Written by SaifZiya
Getting your hands on a perfect pair of jeans could be a backbreaking experience—from making sure that it has been sewed up to the point to getting your head around that it’s comfortable fit is indispensable, and most importantly they should favor sustainability—at least if you want to live an eco-friendly life.
It’s no wonder that jeans that follow minimal design offer you relaxed vibes, and perhaps it’s one of the reasons why jeans are the fashion staple—they are classy and go-to outfits that people, living a sustainable life, prefer to have in their wardrobe.
But, that’s not everything, there are other things that come into effect while looking for sustainable jeans to live an eco-friendly life—such as you need to dispense with irresponsible production and fast fashion so that you don’t gross out when you finally receive a pair of jeans.
What’s more, the methods that brands use to produce quality jeans also make a huge difference. Ensuring the pair of jeans that you’re planning to go for don’t have the highest water footprint—i.e. least amount of water is used in the production process.
Then there’s the farming—how the cotton used in the jeans is farmed—and other aspects to look into. According to several studies, cotton farming, if not done the right way, could impose critical social and environmental risks. The same goes with the chemicals—not only do leach into the soil but also consume its natural nutrients but also become a cause of bad environment.
As a result, the rule of thumb says that always look for jeans that have been made out of organic cotton because that way, you will become a helping hand in saving up to 62% energy and 88% water, which dramatically changes the game.
The reasons why you should invest in a pair of sustainable jeans go on and on. Jump to the reasons to figure out why sustainability is crucial.
10 Sustainable Jeans for Your Wardrobe
It’s time to fuel your curiosity and suggest some of the best brands that make sustainable jeans—the brands that favor sustainable, slow, and ethical fashion. And, don’t worry, every pair of jeans we recommend here will fit you comfortably and snugly so you could make the best of use of it and don’t regret the decision you make now later.
Let’s jump into the list, starting with our first brand on the list:
Image courtesy: Everlane
Based in San Francisco, Everlane has been creating a significant impression in the slow-fashion industry. They’ve got a huge collection of best-selling silhouettes, fabrics, and next-level styles to have your day made. Whether the personal preference of yours is skinny, straight, or arc jeans, they’ve got your back in the first place.
Jeans designed by them are fitted through thigh, hip, and waist so it could be super easy for you to dress up or down—everything the way you like. Their curvy fits jeans are what people, nowadays, are falling head over heels in love with. And, most importantly, they do it all with transparency—nothing is hidden from you.
The brand follows the principles of fair trade, so it highly unlikely that there would be any abuse, discrimination based on gender, race, child labor, and forced overtime. There’s nothing like fast fashion that you will find in relation to the EVERLANE, that’s why you can rest assured because there’re no hazardous conditions.
EVERLANE’s Ethical & Sustainability Approach
The Material used in jeans is what people first prefer to be aware of. A pair of jeans made using poor textile not only come to an end quickly but also they are not comfortable. The denim that Everlane uses to make awesome jeans is a mixture of 98% cotton and 2% elastane—as good as it could get.
The company is having a large number of factories in different 12+ countries that include South California, Peru, Spain, Italy, and so on. Another cool thing that we liked about Everlane is transparency — nothing is hidden from the end user. For every product you view on their website, you will easily find the details of how the garment has been made.
Here comes the major question—are the jeans eco-friendly?
Saitex—which is a denim factory where Everlane jeans are made—has got LEED-certified closed water system which depicts that they recycle 98% of all water used in the making of jeans and other apparels, which otherwise would be wasted.
You may not believe it, but the water, after being recycled, is as fresh and clean as the drinkable water you use daily. This is achieved using 3 “Rs” i.e. reduce, reuse, and recycle.
And, it’s not just the water that they save, they also are committed to saving energy by using solar power and others with an aim to reduce the CO2 emissions and keep the planet greener.
Image courtesy: Outerknown
The runner-up brand of sustainable jeans on this is OUTERKNOWN. They use up to 90% organic fibers in the making of stylish, long-lasting, and sustainable jeans. And, they say that they won’t there—you’re likely to see improvement in the future when it comes to helping people live an eco-friendly life.
