The Certified Jean Co.

When Levi-Strauss moved its last US-based blue-jeans plant to Mexico in 2004, company spokespeople insisted that such outsourcing was an unfortunate necessity for businesses to survive.

The Certified Jean Co. respectfully disagrees. Since 1999, Certified Jean has manufactured men’s and women’s blue jeans right here in the United States, without a thought of moving overseas. From the cotton grown in Texas and California, to the fabric milled and manufactured in North Carolina, to the final dyeing of the jeans that takes place in Certified Jean’s home-base of Seattle, their blue jeans are 100-percent home-grown. All that, and they’re made with organic cotton besides.

“Pesticides harm the land, our water, and the workers in the field,” says David Davison, General Manager. “We want to support the land our cotton is grown on, and keep it from getting polluted.”

In addition to protecting workers in the field, Certified Jean Co. commits to supporting workers along its supply chain. Company representatives personally visit and inspect the jeans’ manufacturing facilities, ensuring that the company is contracting with plants that offer their workers a safe and friendly work environment in a clean, well-lit, and properly ventilated factory. Certified Jean Co. even pays a premium to their contracted factories to ensure that anyone sewing a pair of Certified Jeans is making well above the federal minimum wage of $5.15 an hour.

“We can’t guarantee what anyone makes when they’re sewing for others, but anyone sewing for us makes at least $10 an hour,” says Davison. “If that’s not what the factory’s paying, then they get the rest of their pay from us in the form of bonuses.”

Right now, Certified Jeans offers natural-colored, undyed jeans as well as more traditional navy and indigo jeans colored with low-impact dyes. Starting later in 2007, the company intends to offer organic cotton, button-down women’s shirts in a range of natural, undyed colors that derive their white, beige, brown, or greenish hue from the cotton itself.

“The shirts will be an environmental product and a fair-wage product as well,” says Davison. “And they’ll be made here in the US, just like our jeans.” .

—Andrew Korfhage