Want or need a new pair of jeans and aren’t interested in pre-owned, rental or borrowing from a friend? Got it. This post is going to suggest some brands for you to check out.
The denim’s supply chain has, traditionally, been really bad for the environment and workers. The good news is that there are brands within the denim category that are actively and successfully changing their manufacturing processes.
Before you start shopping:
1-Use this post and other resources I recommend as a starting point but take the time to do your own research and be wary of greenwashing.
2- Sustainability is an ongoing process. Al Iannuzzi, Vice President Sustainability at Esteé Lauder Companies wrote in his book Greener Products: The Making and Marketing of Sustainable Brands, “There is no such thing as a green product.” He goes on to say, “..life-cycle assessments have shown that every product has impacts, from raw materials to transportation, manufacturing, customer use, and end of life. Every product can be improved in some way, which is why I use the term Greener.”
So, let’s be greener and go shopping.
Brands to consider:
G-Star Raw- Sustainability is part of G-Star’s DNA. Take a look at their “Raw Responsibility Milestones” if you want a more granular look at everything they have accomplished. In 2017 along with their partner Artistic Milliners, they made the first denim to ever be Cradle to Cradle Certified (™) at Gold Level by the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute.
Levi’s - Levi’s sells a range of products and all are not produced the same way but they are making a concerted effort across their supply chain. As of this writing, 67% of all Levi’s ®
products are made with Water < Less ® techniques. Their goal is for 80% of products to be made the same way by 2020.
Levi’s also has chosen to use cotton certified by the Better Cotton Initiative. This is one of the most popular of the sustainable cotton standards but it also permits the use of petrochemicals. BCI cotton compares to organic cotton which is the strictest sustainable cotton standard and prohibits the use of synthetic pesticides and fertilizers as well as genetically modified seeds.
They are also working to replace hazardous chemicals in their supply chain and using textiles such as Tencel (™) Lyocell which is made from certified responsibly harvested forests.
Outland Denim- Outland Denim made its entrance onto a global stage after Meghan Markle wore a pair of their black skinny jeans when she and Prince Harry visited Australia. The company sources from around the world and offers sustainable employment and training opportunities for women who have experienced exploitation. They also use water and energy reducing technology and their product is designed to minimize environmental impact.
Re/Done - Re/Done sources old and vintage Levi’s jeans. They deconstruct each pair of jeans and create new more relevant styles. They make everything in Los Angeles and save water by only washing the product twice- once before they take them apart and once after they are reconstructed. They also offer free repairs for life. The price point range is roughly between $200 - $450 a pair.
Reformation - The brand makes a majority of their denim with organic cotton and blends with other sustainable materials like Tencel ™ Lyocell, Tencel ™, Modal and Tencel ™ x Refibra ™. They aren’t perfect but most of their jeans are dyed without the use of heavy chemicals and, instead, they use cold water enzymes to dye their denim. “Most” of the brand’s denim is Oeko-Tex certified. Check product information before buying. Reformation used to primarily source deadstock fabric for jeans but have now extended their sourcing to include other fabric options.