In fact, many of you may not know this—Outerknown was the first brand to achieve FLA certification and they accomplished this before they shipped any product. Their vision is simple—making a future where both people and plants prosper together, and that’s why they’ve been making waves over the past few decades.
Outerknown’s Ethical & Sustainability Approach
Before making up your mind about buying a pair of jeans from OK, it’s crucial to understand if the company follows sustainability practices or not. Well, the fibers used in their jeans are organic up to 90%, and they can be recycled and regenerated. Their S.E.A jeans are guaranteed for life and easily replaceable and recyclable.
Factories & Wages:
Their jeans, which are made using sustainable materials in their factories, are Fair Trade certified. Just like Everlane, OK’s jeans are finely sewed and washed following the proper recycling system in Saitex, which is located in Vietnam. Apart from paying a competitive pay scale to workers, they also offer them a premium.
In addition to following relentless sustainability, they also take care of their workers the way they’re meant to, all with the help of USA Fair Trade. They have been making one-of-a-kind and limited-edition with famous brands like Levi’s with an Outerknown twist. Their eco-friendly jeans are fair trade certified and made in hand-operated looms—there’s no machinery required whatsoever.
Offering a huge collection of different types of apparel, it’s highly likely that your satisfaction will be fulfilled. So, no matter if you are 6-inch taller or your waist size is 28 or 34 inches, they’ve got your back. And most importantly, outfits designed by them fit you perfectly.
The 3rd brand that we have on the list is Outland that is famous for the state-of-the-art, sustainable jeans. They’ve got a wide range of holiday edits to compliment your wardrobe in all seasons—be it winter, summer, spring, or monsoon. You can either shop by product or collection, everything is up to you. Outland is a denim company based in Australia. The company gained popularity after Meghan wore a pair on a tour in Australia. The founder of Outland—Bartle—got the inspiration from a movie named Taken, a movie about human trafficking. He decided to build a company with an intention to help those at risk, a company where every employee is treated equally.
Outland’s Ethical & Sustainability Approach
Let’s talk about the fabric or the materials used in the jeans made by Outland because it’s important to know if the jeans can be sustained or not. Well, it turned out, not only are the jeans eco-friend but also they bring prolonged existence to the table.
Outland uses eco-friendly materials in the making of jeans and other apparel. In addition to using the cleanest material, fabric like cotton is up to 40% recyclable.
When Outland manufactures jeans and other outfits for the end-user while making sure that they don’t affect the eco-friendliness i.e. not harmful to the environment. That’s why they use 83% less chemicals, 57% less energy, and save up to 86% water to take a step towards keeping the environment safe and healthier.
It’s not just the sustainability, there’s more to the Outland jeans than just meets the eye. Yes, we’re talking about “Ethics” which plays a major role here. Speaking of that, Outland uses a holistic approach to treat their employees and provide them with all the benefits and support they need to get going. In addition to providing living wages, they also offer training, and education to more than 80 people so they could make a living out of it.
The transparency brought to the table by Outland is up to the mark—nothing is hidden whatsoever. They’re doing everything they could to put an end to risks of exploitation in the supply chain, which is 94% traceable. Furthermore, from buttons, rivets, to pocket lining, they are having professional designers to ensure that it has minimal impact on the environment.
4. NUDIE JEANS
There’s no wonder that jeans designed by Nudie Jeans catch people’s eye because the designers at the company make sure that the apparels fit you perfectly so you look good on them. Many people believe that it’s not the outfit but the people (how physically fit they are) that impact the good looks. It may be true to some extent but not completely. That’s because the fabric (material) and the fitting thereof change the whole game.
From women’s jeans, men’s jackets, to kids’ accessories, they’ve got a huge collection of apparel that you will find fascinating and satisfactory. They don’t just produce amazing products, they also use the reuse and repair approach to achieve sustainability. See the practices they’ve using below to keep the environment as fresh as possible.
Nudie Jeans’s Ethical & Sustainability Approach
The products produced or designed by ND a.k.a. Nudie Jeans are 97.7% sustainable and there’s a behind that—they believe in making our beautiful planet free from all the nasty harm, and therefore, greener.
Their vision is simple—becoming the most sustainable denim company. According to the brand, a product is only eligible to be called sustainable if it contains at least 70% sustainable fibers, otherwise not.
