The Netherlands, the country that brought you Anne Frank, pot brownies, and SUB (smug urban bicycling), is now making it possible for you to lease a pair of jeans instead of buying them. The leasing scheme comes from Bert van Son, owner of Mud jeans. It works just the way leasing a car does — you put down some money, in this case about 20 euros, and you pay 5 euros a month for a year. At the end of the year, you can pay for four more months, plus 20 euros as a deposit on a future pair, and keep them. Or you can pay some shipping and admin costs to get a new pair, or you can return them altogether for a new model, which involves some shipping money and a new lease fee.
This is not by a long shot the weirdest jeans-related idea I’ve ever heard (that honor belongs to the fact that Rodeo, one of the eliminated contestants from the VH-1 show Rock of Love: Charm School, has invented a pair of waterproof unisex jeans). But it does seem pretty complicated, compared to, say, buying a pair of jeans. Van Son thinks it will work in his favor, though, because cotton is so expensive. Right now he sources about 40 percent of his cotton from recycled materials, and this endeavor would raise that figure to 50 percent. That’s good for his bottom line, and also ecologically sound, as cotton production requires enormous amounts of water and creates a lot of particularly potent pollution that does disgusting things to fish.
So far several hundred people have signed up, and it will be interesting for the future of eco-conscious fashion to see if it catches on, or if people just go, “uh, yeah, thanks, I’m just going to buy these and call it day and not spend the rest of my life remembering to send you some euros.” Also, we are looking forward to what happens if people don’t return their jeans promptly. Will bounty hunters be called?