What Makes Blue Jeans Fashion’s Most Enduring Trend?

Denim is the new denim.
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Blue jeans are America’s great equalizer: Equal parts yee-haw Americana and New York Fashion Week. They’re the unspoken uniform of Camp Counselors and French millennials. They’re punk rock-meets-scumbro-meets-girl-next-door. Your mom owns a pair — and so does Pete Davidson. So what is it about, say, second-hand 501s, that makes them so democratically, enduringly iconic…without the aspirational price tag on something like a Chanel bag? 


Well, you might argue that a good pair of jeans hints at simpler times — nostalgia in the form of button flies and sloped pocket stitching. Perhaps your go-to denim makes you feel closer to your father. Maybe you and your friends once discovered a single pair of jeans that, magically, fit each of your figures flawlessly — and in turn, a “sisterhood” was born. Regardless, your jeans are representative of a grand and essential maxim in the realm of fashion: Not all trends are fleeting.

The grand tradition of quality denim is about more than fashion, though: According to Levi’s sustainability report, more than 85% of clothing ends up in landfills right now — which is to say, the impact of prioritizing longevity in fashion is not small. “If we wear our clothes twice as long, we can reduce our environmental impact by 44%,” says environmental activist, author, and TikTok creator, Leah Thomas. “We have to invest in things that will last and stay relevant.” And for her, that’s part of Levi’s longstanding prominence in the upper echelons of the fashion world. To use a cliché, well-made classics will never go out of style.

“It’s all about buying better and wearing longer,” Thomas says. “So gravitate towards items with thicker, more durable materials that’ll last, in neutral colors and styles that’ll stay relevant” she says.


Thomas’ accolades are hardly limited to her social following (which falls in the 200,000s). In 2020, having previously held full-time positions at both National Park Service and Patagonia HQ, she went viral for an Instagram post in which she coined the term “intersectional environmentalism.” Her post obliged the environmentalist community to stand in solidarity with Black, Indigenous, and POC communities impacted regularly by environmental justice — and that’s been the guiding force behind her work ever since.

The following year, Thomas went on to launch a separate Intersectional Environmentalist Instagram account advocating for environmental justice and inclusivity, before penning her first book, The Intersectional Environmentalist: How To Dismantle System of Oppression to Protect People & The Planet. And as Climate Week unfolds, she’s teaming up with VICE and Levi’s to speak out about the ways conscious clothing shopping operates as a key part of her broader mission.

Watch the TikTok video above for more insight from Thomas on conscious fashion, then head over to Levi’s sustainability page to learn more about how your shopping habits can play a critical role in building a greener future. 

created in partnership with levis