Levi's Goes Toxic-Free Following Elaborate (and Creepy) Protests

Following Zara's lead, another major apparel brand--the world's largest denim brand, actually--has committed to changing its manufacturing practices following pressure from Greenpeace and its recent report on the hazardous chemicals clothing companies use to manufacture many of their products. This time, the protests were right in line with the offending brand's own marketing.
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Following Zara's lead, another major apparel brand--the world's largest denim brand, actually--has committed to changing its manufacturing practices following pressure from Greenpeace and its recent report on the hazardous chemicals clothing companies use to manufacture many of their products. This time, the protests were right in line with the offending brand's own marketing.
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Following Zara's lead, another major apparel brand--the world's largest denim brand, actually--has committed to changing its manufacturing practices following pressure from Greenpeace and its recent report on the hazardous chemicals clothing companies use to manufacture many of their products.

This time, the protests were right in line with the offending brand's own marketing. Chances are, you've seen Levi's "Go Forth" campaign--it began in 2009 with print ads shot by Ryan McGinley featuring semi-naked young people, meant to capture our generation's "pioneering spirit." One commercial from 2011 even features imagery of young people rioting and protesting.

This week, the brand's San Francisco headquarters were the site of two protests--albeit pretty peaceful ones. Though, that doesn't mean Greenpeace didn't get creative.

First, they staged an, um, "mannequin strike." "Levi’s mannequins have gotten tired of wearing clothes that contain hazardous chemicals,” said Greenpeace Toxics Campaigner John Deans in a release. “These mannequins are fed up so they shed their clothes and headed for the exits to demand Levi’s detox its clothing.” What actually happened was activists dressed up as mannequins and protested outside the store (creepy pics after the jump).

Then, yesterday, Greenpeace filled the headquarter's plaza with a "foam river" meant to represent rivers in Mexico which have become unnaturally foamy due to toxic water pollution coming from factories that supply Levi's.

Greenpeace "went forth," alright. And it worked. Levi's has committed to eliminating all releases of hazardous chemicals throughout its entire supply chain and products by 2020. You can read their full commitment here.

“Now more than ever, we are seeing brands such as Levi’s listen to the groundswell of support for toxic-free fashion,” said Greenpeace Toxics Campaigner John Deans. “Now it’s time for other brands such as Calvin Klein, Gap, and Victoria’s Secret to follow Levi’s lead and end their toxic addiction. We’ll continue to expose brands until the use - and abuse - of hazardous substances is totally eliminated.”

We bet they could stage some very creative and attention-getting protests with Victoria's Secret.

For now, click through for more pics of the mannequins and foam rivers at Levi's.