Over the last few years, our relationship with jeans has shifted dramatically. Once everyday essentials, they quickly accumulated dust in the back of our wardrobes – waistbands were the last thing we wished to squeeze into during lockdown. Now, as the world opens up, slipping into a pair of well-fitting trousers feels like the return to normalcy we’ve all been looking forward to.
The hunt for the most sustainable denim brands begins with a reality check, though. Given denim’s various negative environmental impacts, secondhand shopping is obviously the most eco-friendly option to find yourself a new pair of jeans.
Another reality check: We don’t expect you to stop buying new denim. (C’mon, that’s not even a commitment we can make.) The best solution? Searching for denim brands that are striving to be more environmentally conscious.
Below are the sustainable denim brands that you need to know.
DL1961 jeans are created with certified-organic cotton and clean indigo dyes that use less water and produce no harmful byproducts, in addition to lower-impact cellulose (i.e., wood pulp) fibres. Because its facilities are vertically integrated, there is less shipping and packing required in the production of each pair of jeans, lowering both DL1961’s carbon emissions and, in turn, the cost passed on to the customer.
“The Jean of Tomorrow” is the name of AG‘s new denim capsule. The jeans and unisex jacket, made of organic cotton, lyocell, and hemp, don’t have metal rivets; instead, Tencel threads hold the material together, and corozo nuts replace metal buttons. Screen-printed, soy-based ink was also used to replace the size and care tags. The idea was to make 100% natural and biodegradable jeans that could eventually be composted and returned to the land.
Boyish Jeans was founded by Jordan Nodarse as a source for vintage-inspired jeans that are also environmentally friendly. His jeans are created using certified-organic and vegan materials including cotton and Tencel, as well as water-saving plant-based dyes and deadstock materials.
Re/Done first launched in 2014 with a unique concept: vintage men’s denim reworked for women’s bodies. Since then, the brand has expanded to include new jeans, vintage-inspired T-shirts, dresses, suiting, and a complete men’s collection. Customers can also buy and sell their Re/Done jeans, T-shirts, blazers, and more on the brand’s new peer-to-peer secondhand marketplace, which launched earlier this month.
Los Angeles label Edwin offers some of the finest vintage-inspired jeans around, but what you might not realise is that each pair is created at Saitex, one of the world’s largest and cleanest denim manufacturers. Saitex recently constructed a new facility in Los Angeles, where Edwin is now exclusively producing its collections (bonus: fewer transportation emissions). The facility, which has been dubbed “a factory of the future,” has everything a company needs to make low-impact denim, including laser technology, semi-automatic sewing, a water recycling system, and more. Also, if you decide you don’t want your Edwin jeans anymore, the brand will take them back to be re-worn or recycled (and you’ll get a $20 credit for the site).