The rebirth of Bluer Denim began with a t-shirt. Specifically a promotional tee. Yes, the ones you throw away after each tradeshow/team building exercise/lucky catch from a t-shirt cannon. (Is there anything less stylish?) Rogier, Bluer Denim’s future owner, saw all of these shirts being made under abusive conditions using carcinogenic chemicals and sold at rock bottom prices so that a bunch of marketers could fling them out of t-shirt cannons and so that we all could throw them away.
Rogier decided to change it up. He sourced shirts from a factory in Haiti where adult orphans are trained and paid fairly, breaking the poverty cycle. He sourced materials with a low carbon footprint, and minimal chemicals. And he made the shirts in classic styles so that people would actually wear them (unless, of course, you like wearing an extra-large square on your body.)
Problem solved, right? Well, they cost a bit more. So Rogier then hit the streets to convince brands that it’s worth a few pennies extra to shoot a tee that’s aligned to their corporate values. And brands started buying these shirts and shooting them out of cannons. Problem (somewhat) solved.
Bluer Denim Greener Jeans
Meanwhile, Rogier and team were looking around at the rest of the apparel industry. The impact of fast fashion was never going to be mitigated with a few promotional tees. Enter: Bluer Denim. The former owner wanted to sell the brand and Rogier introduced himself. Rogier knew he could use his experience sourcing from a sustainable supply chain and apply it to denim. The two worked out a deal, and then Rogier was the proud owner of a denim company.
Next step: build the team. He gathered together five trusted colleagues from the t-shirt days and convinced them to take on Bluer Denim with nothing more than a promise. (No, none of us get paid. Yes, our families are scratching their heads.)
So here we all are: working Saturdays and Sundays. Working at night after our full-time jobs are finished to sling some jeans in an already (extremely) crowded market. Why do we do it? We ask each other that a lot. Sometimes it’s quite personal and the person (me) doesn’t really want to answer. Sometimes Rogier will talk about sustainability and his environmental anxiety. Sometimes, when Rogier isn’t around the rest of us say, do you think it’s because Rogier just wants to own a denim company and we do it because we like Rogier? (Don’t tell him we say that.)
Breaking Fast Fashion
What I think it comes down to is that the Bluer team is filled with people who want to solve a problem: how do you make jeans that look and feel good and have a positive environmental impact? We’re not talking about jeans you can hike in -- there are plenty of companies that make those. We’re talking about jeans that you would buy because they look great on their own, and then (bonus!) you find out that they are carbon-neutral, made in factories that treat people kindly, using materials that are recycled and sustainably made.
How do you make these jeans and tell the looking good story as well as the feeling good story in a way that makes people value the positive environmental impact as much as they value the fact that their butt looks great? We don’t know! But we’re trying. And we’ll tell you when we’ve solved this problem.
A Note For the Ladies from Melissa, the Head of Marketing
Here’s the thing I find hard to discuss: how emotional clothes are for women. Especially jeans. They either make you feel great or feel terrible. There are jeans you’ve binge-bought, jeans that you’ll wear when you’re a few pounds lighter. There are jeans that feel bad, but someone said that you look good in them. There’s a bit of shame mixed with frustration when you look at how much money you’ve spent on things that feel bad.
I know that feeling. I’ve had that feeling. Bluer Denim is here to help you avoid that feeling by offering jeans that feel good and look good. We’re not here to sell you something you won’t like just to sell you something. If Rogier has his passion for sourcing sustainable materials, my passion is to create a product (and a website) where women feel good and not vaguely bad. There are some great designers already doing this very thing, and we’re looking to them for inspiration.
We also make men’s jeans.
So that’s a bit about Bluer Denim. Want to know more? Sign up for the newsletter where we’ll send you style tips and news about new jeans. Or just email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Rogier answers most every email he receives and he’ll be happy to chat more about Bluer Denim.