If you build it ... Levi Strauss & Co. will cover it with jeans to teach you a lesson about recycling.
When the company claimed naming rights to the San Francisco 49ers' new billion-dollar home in Santa Clara, California, last year, the "Field of Jeans" nickname was born. Levi's trademarked the term and made the play on words a reality this month with a Bay Area denim drive that brought in over 18,850 pairs.
The donated jeans, whose sale at Goodwill will benefit the nonprofit's local job training programs, ended up at Levi's Stadium to demonstrate the impact of recycling used clothing instead of sending it to the landfill.
More than 18,850 pairs of jeans were donated to Bay Area Goodwills and transformed into a Field of Jeans by San Francisco-based artist, Hannah Sitzer.
Levi's emphasizes sustainability in its business practices in a number of different ways, in addition the Field of Jeans. It launched its WaterLess line of jeans and the Wellthread line of Dockers that reduce water use in the finishing and dyeing processes.
Based on a 2007 assessment that found the majority of water use associated with a pair of Levi's occurs when the cotton is grown and when the consumer cares for them, the company encourages consumers to wash their jeans less. (You may remember Bergh's high-profile comments on the subject.)
When the company remodeled its San Francisco headquarters, it used salvaged denim as insulation for the building. That process, completed by a company called Bonded Logic, "extends the life cycles of our blue jeans and reduces waste," it said in a blog post.
In an interview, Michael Kobori, Levi's VP of sustainability, said that the message behind the Field of Jeans is simple: What do you do with your jeans, and other clothes, when you're done with them? "Don't throw them away, don't contribute to the" millions of tons of textile waste that ends up in landfills yearly in the U.S., he said. "Bring them back so Goodwill can use them in a much more productive way."