11/03/19 Levi’s Wellthread x Outerknown Introduce Cottonized Hemp Denim

Levi’s, the iconic denim apparel label that is soon to go public again, is teaming up with men’s lifestyle label Outerknown that features groundbreaking cottonized hemp.

The heritage San Francisco-based brand recently announced that it is introducing a new form of “cottonized hemp” denim in Spring 2019 in the form of a Levi’s Wellthread x Outerknown collaboration.

The menswear collection rooted in sustainability and driven by design is set to include jeans and a trucker jacket made with 70% cotton and 30% hemp, that it says has been altered to feel just like cotton. The hemp was sourced from a rain-fed hemp crop and thereby reduced the water used in fibre cultivation by roughly 30%.



Image courtesy: Levi’s x Outerknown


Image courtesy: Levi’s x Outerknown

Celebrating the environmental benefits of hemp, Levi’s says it plans to use the fibre in more garments in the near future. Hemp requires less water and land in the growing phase and has roughly half the carbon footprint of conventionally grown cotton.

Levi’s Wellthread approach is also focused on the creation of products from a single fibre-cotton. Made of 100% cotton, the fabric, thread, pocketing, and labels are all designed for recyclability and with easily removable metal trims, with a future state of closed loop recycling in mind.

Up until now, the rough texture of hemp has prevented it from being widely adopted in the apparel industry. However, Levi’s is committed to overcoming that obstacle by employing “a process developed by fibre technology specialists that softens the hemp, giving it a look and feel that is almost indistinguishable from cotton.”

“We know hemp is good for the environment, but it has always felt coarse,” said Paul Dillinger, vice president of product innovation at Levi’s. “This is the first time we’ve been able to offer consumers a cottonized hemp product that feels just as good, if not better, than cotton.”



Image courtesy: Levi’s x Outerknown

In fact, interest is building around the potential of hemp as a more sustainable cotton alternative. At the end of 2018, a farm bill was signed into law that legalised the growth of hemp in the United States. Analysts predict that the hemp market, currently valued at around $1 billion, will be worth $20 billion by 2022.

The partnership between Levi’s Wellthread and Outerknown, the sustainable clothing company founded by professional surfer Kelly Slater, is in its fourth season. Previous collaborations focused on jeans made with Levi’s water-conserving Water < Less fabric and recyclable trims.

The Spring 2019 line will also include a T-shirt made from recycled jeans, a western shirt made with a cotton and hemp blend, and a fully recyclable nylon board short, of which all the materials used, from fabric to eyelets and stitching, are made from nylon.

All garments in the collection were crafted in facilities that participate in Levi Strauss & Co.’s Worker Well Being initiative, which offers workers health and planning advice, along with financial education programs.

Shop the Levi’s Wellthread x Outerknown collection.