My Celebrity Life

Guilt-Free, Good-Looking Jeans: 12 Sustainable Denim Brands

Six months ago, if someone had suggested wearing jeans, it’s safe to say that most of us would have greeted that person with a cold, hard stare. Now that the world is tentatively starting to open up once again, the idea of squeezing into some well-fitting trousers feels like a welcome return to normality.

With so many statistics proving that denim can be one of the most environmentally damaging parts of our wardrobe, it’s important to make sure that the jeans we’re jumping into are as planet-friendly as possible. How do we do that, you ask? By buying from brands that put sustainability at the core of their production processes, including avoiding the use of hazardous chemicals and putting a stop to wastewater practices.

That might sound like a big ask in the world of fast, disposable fashion but there are plenty of companies implementing the necessary technology and initiatives to create green denim. From indie labels like E.L.V Denim to industry titans like Levi’s, there’s a pair of Earth-friendly jeans to suit every shopper and every price point.

To discover the 12 best denim brands creating fashion-forward, eco-conscious jeans, click through the slideshow ahead…

Who: Everlane

Where: San Francisco, California

Sustainability credentials: It took Everlane six years to produce denim. The reason: founder Michael Preysman wanted to find a “clean” and ethical factory to work with. In 2017 he did; a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certified factory in Vietnam that relies on solar power, recycles 98% of its water and uses reverse osmosis to filter the remaining 2% into clean drinking water. Any offcut waste from production is combined with cement to create bricks used to build homes for local people in need. Beyond the factory doors, Everlane designs its denim to have the longest life possible. The denim is slightly heavier than the industry norm, jeans are classic cut so as not to go out of style, and designed to snap back into place after each wear, thus requiring less washing.

Our favourite piece: With a cropped hem and a high waist, Everlane’s Wide Leg Crop Pant is super flattering. Our favourite colour for spring is Ochre.


Who: Nudie Jeans

Where: Gothenburg, Sweden

Sustainability credentials: Nudie Jeans’ motto is ‘Lagom’, the Swedish phrase for ‘just the right amount’. It sums up the label’s approach to environmentalism, wanting to make sure that their use of the world’s resources is balanced and fair. This means that since 2012, all Nudie jeans have been made using 100% organic cotton, with the brand also offering free repairs, allowing customers to get more life out of their much-loved denim. Plus, customers can now recycle their old, worn-out jeans through Nudie Jeans’ Rebirth initiative, which turns secondhand materials into new products.

Our favourite piece: The Breezy Britt has captured our hearts with its high waist, tapered leg and relaxed fit. It’s available in six colour washes, too.


Who: Lee

Where: Los Angeles, USA

Sustainability credentials: Those wanting to shop with a familiar brand that cares about the environment should look no further than Lee Jeans. The brand’s Indigood™ denim line works to eliminate water from the denim dyeing process in order to produce a more sustainable garment. Thanks to the introduction of the collection and other company initiatives, Lee saved over one billion litres of water during denim production in 2019, and has plans in place to further its sustainability impact through its For A World That Works™ initiative.

Our favourite piece: If you’re rocking curtain bangs this spring, Lee’s Stella A-Line jeans are all you need to complete your ’70s-inspired look.


Who: Boyish

Where: Los Angeles, USA

Sustainability credentials: US-based brand Boyish has sustainability on lock. Creating its colours with natural, plant-based dyes, the brand also uses neutral enzymes and cold water to reduce waste and stop the spread of eco-harmful chemicals. Boyish uses OCS 100 certified organic cotton, recycled and deadstock fabrics and Tencel™ Lyocell, and is a member of The Jeans Redesign project, which aims to create a circular economy, meaning all styles are recyclable.

Our favourite piece: The Ziggy style in the colour Sunrise is the closest we’ve come to finding the perfect bleach wash jean in quite some time.


Who: Levi’s

Where: San Francisco, USA

Sustainability credentials: You might think Levi’s sustainability practices stop at its worldwide stock of vintage styles but the household name also creates new environmentally friendly jeans using a variety of planet-friendly fabrics. From Tencel™ Lyocell to Cottonised Hemp, the fabrics are designed to be kinder to forests, using less harmful chemicals in the production process. The company is conscious about its water usage too, launching Levi’s Water<Less in 2011, an initiative which has saved more than 3.5 billion litres of water during the finishing process to date.

Our favourite piece: For those still loving slim-fit denim, Levi’s 721 High Rise Skinny Jean is the best in the business.