In order to make sure that the workers get the most out of their lives, the company also pays them the living pays on time because it’s their right, and it happens throughout the manufacturing chain and regardless of the product being manufactured, be it a T-shirt, jeans, or sweatshirt. There’s no way racism can happen at the company because all people, regardless of their religion, color, or race are treated equally. That also makes Nudie Jeans a great place to work at.
Fabric & Recycling
It’s one of the best sustainable jeans brands that use 100% organic cotton, and they’re proud to say that out loud. You will find the organic, 100% original cotton in all the apparel they manufacture at the factory. According to a report, ND saved up to 50,000 kilograms of fabric only by repairing 63,281 pairs of jeans that, otherwise, would have been dumped in the dustbin.
If you’re after a pair of sustainable jeans with 100% organic cotton, we strongly suggest you go for ND. If anything happens to your jeans, we’ll repair them for free.
Another sustainable jeans brand we’ve got on the list is Afends that has been making waves towards making an eco-friendly environment. It’s got the most sustainable designs you will ever come across on the Internet. They take three key areas into account throughout the design process—fabrication, waste, and longevity.
They are serious about sustainability and ethics so much that they made their own standard—ESS, a process where everything regarding legal and ethical operations takes place. Afends is known for its most sustainable fibers used in Jeans and other clothing. On top of having a wide variety of wears, the fabric use is toxic-free, recyclable, UV resistant, super soft on the skin, no GMO, and offers enhanced breathability.
Afend’s Ethical & Sustainability Approach
In a nutshell, Afends uses 91% less water, 46% less CO2, and 61% less energy, and organic cotton helps them achieve this. It’s received certifications from world-famous standards, namely GOTS, OCS, and others. (See report)
As for the fabric, all of their products are made using certified and sustainable fibers and their vision is to make it 100% in the upcoming years. While you’d see hundreds of brands online that make sustainable jeans for the end user, however, what they lack is the reuse and repair capability which also matters a lot. But, at Afends, not only do they repair and reuse the waste or remnant fabric but also their designs bring longevity to the table.
And, it’s not just about the sustainable practices used in designing where the company offers you peace of mind, the same goes with the raw material, which they achieve by making the well-informed decision in their journey to sustainability. To do this, they use the raw material that not only helps in making buttery-soft and premium jeans but also keeps the air breathable by reducing the amount of CO2 in our environment.
6. WARP + WEFT
The jeans produced by WARP + WEFT not only offer the bang for the buck but also use the cleanest and organic fabrics to get the most out of the eco-friendliness. The CEO of Zahra Ahmed says that they, at W+W, believe in three major aspects: inclusivity, affordability, and most important sustainability.
She’s the same person whose sister owns the NY-based brand named “DL 1961”, and they’re also doing things differently to lessen the impact of an evil environment on our planet for us and our future generations. The WARP + WEFT offers versatility, reasonability, and practices the zero-waste approach to produce those most stylish and sustainable jeans for you.
Warp + Weft’s Ethical & Sustainability Approach
They’re making every change that’s possible to make people aware of sustainability and that’s why they are having an environmentally conscious customer. You may think of it as a random denim company, but the truth is that numbers don’t lie — since the beginning, they have saved 572,400,000 gallons of H2O, sold 477,000 pairs of jeans, and still counting.
Why buy an expensive pair of jeans when you can get a pair of high-quality jeans that are both earth-friendly and helps you avoid making a hole in your pocket. The cutting-edge Dry Ozone technology they use helps them save up to 1,500 gallons of H2O on a single pair of jeans because Warp + Weft jeans only require 10 gallons of H2O.
From size to inseam, they’ve got a large collection of sustainable denim jeans, jackets, shorts, underwear, and more. No matter if your waist size is 28, or 34, they’ve got exactly what you need. Lay your eyes on the new arrivals or jump to the section of high-waisted jeans, vintage denim, or a dark one, the choice is all yours.
So, are you ready to get a pair of jeans with a perfect count of warp and weft?
7. DL 1961
This is that sustainable jeans brand that has been making waves over the past few years by doing things differently.
Well, a traditional pair of jeans consumes around 1,500 gallons of water to be ready to be worn. And, DL saves a lot in that area—they only have to use 10 gallons on a single pair of jeans, the rest i.e. 98% of the water gets recycled at their factories.
