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.
Sophia Mid-Rise Skinny Jeans
The secret to J BRAND's beloved skinny jeans is its Luxe Comfort Stretch denim fabric. These are a bestselling mid-rise version of its iconic jeans.
Helena High-Rise Flare Jeans
These bestselling denim flares are made in Los Angeles from comfort stretch Japanese denim designed to slim and lift.
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.
AG is a pioneering sustainable denim brand founded by Adriano Goldschmied and Yul Ku in 2000. Expect to find premium jeans with top-notch construction and fit.
BOYISH is a line of sustainable women's denim featuring vintage finishes and modern cuts. Produced entirely of recycled eco-friendly fabrics.
AGOLDE is a Los Angeles brand that excels at crafting premium vintage style denim and soft casual basics. The label is a strong advocate for made in USA sustainability.
Warp + Weft
Warp + Weft is a modern denim line creating size-inclusive sustainable jeans that fit well for every body shape. The brand's jeans, along with sister company DL1961, are produced in its mill in Pakistan.
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.
Citizens of Humanity
Citizens of Humanity is an LA-based brand with a prowess for premium denim. You'll find jeans with unbridled comfort and cuts that flatter.