Weekday uses the slogan, “Think. Think. Re-think.” Nowadays, it is rare for producers to “re-think” their methods, as consumers and investors alike do not always demand accountability for faulty practices. Usually, manufacturers display their sustainably-minded methods as “final solution” of sorts in order to evade critique. But Weekday welcomes this accountability, and their openness to bettering their practices is admirable. Below, they write, “When it comes to responsibility, there’s always more to be done. Today 83% of our products are already made from sustainable materials. We are 100% committed to doing better.” By committing to betterment, they invite critique from consumers, and also suggest that they are already engaged in meeting their high standards as part of their company mission. Thus, their sustainable practices are coupled with a positive, growth-oriented mindset, proving that they are a thoughtful company and are conscious of the unsustainable reality of clothing production. These jeans are a product of a sustainably-minded company, who endeavors to create as ethically as possible.
This style is made from 50% Infinna™, a recycled fabric, while the other 50% is made from organic cotton. The Infinna textile is made of cellulose carbamate fiber, and is created by the company Infinited Fiber at the polymer stage of garment breakdown. Weekday’s organic cotton is advertised on the website as being grown without chemical pesticides or fertilizer. They cite the 2016 Textile Exchange report in claiming that this fabric requires 62% less energy expenditure, and resulting in 46% less damage on the environment as compared to other materials. Most notably, Weekday says they use 71% less water on average with this textile as compared to others. This is important, as many organic cottons require more energy expenditure. Taking all of this into consideration, there is not nearly enough detail given about the organic cotton’s production, which takes away half a planet.
On the Infinited Fiber website, they outline the eight steps of creating the Infinna textile, which are as follows: Step one, collecting and sorting old textiles. Step two, removing non-recyclables from the fabric like buttons or zippers. Step three, polyester and elastane are separated, leaving cellulose fibers behind. Step four, urea is used to “activate” the cellulose fibers, creating a carbamate powder. Step five, the powder is filtered and thickened, creating new fiber filaments through a “wet spinning” process. Steps six and seven lead to the production of the Infinna fiber in its final state. The company’s transparency is helpful, as it shows the possibilities within garment recycling. That said, the eight-step process is highly involved and would appear to require much energy expenditure, labor and water use. The company does not touch on this particular aspect of their production, and it can be assumed that such an involved method is not reproducible on a larger scale. That said, their website offers ways to license their technology directly, or to partner with them. This shows that Infinited Fiber is committed to bettering textile production on a broader scale, in a way that also satisfies their own manufacturing endeavors.
On the “Responsibility” tab of their website, Weekday outlines their current sustainable methods alongside their goals. They aim to use 99% recycled or “sustainably sourced” materials by the end of 2021. By including a tangible, short-term goal, Weekday shows their understanding of the urgency for change. A brand that is committed to rapid change is aware of the climate crisis, and is more apt to choose to adhere to ethical practices. Additionally, the brand utilizes a software called “Jeanologias” to assess their current environmental impact in order to figure out where to improve. Jeanalogias advertises that they provide “tools [brands] need to set goals and monitor their progress on the road to sustainability.” Weekday’s usage of this software shows that they are engaged with and aware of potential harm in their production and distribution, and strive to minimize their energy, water, and waste expenditure. Hopefully Weekday will continue to update their goals in the coming years, and it would be worthwhile for the consumer to continuously engage with the company surrounding their goals. They welcome this feedback, something that not all companies advertise.
Weekday is also a part of the H&M group, who own eight other clothing brands. Though off-putting in considering H&M’s involvement with fast-fashion, this partnership allows Weekday to sell their pieces for such low prices. As a result, their sustainable clothing is accessible to a wider demographic. This particular pair of jeans costs €49.99, as compared to Levi’s sustainable denim which costs nearly twice as much. Additionally, H&M has ample resources, staff, and locations, which allows Weekday the ability to produce as efficiently as possible. Their group claims to engage with “NGOs, experts, and governments,” in a push to create a plan of action around sustainability. Engaging with stakeholders is important as it increases H&M’s accountability, requiring a constant dialogue on how to better their practices. H&M has also made public their “Stakeholders Engagement,” which underlines their goals and their understanding of the need for transparency and ethicality in production. It also describes the current practices they engage in, surrounding their community engagement, ethical supply chain, participation in policy making, among other commitments. Through this document, the H&M group raises key issues apparent in the fashion industry, and how they will work to better their company. That said, it is important to make sure that brands like H&M, who are notorious for their fast-fashion practices, continue to remain engaged with company betterment. It is simply not enough to state the goals — they must be continuously engaged with, updated, and made public. Weekday’s goals are in line with the H&M group, such as “becoming climate positive by 2040 and obeying the same regulations about chemicals, water usage and working conditions in the factories.” While this goal sounds promising, that leaves nearly 20 years of leeway for H&M, which is the opposite of accountability. In leaving such a large amount of time to accomplish this goal, H&M can be absolved from criticism for any of the practices they are currently engaging in. The H&M Group also provides information detailing their wages and labor in a document called “Salient Human Rights Issues.” In this document, H&M details their high standards, addressing water access, child labor, social security, discrimination, and more. If H&M is indeed holding themselves to these high standards, then they have proven to be ethical in the production side of their supply chain. But that said, it is challenging to identify whether or not a company is truly adhering to the practices they claim to. Our understanding of H&M’s practices without a firsthand look into their real factories, workers, conditions, etc, should be taken with a grain of salt.