Who: Desigual

Where: Barcelona, Spain

Sustainability credentials: In recent years, Desigual has been making a push towards a more sustainable future, implementing plans to create 50% of its collections using sustainable fibres by 2023. The brand’s sustainability plan also features larger goals, like becoming a carbon-neutral company by 2050, with a 25% reduction by 2025. When it comes to denim, however, the brand is already well on its way, with a newly launched upcycled denim collection and jean styles made in conjunction with the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI). Alongside these steps, Desigual has committed to using 100% more sustainable cotton by 2025, which includes using organic cotton, recycled cotton and cotton sourced through the BCI.

Our favourite piece: The embroidered skinny cropped jean is the perfect boho addition to any spring wardrobe.


Who: E.L.V. Denim

Where: London

Sustainability credentials: E.L.V. Denim describes itself as a “zero waste brand”: they take discarded, old denim and transform it into cutting-edge, made-to-measure designs. Every piece is designed and manufactured locally in east London, with each pair made up of two halves of vintage jeans, making every one entirely unique in colour and fit.

Our favourite piece: Add two-tone colours to your wardrobe with E.L.V.’s Contrast Straight Jeans.



Where: Nashville, USA

Sustainability credentials: After working in nonprofit organisations across the world and seeing the harsh truth of generational poverty, founder Barrett Ward set up ABLE as a means to support and empower women, and to strengthen their communities. The brand doesn’t just pay their workers (in Ethiopia, Mexico and Peru) fair living wages, they also publish their wages and believe in the power of transparency and accountability.

Our favourite piece: ABLE’s Atamy High Rise Straight Jean was made to wear with a plain white tee and sandals.


Who: M.i.h Jeans

Where: London

Sustainability credentials: Introduced in 2018, M.i.h’s Paradise Capsule collection is described by the brand as its “most sustainable denim ever”. Not only does the brand use certified organic cotton and water-reducing washes to treat its fabric, it also works with ISKO, the only denim mill in the world to be awarded the EU Ecolabel and Nordic Swan Ecolabel environmental certifications.

Our favourite piece: If you love the casual, undone look, these slouchy Phoebe Jeans are for you.


Who: Outland Denim

Where: Australia

Sustainability credentials: On a visit to Asia, Outland founder James Bartle came face-to-face with the harsh reality of human trafficking and, determined to fight it, set up Outland Denim as a means to provide stable employment and economic opportunity to women who would otherwise be vulnerable to being trafficked. Not content to stop there, Bartle also wanted to create a highly sustainable brand. Outland creates products on demand to reduce material waste in its supply chain, has taken actions to reduce wastewater, energy use and carbon emissions, uses natural plant-based dyes, and has eliminated the use of nasty chemicals in its leather tanning processes. Good On You – an ethical brand rating system – rates Outland as ‘Great’, noting its brilliant treatment of workers (the brand pays a living wage across the board) and that it traces suppliers throughout its supply chain to ensure ethical conduct.

Our favourite piece: Still looking for the perfect vintage look wash? Try Outland’s Amy.


Who: Reformation

Where: Los Angeles, California

Sustainability credentials: Cult label Reformation is one of our favourite sustainable brands. They track their environmental footprint (how much carbon dioxide is emitted and how many gallons of water are used during production) and use this to calculate the impact their products have on the environment. “This way we all get to see the total cost of fashion so you can make empowered choices, and we can keep creating better solutions when it comes to making clothes,” they explain. Reformation’s sustainable denim line, Ref Jeans, are made from deadstock fabric (fabric that hasn’t been sold) and do not use toxic dyes. They have also introduced the Wet Program: For every pair of jeans you buy, Reformation will donate 1,000 gallons of credits to the National Forest Foundation’s clean water projects.

Our favourite piece: On the hunt for ’90s-inspired bootcut jeans? The Peyton is exactly what you’ve been looking for.


Who: DL1961

Where: New York, USA

Sustainability credentials: DL1961’s denim starts its life as a mixture of ethically sourced American cotton fibres and natural indigo dyes derived from plants. Clothes are then made in the brand’s factory, powered by solar energy and its own in-house power generation plant, and any waste water is recycled through an on-site water recycling plant. The brand claims to use less than 10 gallons of water per pair of jeans and to treat and recycle 98% of it. DL1961 use Environmental Impact Measurement (EIM) software by Jeanologia to monitor each piece of denim they make, track their water consumption and dye usage, and try to make reductions where they can. In 2018 they also worked with FABSCRAP – a non-profit organisation that upcycles commercial textiles – to donate nearly 5,000 pounds of excess fabric. By doing so, DL1961 saved almost 74,000 pounds of CO2; the equivalent of planting 865 trees.

Our favourite piece: We’re loving DL1961’s Emma Skinny Jean in Walton for the perfect dark wash denim.

Credit: Original article published here.

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