A. Watch an interview about the Hiut jeans company. What do you think is the unique selling point (USP) of their jeans?
B. Watch the interview again. Then make notes under the following categories.
Description of jeans
1 Material: denim
3 Celebrity wearer:
History of company
4 When David and Clare started it and why:
5 Who they employ:
6 How many pairs of jeans they produce per week:
7 How they try to make their jeans environmentally friendly:
Each pair of jeans is made by hand.
3 Meghan Markle (the Duchess of Sussex)
4 In 2002 because the previous factory closed down and they wanted to get people’s jobs back.
5 Many of the former factory’s workers
7 They encourage people not to wash their jeans for three or six months.
Some very special jeans
I = interviewer, D = David, C = Claudio
I This is the factory floor of Hiut denim, a small company in the seaside town of Cardigan in West Wales. Whether they’re cutting or stitching, everybody here shares the same goal – to produce a pair of simple but high-quality denim jeans.
D Can I describe our jeans? I mean, our jeans are classic, you know, five pocket Western jean. And our design philosophy is to keep things as simple as we can. And we don’t want to be high fashion because high fashion comes in and then it goes away. And so, we want to make a classic pair of jeans. We want to make, you know, one of the best jeans in the world. And we want to keep it as classic and as simple as we can because, like, classic doesn’t come in or go out of fashion. It just stays.
I The Hiut Denim Company was founded in two thousand and two by David and his wife Clare. Since then, it has become a cult fashion brand, selling to customers all over the world. The company has attracted the attention of the world’s media, as well as some very famous celebrities. Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex, even wore a pair of Hiut Dina jeans on a royal visit to Wales – a major moment for the small but ambitious business. However, this is not the first time jeans have been manufactured in Cardigan. David and Clare started their company with a particular mission in mind.
D The reason we started is to try and get four hundred people their jobs back. Because, you know, for people out there to know the back story is, you know, this small town in West Wales used to have Britain’s biggest jeans factory in it and it made thirty-five thousand pairs of jeans a week. I mean, that’s a big number, but it did it for forty years. And then in two thousand and two, the factory closed because the economics had changed and, you know, the factory gates closed. And so, and the question myself and Clare asked was, “Could we open those gates again and keep them open?”
I Today, Hiut operates from the old factory and employs many of its former workers. They call these lifelong jean makers their “Grand Masters,” thanks to the skills and experience they bring to their craft.
C My name is Claudio Belotti. I’m the Grand Master in cutting. Originally, I was born in Italy and then came over to this country when I was three years old and lived in this area ever since. It’s something I’ve always done since the age of fifteen. I worked with Hiut from the start, David and Clare approached me and asked me if I’d like to help them start up a jeans factory again. To see jeans being made in Cardigan again was something I never thought I’d see.
I And what does Claudio think makes a good pair of jeans?
C I think it’s the love you put into it and that’s what it is. Unless you love doing what you’re doing, then I think it’s – don’t get the reward for putting all that effort in.
I Hiut is delighted to employ the former factory workers, but the company doesn’t follow the original business model. Instead of the thirty-five thousand pairs of jeans a week that the old factory manufactured, the Hiut Jeans Company produces only around one hundred and eighty pairs. This is because, after Claudio and his team have cut the denim, each pair of jeans is made by hand, crafted from start to finish by one person. This focus on quality rather than quantity – as well as the importance they place on environmental sustainability – sets them apart from many others in the clothing industry. So, how does Hiut fit in today’s world of fast fashion?
D We don’t. I mean, I mean that’s the thing. I mean, like, I think this throwaway culture is – I don’t think it makes the human being actually feel very good because like, “Oh, I’ve bought something, then I discard it.” How do I feel? I mean, after a while you don’t think very much of either the environment or yourself. I think that ultimately messes with people. But also from an environmental point of view, you know, like, how does that work, you know, for the environment? And actually it doesn’t. You know, like, the biggest and best thing we can do for the environment is make something last as long as possible. And yes, we do free repairs for life and that means that those jeans last more and more time and that’s good. So I think we’re as far away from fast fashion as I, we, I can possibly get. And if we can get even further, I would love it.
I The company also has a no-wash club, to help lower the jeans’ environmental impact, even after they’ve been sold.
D There’s a reason for the, for the no-wash club and it’s twofold. And one is to, you know, if you want to have a truly beautiful pair of jeans then if you don’t wash it, you know, for three weeks, five weeks, you know, a couple of months, all those creases that you put in there, and those wrinkles, you know, when they, when you wash it once the dye goes out, and all, all those creases, and that imprint of you as a human being is there and it looks incredibly beautiful. So, so the second part is, you know, eighty percent of the impact of a pair of jeans, you know, is by you and I washing it. So like, getting people to not wash a pair of jeans for three months or six months has a huge impact in the world. And so the greenest jean is the one that you don’t wash.
I Hiut’s reputation for quality and craftsmanship, together with caring for the planet, has been key in its success. And this success is something that David, Clare, and their whole team can be proud of.
D I’m proud of it. We…I love the fact we make one of the best pairs of jeans in the world. And that’s good. And the Grand Masters downstairs, they’re proud of it. They even sign each pair. And there’s a thing on the pocket that says all artists sign their work because we must be one of the few companies in the world where they actually make it from start to finish. Like, I mean, the robots might be coming, but they’re not coming to Cardigan anytime soon.
- Practice English Listening B2 Exercises – Possibilities
- Practice English Listening B2 Exercises – Discoveries
- Practice English Listening B2 Exercises – Dilemmas
- Practice English Listening B2 Exercises – City living
- Practice English Listening B2 Exercises – Around the globe
- Practice English Listening B2 Exercises – Chance