E.L.V Denim

overall rating:

2.8

planets

Ellie Fitchet
4/5/2022
No items found.

East London Vintage Denim, or E.L.V for short, was founded in 2018 by stylist Anna Foster. Initially a made to measure jeans brand in a small studio in East London, it has since been stocked in stores across the world, ranging from Net- A- Porter and Selfridges in the UK to Harvey Nichols in Kuwait and Dubai, and has expanded to offer belts, jackets, bags and shorts. It seeks to remedy the issues in a notoriously polluting and wasteful industry… did you know that it takes 10,000 litres of water to make one pair of conventional jeans? That’s the same amount of water a person drinks in 13 years! Since E.L.V’s design is made from 2 pairs of vintage jeans and uses a Frankenstein style stitching and patchwork, the whole process of production is zero waste and does not rely on a newness and trendiness structured by fashion seasons, instead creating completely unique items that still manage to be environmentally conscious and sustainable.

What it's made of:

3

E.L.V has covered all bases when considering what materials to use for their products, from the denim right down to the ink on their labels. The main material is unwanted post-consumer waste denim sourced from vintage warehouses around the UK. These are misshapen, oversized or damaged products which cannot be sold in their current state and thus would have been destined for landfill. Their buttons are sourced from YKK Fastening, who use an Eco Finish as opposed to an electrical plating process to reduce energy, and their labels come from printmakers Mesh & Blade who use 100% recycled board and vegetable ink, which has a low carbon footprint. Moreover, the leather used in E.L.V’s patches is sourced from Tura London, a leather company, and is made up of remnants and offcuts from their factory, making the production of these jeans truly zero waste. Also, all of these companies (and all of the companies involved in the manufacturing process) are within a 5 mile radius of E.L.V, removing the need for long-distance transport of raw materials and thus decreasing carbon emissions. Furthermore, E.L.V has recently introduced a new bespoke service which allows customers to take an old pair of jeans into the studio to be upcycled- this is an impressive scheme which extends product lifetimes and eliminates the need for raw materials all together.

How it's made:

3

The fact that my source list is so short and primarily made up of links from E.L.V’s own website is testament to their commitment to transparency and comprehensive overview of their whole supply chain, from sourcing their raw materials to the final stages of production. They provide details of each company involved, beginning with cleaning at a local launderette called Cleanex, a process which uses 7-8 litres of water as opposed to the conventional 10,000. This is then transported in electric car back to the studio to be sorted by hand by Anna Foster and her team of 4, contributing to Foster’s claim that she has touched all products at least four times before they leave the studio. The denim is then cut by hand at Blackhorse Lane Atelier using traditional denim methods, and any scraps are given to the artist Ian Berry, who makes ‘paintings’ using denim, or provided to local schools and universities for classes. All of this contributes to the manufacturing process involved in making E.L.V denim being truly zero waste and sustainable, and again shows their commendable attention to detail. They are also making improvements to become fully circular: currently, they offer repairs and alterations to allow E.L.V denim to last a lifetime, and in the future they are aiming to give customers store credits when they take back old jeans.

Who makes it:

2.5

E.L.V is a company which truly puts environmental and social sustainability and transparency at the heart of its business, allowing consumers to properly understand where their clothes come from, and for this they are a model to other corporations. Foster’s commitment to ethical labour practices is reflected in her philosophy to “treat people that you work with as you would your family”. E.L.V has also carefully selected companies throughout their supply chain who employ such practices: for example, the atelier who assembles their products pays their employees a living wage and assures quality standards without Zero Hour contracts. There is no such clear code of conduct for those directly employed by E.L.V, but, considering the size of the team and the CEO’s central role in production, it is unlikely there are labour breaches. Nevertheless, it is still very good practice for this to be officially outlined. On the other hand, the fact that every stage of the supply chain occurs within 5 miles of the main studio not only has environmental benefits, but also ensures that profits go directly back into local communities. This is slightly undermined by the fact that E.L.V is sold in Dubai and the Middle East, leaving a huge carbon footprint, but they are already looking to establish studios across the world to rectify this issue. Such aims reflect the company’s promising ethos: they are already doing a brilliant job, yet still continually strive to improve, exactly the kind of attitude that all brands should take.