Levi's takes a shot at fast fashion with a sustainability campaign touting its longevity and durability

Jaden Smith, Xiuhtezcatl and Fridays For Future's Xiye Bastida feature in a campaign from AKQA

Published On
Apr 21, 2021

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Ahead of Earth Day, Levi’s is taking a shot at fast fashion and touting the longevity of its own denim. Without naming brands like Zara and H&M that have helped double global clothing consumption over the last two decades, a new campaign from AKQA explicitly encourages customers to wear their Levi’s jeans for years—even decades—and buy fewer clothes altogether, thus reducing the carbon footprint required to grow, manufacture, distribute and dispose of cheaper, lower quality alternatives.

An anthem short film introduces the concept, and individual spots rolling out over the next two weeks feature one of six activists and spokespeople passionate about a different aspect of fashion or sustainability. Jaden Smith kicks it off by talking about owning jeans that are older than him, followed by thrifting expert Emma Chamberlain, who explains that every vintage piece has its own story.


British footballer Marcus Rashford talks about his charity work, and Fridays For Future organizer Xiye Bastida explains how conscious consumerism is required to fight climate change.


Indonesian social entrepreneur Melati Wijse, who led a campaign to ban plastic bags in Bali, discusses product life cycles, and Indigenous climate activist and hip-hop artist Xiuhtezcatl imagines alternative futures and ties social and climate justice together.


The “Buy Better, Wear Longer” platform highlights the brand’s sustainability efforts, like using hemp and organic cotton and manufacturing processes that use less water.


Environmentally conscious consumers, particularly young people, are beginning to push back against fast fashion, but the durability argument could well be persuasive for even more customers, says Neeru Paharia, associate professor of marketing at the McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University. “If you buy a high end jacket that costs a thousand dollars, but you wear it a thousand times, that's a dollar per wear. But if you buy a low-end jacket that costs a hundred dollars and you wear it 50 times, that's $2 to wear,” she explains. “Those kinds of calculations are not readily apparent. So you've got to make that information crystal clear and usable by the consumer, so they can justify to themselves that the more expensive item is worth paying that money because it's going to last longer.”