Who made your jeans?
Elizabeth Galloway students in the reception area of Levi Strauss
Elizabeth Galloway first year students had the opportunity to visit the Levi Strauss factory in Epping. As this is the last factory in the world still owned and managed by the epic brand themselves, it was a rather special occasion.
We were shown through the whole sequence, from where the huge bolts of fabric are stored, the patternmaking, cutting, different sewing stations, down to the final personalization via enzyme processes, bleaching or laser burning, whatever it takes to get the fashionable distressed look.
Everything is amazingly organised, and safety standards are rigorously adhered to, down to special stations where the eyes can be rinsed if necessary. No wonder it takes only 15 minutes to produce a pair of jeans! After that, the final embellishing process can take anything from one to 3 hours, depending on the finish required.
Having read the company’s admirable stance on ethics as displayed in the reception area, and experiencing the heat and noise of the factory floor, and the irritation from fumes of bleach and chemicals, one cannot help to once again think of garment workers in other parts of the world where such standards are non-existent. We should really not take the clothing we wear for granted.
Even the chairs in the reception area look like jeans!