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Journey of Jeans

cowboy jeans

The Journey of jeans is an infographic that explores the different connections and relationships embodied in the journey of a pair of humble highstreet jeans as they travel around the world.

The project was supported by King’s College London as part of the 2014 Collaborative Innovation Scheme for Early Career Researchers.  It is a collaboration between Dr Andrew Brooks, Department of Geography, The Centre for Sustainable Fashion, London College of Fashion and Here Today Here Tomorrow.

The infographic produced for the project is available to view here.

From the tragedy of the disastrous collapse of the Rana Plaza garment factory in Bangladesh to London Fashion Week hosted at Somerset House, the social, cultural and economic impacts of the clothing trade are felt around the world.

Starting with the process of design in the U.S., and moving on to cotton farming in Uzbekistan, denim weaving in eastern China, stitching in Bangladesh and retail in London, the project maps the full socio-economic life of a pair of jeans. It also traces what happens to second-hand jeans when they are donated to charity recyclers in the UK and tracks how they are exported, sold again, and re-worn in Mozambique. 

The illustrations and text that accompany this project follow jeans across continents to show how poverty, the environment and consumption are linked and demonstrate the diverse impact of fast fashion.

Impact and outcomes

The project will have an impact beyond academia through a partnership with Here Today, Here Tomorrow; an independent ethical fashion retailer. Consumer attention will be directed towards alternative socially and environmentally sustainable modes of clothing consumption. 

Project team

Dr Andrew Brooks

Dr Andrew Brooks has been a Lecturer in Development Geography at King's College London since 2011. Andrew's research investigates the changing geographies of the global economy. In early 2015, he completed a book Clothing Poverty: The Hidden World of Fast Fashion and Second-Hand Clothes which examines global clothing system of provision, and is published by ZED Books. He has researched the clothing sector through case studies that link the global North and South. Fieldwork has taken him to India, Papua New Guinea and across Africa. Research in Africa has included extensive investigations of markets and politics in Malawi and Mozambique, as well as Chinese investment in Zambia.

Katelyn Toth-Fejel, Centre for Sustainable Fashion, London College of Fashion

Katelyn Toth-Fejel is an artist, designer and natural dye specialist at the Centre for Sustainable Fashion, London College of Fashion. Over the last decade her teaching has focused on increasing the take up of plant dyes as a local and ecological option for vibrant colour with particular emphasis on those dyes which are seasonally available and allow for uniquely regional hues, foraged in urban settings or cast off from agriculture. Katelyn is a partner of the design collective Here Today Here Tomorrow with a studio and shop in East London. The shop showcases different elements of sustainable fashion and accessories such as high quality handmade craftsmanship, durability, localism, recycling, organic materials, individuality, fair trade and transparent production as well as featuring Katelyn’s natural dye work.

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