By the People, For the People: Dirtball Funds 100-Percent American Made "Green Jeans" Through Kickstarter Campaign

10/1/2013
Would you wear green jeans? Not the trend of brightly colored denim, of course, but jeans made in way that's sustainable and good for the earth.

Dirtball Fashion recently wrapped a Kickstarter campaign to get its 100-percent Made in America "Green Jeans" funded and manufactured, raising $3,142 above its $40,000 goal from 115 backers. The company will use the funds to produce 600 pairs of men's pants, including jeans in three different washes and as well as khaki. The brand has been committed to manufacturing exclusively in the U.S. since its launch in 2008, serving a core customer base that CEO Joe Fox describes as mountain-biking, Widespread Panic-listening, 25- to 55-year-old males who get their produce from the local farmers market and like to tend a garden in the backyard.

Dirtball's fabric is a blend of 71 percent cotton and 29 percent recycled polyester sourced from water bottles (eight per pair of jeans) discarded in the U.S. 

"We want to reduce our carbon footprint and shorten the supply chain," Fox explains. "We're interested in anything that we can produce to grow the brand that we can make domestically and in an environmentally sustainable way."

In addition to the eco-friendly fabric, every component of the green jeans is sourced in the U.S., from the zipper, buttons and burrs (made in Georgia) to the North Carolina-produced waist tape.

The "green jeans" fabric was given the green light (pun intended) when Dirtball determined that it offered the best hand and the best wear. "We do a fair amount of fabric testing to see what we can do to improve the feel," adds Fox.

Originally, the company planned to use the recycled poly as-is but Dirtball eventually sent the fabric to its finishers in South Carolina to "play with it for a month." There, Fox says they discovered that applying heavy heat would cause too much shrinkage and pilling, so they choose instead to brush and "nap" the fabric, removing all the fuzz off the top and leaving behind a soft, pliable polyester.

Dirtball is already planning a second run of the innovative denim, with tentative plans to expand beyond pants into jackets and other apparel. Fox says the brand has been approached by another manufacturer that offers similar eco-friendly denim in a variety of colors and a heavier weight.

Focusing on the fit and the fabric above all else, Fox says Dirtball's green jeans are classic, gimmick-free apparel that won't go out of style. "A jean is a jean is a jean," says Fox. "We just want to make a good quality piece that will last a long time and not have a lot of frills."
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