if you wash less, you waste/pollute less water. However, to be truly sustainable, shouldn’t they replace synthetic dyes with natural dyes?

Anyways back to point, if he meant not washing your jeans prolongs the life of the fabric, that would be wrong. Cotton needs water to stay durable. Starving cotton from water would cause it to be brittle! The only thing infrequent washing does, is to extend the life of the indigo dye on the fabric. To recap, frequent washing makes your denim last longer but lightens the colour gradually (less contrasts).

Have a watch at the actual interview here and judge for yourselves.


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