Jeans are almost entirely produced from cotton and the non-organic variety is an extremely thirsty crop. Look out for brands who display the Better Cotton Initiative logo on their website because they are supporting the world's largest cotton sustainability program.
Denim's pollution does not stop at cotton. The worn-in look and feel of jeans is achieved by using a whole lot of water and chemicals. The techniques are endless: from sandblasting, bleaching to using oxidized fading agents to get a faded look and softer feel.
Sustainable denim brands are exploring new techniques, like enzyme washing, and laser technology for that familiar feel but with less waste.
These sustainable denim brands are taking their own unique steps to innovate their industry from within. For instance, DL1961 is at the forefront of sustainable denim practices, as their jeans require less than 10 gallons to produce because they recycle and treat 98% of the water used in their jeans. James Jeans uses recycled cotton and E.L.V. DENIM transforms discarded denim into new, modern jeans.
Scroll down to find more sustainable denim brands that are worth supporting.
3x1 is the cult label by denim aficionado Scott Morrison. The brand's uber-popular jeans are so classically cut they'll never go out of style.
AG is a pioneering sustainable denim brand founded by Yul Ku in 2000. Expect to find premium jeans with top-notch construction and fit.
B Sides is a vintage-style jeans label that sources premium fabrics from denim mills in USA. With signature patchwork detailing, these jeans are new yet feel authentically time-worn vintage.
BOYISH is a line of sustainable women's denim featuring vintage finishes and modern cuts. Produced entirely of recycled eco-friendly fabrics.
Closed is run by three friends with a vision to create sophisticated, high-quality fashion. Based in Hamburg, it is a friends and family affair.
Colovos is a NYC label making impeccably-made minimalist, modern pieces for everyday wear. Known for recycled jeans and artful draping.
DL1961 make denim clothing from ethically sourced, premium cotton. The brand practices conscious, sustainable practices in its own Pakistani mill to minimize water usage.
E.L.V. DENIM, short for East London Vintage where the sustainable line is made, transforms discarded denim into truly modern, original pieces.