Pedestrians wearing face masks while walk past Siam Paragon shopping mall on August 6, 2020 in Bangkok, Thailand. (Photo by Vachira Vachira/NurPhoto via AP)

Though the definition of sustainability has always been up for debate, the COVID-19 crisis has forced denim experts to reconsider the true meaning and value of sustainable denim. What many have found is that sustainability’s benefits have stretched far beyond environmental and societal, and become the indicator of whether a business will fail or succeed. It’s no longer nice for a company to be sustainable—it’s essential. And consumers are taking note.

On the business side, the pandemic exposed areas in which companies could shorten and optimize their supply chains, and highlighted the benefits of local, slow production. On the consumer side, it demonstrated the true value of purchasing fewer, but better, items.
As a result, many in the industry are using this time to reexamine their processes, set new sustainability goals, and prepare for a post-pandemic consumer who will shape the future of fashion. Here, experts share how COVID-19 changed their perception of sustainability in the denim industry.