Following more than two years of anticipation, Google and Levi’s are finally making good on their promise to deliver a smart denim jacket that can also control your devices – though it is admittedly more of a gimmick than an actual feature at this point.
The high-tech attire, which has been at least two years in the works, will retail this Wednesday at a number of “select stores” and will go on sale on Levis.com next week. But there is a nasty surprize in store for interested buyers: You can only wash the jacket 10 times before its special Jacquard fabric stops working.
This seems to have rubbed some people the wrong away – especially since, at $350, it tends to be on the higher end of clothing prices. While I find the outrage over its price tag totally understandable, I’m having a hard time coming to terms with the critique aimed at the ethereality of its Jacquard fabric.
Here’s the thing: 10 washes is probably more than enough for any piece of denim, let alone a jacket.
Disregarding how rarely we tend to wash our jackets (don’t pretend you’re cleaner than you actually are), the truth is that denim isn’t meant to be laundered that often.
In fact, Levi’s CEO Chip Bergh made headlines a few years back when he revealed that his jeans hadn’t gone a single cycle in the washing machine for over a year.
He later explained in a separate LinkedIn post that he mainly did this to protect the environment and cut down on laundry-water consumption, but he also took a chance to reiterate his previous statement: “[D]on’t wash your jeans, or significantly reduce your frequency of washing.”
You might disagree, but part of rocking a decent piece of denim is about wearing it with confidence and nonchalance – and that includes leaving your apartment a little wrinkled and not entirely cleaned up every once in a while. To me at least, this is the allure of denim jackets too.
Assuming you wash Google and Levi’s so-called Commuter Trucker Jacket twice per year on average (which you probably don’t), it should still last you at least five years. And let me dispel any hopes for more prolonged usage: In five years, the jacket will likely be out of style and the tech in it, outdated.
And if you were willing to shell out $350 for a gimmicky smart jacket in the first place, you’re likely to dispose of it way before this “expiration date” even starts approaching.
So why worry about how many times you can wash it at all? Rock it while it’s still fashionable.
Update: A spokesperson for Levi’s has since contacted TNW to clarify that the jacket “won’t break on wash 11.”
“You’ll be able to take care of it like a normal denim jacket,” she said further. “Washing, especially at high heat uses lots of energy and water, and so we always advise consumers to wash only when needed, use cold water and air dry whenever possible. It’s worth noting the care label on the jacket advises to: ‘Machine wash cold. Do not bleach. Tumble dry medium.’“