DL 1961’s Ethical & Sustainability Approach
As per their official report of 2019, they’ve saved an exact amount of 892,518,940 gallons of water all the way through recycling. It’s no news that they’re in the market for a long time because the fact is that they’re a family-owned business and they’ve dedicated themselves to creating a supply chain that brings sustainability, transparency, inclusivity to life.
The company says that making denim jeans is easy (using some ways), but they like to put extra effort so that not only can we enjoying wearing them but also it causes no harm to the environment.
The fabric is what comes to mind after the looks. That’s why it’s crucial to get your head around what type of material has been used in the making of jeans. That way, you will be able to know if the jeans are sustainable or not. We’re glad to tell you that being one of the leading manufacturers in the world, they’re running many earth-friendly mills where top-notch fabric is used to manufacture buttery-soft clothing.
DL1961 is not like any typical denim jeans company, they have a higher standard of making eco-friendly and fair trade jeans so not only could you look good in them but also become a helping help in saving the earth. Their innovative facilities are in line with the International Social and Environmental Standards (SES). And, it doesn’t end there — they also make sure that their workers get fair wages for the awesome work they’ve done, among other ethical practices.
So, are you ready to get a pair of sustainable jeans from DL1961? We can assure you that you will fall head over heels in love with the quality and comfort, too. But, don’t just take our word for it—read their story and sustainability practices to get peace of mind. And, then take a well-versed decision in the end.
Another zero-waste denim brand featured on this list of best sustainable jeans brands is Boyish. It’s a one-stop shop for all the tomboys out there who prefer to embrace a boyish style without looking out of fashion. They’ve got a massive collection of different types of jeans—that includes High-wise, Regular, Slim fit, Billy, Skinny, Dempsey, Mikey, Clancy, and several others. Put differently, they are versatile.
Boyish’s Ethical & Sustainability Approach
The real question, however, is—do they manufacture sustainable jeans, the jeans that do not negatively impact nature or EARTH?
Well, being a member of “1% for the planet”, you can expect that their jeans are eco-friend or zero-waste ones. They’ve dedicated themselves to regreening the planet. The reports depict that they’re making a positive impact to make our planet eco-friend—free from all kinds of pollution.
Since the beginning of their journey, they’ve avoided more than 46,756 emissions, saved 3,057,689 days of drinkable water, farmed 16,705 m2 of land without pesticides, and diverted 579 kilograms of waste from landfill.
In fact, their idea is different from the rest of the brands—to plant 1 tree for every pair of jeans or another piece of clothing sold.
What about the material?
Is it comfy fit, recyclable—as good as it gets?
First off—you’d be astonished at the quality, next thing to have you amazed is that they never use any harmful chemical in the process of making jeans or other apparels.
What’s more, not just the sustainable jeans, you can also shop your favorite accessories, dresses, jackets, shirts, shorts, skirts, and other outfits—no need to anywhere else to get that boyish look you always wanted to hug.
All of their factories are GOTS and ISO 9001 certified. The cotton they use to manufacture jeans and other outfits comes from Izmir, and then it is milled in Adana, and sewn in Istanbul.
It’s no news that organic fabric, such as cotton, among other fibers, changes the games, but to use pure, organic cotton fibers in the making of jeans and other outfits, you must first think about intelligent, eco-friendly farming practices. And, that’s what they’ve been doing for a long time.
BOYISH never uses any kind of insecticides or synthetic fertilizers to produce the cotton, and that way, they take a step towards making the EARTH greener. Their cotton only consumes about 10% of the water as compared to the amount of water used in conventional cotton.
Prana, stylized as prAna, could be another shopping destiny if you’re on the lookout for a pair of eco-friend jeans. The company become into existence in 1992, so it’s been 28 years since it has been providing value to the people to live a sustainable life by using zero-waste products. They’ve got a wide collection of jeans, leggings, pants, shirts, t-shirts, bras, tops, jackets, and other outfits for women, men, and kids.
Additionally, you can lay your eyes on the activity collection and get a chance to grab the seasonal offers. This eco-friendly company offers up to 40% off on the seasonal sales on bestsellers, including swimwear, activewear (sportswear), bottoms, accessories, and more.
