A zoo in Japan has enlisted some of its fiercest inhabitants to bring “distressed jeans” to a wild, new level. The one-of-kind “Zoo Jeans”, fashionably mauled by Kamine Zoo’s resident lions, tigers, and bears, are being auctioned off online to benefit both the Hitachi City facility and the World Wildlife Fund. A Tokyo advertising executive, who spent time at Kamine as a child, came up with the idea after brainstorming ways to give back to the zoo, zoo director Nobutaka Namae told AFP. Getting the animals’ attention was the easy part. “We wrapped several pieces of denim around tires and other toys,” Namae said. “Once they were thrown into the enclosures, the animals jumped on them.”
The denim, he added, held up much better than he expected, and it “turned out nicely destroyed.”
The most common way for distressing jeans, besides regular wear and tear, is sandblasting. Despite being fast and cheap, sandblasting has been universally panned—for good reason. The same abrasive silica particles that help jeans achieve their worn-in appearance can also cause an irreversible and potentially fatal lung condition known as silicosis.
Industry-wide bans notwithstanding, evidence remains that covert sandblasting operations still take place behind locked doors.
A better way of breaking in your jeans? Levi’s CEO Chip Bergh is a fan of wearing your trousers every day for a year without washing.
That is, if feeding them to wild beasts isn’t an option.