So Long, Air Conditioning: Now You Can Beat the Heat in Jeans Woven With Jade

A new line of denim from Lee uses the stone’s cooling properties to wick sweat from the body.

Jade Fusion denim by Lee. (Photo: Twitter)

Aug 1, 2015· 1 MIN READ
Culture and education editor Liz Dwyer has written about race, parenting, and social justice for several national publications. She was previously education editor at Good.

Skip turning on that energy-sucking air conditioner and pull on a pair of blue jeans instead. At least, that’s the idea behind Jade Fusion, a new line of denim from Lee.

These aren’t your run-of-the-mill blue jeans—the heavy fabric can often be uncomfortable when summertime rolls around. Instead, tiny bits of crushed jade are woven into the denim, where, according to the company, they wick sweat away from the skin, creating a cooling effect.

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“It’s not magic,” Stephen Dull, a vice president of VF Corp., Lee’s parent company, told Bloomberg Business. “But it takes away of a lot of the smelly, icky, sweaty, sticky feeling you get when you wear denim in the heat.”

According to Dull, Lee has been working on the design for the past five years—and it turns out the jade-infused fabric might be more than smart marketing to a culture that has long believed jade can protect people and keep them healthy. Virus, an international performance sportswear company, has a line of workout clothing made with fabric woven with recycled jade. According to Virus, the skin surface temperature of a person wearing an outfit made with jade can be decreased by up to 10 degrees Fahrenheit.

That could be a boon to hot and sticky residents of Hong Kong and China. In 2013, China had its worst heat wave in 140 years, and this June, Hong Kong experienced its hottest month since records began being kept in 1885. As a result, growing use of air conditioning in the region is raising concerns about energy consumption.

(Photo: Twitter)

So it’s no wonder that when the Lee launched the jeans in sweltering Hong Kong in late spring, they sold like hotcakes. The company recently made them available to folks in mainland China—where they’re on a seven-week back order.

There’s no word about whether Lee plans to peddle jade denim around the globe. But, given that jade is a limited natural resource—and a pricey one at that—you have to wonder if this is the most sustainable solution.