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Welcome to Union & Fifth's blog; where fashion and philanthropy come together. 

Denim: Fall Friend, Environmental Foe

Denim: Fall Friend, Environmental Foe

Seeking Environmentally-friendly Pursuits to Fall Fashion


I love denim. I feel that I may have actually wandered into a slightly unhealthy obsession with denim – I love denim jeans, jackets, pearl snap shirts, Daisy Duke cut-offs, skirts, and on and on and on. If it were appropriate to always leave my home wearing some kind of denim, I would do that totally and completely. Dressed up, dressed down – denim is the fabric for me. It comes in so many variations, it is not even worth listing. If you love denim, you probably understand what I am saying.

However, as an environmentalist, I am weary of this beloved trend for a variety of reasons. I am someone who cares deeply for health as a human right – so let’s begin there. Cotton growing, chemicals used for dying, and silicosis from sand-blasting to get that “perfect” distressed look all have tremendous cost on human health. Beyond that, the impact on water from agricultural run-off and dumping blue dyes into watersheds is tremendous. As if that wasn’t enough – the amount of water used to grow cotton for just one pair of jeans is currently hovering around 1500 gallons – that’s equivalent 24,000 Starbuck’s Tall Lattes. Holy cow!

That’s the rub – so what can we do about it!?



·      Buy used items from places like Union & Fifth. (Check out our picks below)

·      Purchase items made from recycled denim.

·      Seek designers/brands that detail their use of alternative processing methods for dyeing and distressing garments.

·      Purchase organic cotton items as much as possible. 


Item Care:

·      Wash jean items less often to preserve the fibers; most jean items don’t really get dirty. If you find your jeans have an odor, throw them in a bag and toss them in the freezer overnight. This process kills odor-causing bacteria, leaving your pants fresh.

·      Always air-dry denim items, rather than using a dryer machine.


Enjoy your items for as long as possible and when done, donate them or find a place that collects fabric so that they can be made into a new product.  These items below are pre-loved and in fabulous condition to be loved again!

This series, featuring a deeper dive into classic fall outer layer fabrics, continues in two weeks with a look at wool.


Fashion as a Force for Good: Our Mission for Disaster Relief

Fashion as a Force for Good: Our Mission for Disaster Relief

Closet Cleanout

Closet Cleanout