Prana’s Ethical & Sustainability Approach
But, what are the sustainability practices?
Well, prAna is a bluesign® partner, which clearly shows that it’s highly unlikely that you will a pair of jeans with harmful chemicals from them. Without bluesign®, the harmful substances would end up in your closet, room, or wherever you put your jeans.
Throughout the creation of all products, they make at their Fair Trade certified factories are free from all types of bad chemicals. However, there’re some good chemicals that are part of the process, but don’t worry, they will neither cause you any harm nor the environment—everything is managed correctly and efficiently.
They neither use Azo dyes nor heavy metals through the process.
Their jeans are the perfect cleanse for your closet.
Do they make use of good material in the making of jeans?
Well, to tell you truth, they use 100% organic cotton in the manufacturing of jeans, although it is a blend of Sorona® and Lycra® elastane, and we know why a little bit of elastane is considered superior in a piece of cloth—they’re versatile, strong, and adjusts according to the body shape of the person wearing.
Although jeans only have 80% cotton (but, 100% organic), they’re very close to achieving their vision. See how organic cotton reduces water usage here.
They have been setting examples to support ethically-made clothing. They do everything to use as little water as possible, and they also use rainwater to take it even further.
Their employees are not exposed to harmful chemicals and paid the right wages at right, hence the ethics.
People, soil, and water are more important than clothing, and that’s why they always put the people first, making sure there is no racism, gender inequality, etc.
10. PEOPLE TREE
If you are after truly conscious clothing, you’d find “People Tree”—a Fair Trade certified brand that has been making process since the existence. They’ve got a versatile collection of denim, workwear, activewear, vegan clothing, trousers, socks, jumpsuits, coats, gifts, jewelry, and everything you can think of in terms of styling.
PT’s Ethical & Sustainability Approach
The practices embraced by People Tree towards saving the earth from the environmental impact will have you amazed. They’ve got the certifications from Fair Trade, GOTS, and TENCEL. To keep the earth as green as possible, they only rely on natural fibers, such as Lenzing certified TANCEL. The cotton used at the plants is GOTS certified.
They also promote organic farming with an intention to get rid of polluting substances so that the end user can float on cloud nine when they wear the lovely outfits made by them. To ensure that the water doesn’t go to waste, they properly harvest the rainwater, and the water used to wash the jeans is recyclable.
In addition to offering top-notch jeans, the People Tree utilizes up to 93% organic cotton, which is certified by GOTS. And, guess what—it’s traceable throughout the process. Organic farming means no pesticides whatsoever and helps reduce the amount of nitrogen, which eventually results in a 94% reduction in gas emissions. Every single fabric that they use throughout the process is FLO and SA certified.
While eco-friendly practices matter a lot, they’re not everything, literally—you also need to think about those people, without whom, manufacturing even a single pair of jeans would be impossible.
Yes, we’re talking about the workers who make things happen. While they’ve been working with giant brands for a long time, they prefer working with small producer groups because of their hand skills, embroidery, dyeing, and knitting skills. Over the past 15 years, they’ve worked with many produces in Bangladesh and Nepal.
Wrapping Up Ethical & Sustainable Jeans Brands
We know that you’re dying to get a pair of jeans to stylize your tops and compliment your wardrobe, and we get it. But, if you consider investing in ethical or sustainable (a.k.a eco-friendly) jeans, you could save the earth from becoming more polluted. That’s because the sustainable jeans brands we’ve rounded up in the list above recycle up to 98% water (Ozone is one of those technologies used to recycle 80-90% water).
It’s not just the water why you should go for eco-friendly jeans, there’s more to them than just meets the eye. By making up your mind about the above-said jeans, you are also helping people make a living since all of the brands reviewed above provide their workers the best-in-the-market wages, right on time. Plus, they give charities to help the poor survive.
Some brands, like Boyish, plant 1 tree for every pair of jeans sold. That way, not only can you feel those good vibes while wearing those stylish and trendy jeans but also you could take a step towards minimizing the environmental impact on the mother earth. And, if you’re to dump your old jeans, why not rather get them recycled. There’re many programs run by the brands listed above that will recycle your old pair of sustainable jeans.