25 SUSTAINABLE AND ETHICAL DENIM BRANDS

Jean shopping can be hard. 

Between trying to get the right fit, cut and style, finding a pair of jeans that are flattering can sometimes feel like a needle in a haystack. 

But finding sustainable and ethical denim?

That’s a whole other ball game. 

Apart from dealing with the same jean shopping issues with a narrower range of retailer options, one main concern is of course, price. 

So… why bother purchasing sustainable denim at all?

The process of creating a pair of jeans conventionally, wreaks havoc not only on the environment, but on the health of workers tasked with producing the garment. 

According to fashioninsiders.co, 2,900 gallons of water (from production and consumer wear) is used for a single pair of jeans. 

Another concern is water pollution as a result of the growing of cotton, dyeing and finishing processes. The resulting chemical run-off can cause serious effects to nearby bodies of water as well as to the health of workers exposed to the chemicals in these processes. 

What to consider before you purchase sustainable jeans

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that the most sustainable option is wearing what you already own. 

You’ve done the work finding a flattering pair of jeans, so if possible, try to repair the jeans you already have it they’re ripped or repurpose them. 

The next sustainable option is purchasing second-hand. 

Retailers like ThredUpPoshmarkTradesy and many more make it so easy to find your perfect pair by filtering through fit, cut, size and style. 

Not only is shopping second-hand better for the environment as no new resources are being utilized, it is also the most cost-effective option compared to buying new. 

If you’re looking for more affordable denim options (understandable since the cost of some sustainable jeans can be astronomical), I recommend looking into second-hand retailers and what types of jeans they offer, before investing in a new pair. 

If you want to look into affordable options for other clothing types, check out this post.

Having said that, sometimes you just want to treat yourself and buy new. 

Before you make your purchase, be sure to check out this  shopping criteria which covers everything you should look for when shopping sustainably. 

Below you’ll find 25 sustainable and ethical denim retailers. 

For reference, pricing is in USD, and the size range is based on US sizing. 

Price Range: 

$= typically, $100 and under

$$= typically, between $101-$200

$$$= typically, between $201-300

$$$$= typically, $300 and up

Afends

Styles: Men’s, women’s, unisex

Fabrics: Organic cotton 

Certifications: GOTS, OCS 100, OCS Blended

Packaging: Garments packed in compostable cornstarch bags

Some of it’s supply chain is traced

Based in Australia 

Price range: $

Sizing: Women’s Denim/ Pants US Size 24-32 (XS-XL); Men’s Denim/ Pants US Size 28-36 (XS-XL); Unisex: XS- XXL

Favourite Item: Kendall Low Rise Relaxed Fit Jean 


Amour Vert

Styles: women’s

Fabrics: TENCEL Modal, ethical wool, mulberry silk, organic cotton, TENCEL Lyocell, cupro

Certifications: GOTS, OEKO-TEX, FSC, 

Packaging: Uses compostable protective bags as opposed to plastic polybags. Only uses packaging made from recycled materials, printed with soy-based inks

Most of its supply chain is traced. 

Based in New York City

Give back programs: Tees= Trees Program- the brand plants a tree in North America in partnership with American Forest for every t-shirt purchased. 

Price range: $$

Sizing: Bottoms US Size XXS- XL (00-16)

Favourite Item: AGOLDE Parker Jean in Evade


Armedangels

Styles: men’s, women’s

Fabrics: organic cotton, organic wool, LENZING ECOVERO, recycled plastic, organic linen, TENCEL Lyocell, kapok, alpaca, 

Certifications: GOTS, PETA, Fairtrade, Fair Wear Foundation

Most of its supply chain is traced

Based in Germany

Price range: $

Sizing: Women’s US Size 6-16 (XS-XL), jeans 25-32; Men’s US Size 36-48 (S-XXL)

Favourite Item: ANDRAA Loose Fit High Waist


Boyish

Styles: women’s

Fabrics: organic cotton, recycled cotton, GRS recycled fabrics, deadstock dabrics, Tencel Lyocell, natural plant based dyes

Certifications: Oeko-Tex 100 Standard, ISO9001 Certified, Organic 100 Content Standard, Global Recycled Standard, GOTS, Remake Approved

Packaging: 100% compostable shipping bags, labels made from recycled materials, hang tags made from recycled paper

All of its supply chain is traced

Based in California

Give back programs: 1% For The Planet partner. They partner with Solar Sister, Keep A Breast, Friends of the LA River, California Coast Keeper Alliance, Fair Trade USA

Price range: $$$

Sizing: US 000-14 (XXS-XL; 22-32)  

Favourite Item:  The Billy Jean


E.L.V. Denim

Styles: men’s, women’s

Fabrics: recycled fabrics

Packaging: uses recycled board with vegetable ink for labels

All of its supply chain is traced

Based in the UK

Price range: $$$

Sizing: 24-32

Favourite Item: Dark Blue/ Mid Blue Contrast Straight Leg Jean


Jeanerica

Styles: men’s, women’s

Fabrics: organic cotton, recycled polyester

Supply Chain and Labour Practices: Most of its supply chain is traced

Based in Sweden

Price range: $$

Sizing: US Size 4-12 (XS/34-XL/42)

Favourite Item: EW 004 Eiffel Fit Used Black


Kings of Indigo

Styles: men’s, women’s

Fabrics: TENCEL, recycled wool, recycled polyester, organic cotton, linen, hemp, recycled cotton

Certifications: PETA, OCS, GRS, GOTS

Packaging: uses recycled packaging

Based in the Netherlands

Price range: $$

Sizing: Women’s bottom 24-32

Favourite Item: JUNO High Re-Last Blue Rinse


Kowtow

Styles: Women’s 

Fabrics: organic cotton, regenerated nylon, Tencel, mohair, alpaca, wool

Certifications: Fairtrade, NPOP, FSC, GOTS, OEKO-TEX, ISO 14000

Packaging: swing tags and boxes made from FSC approved paper. Packacing is printed with soy-based inks and is recyclable. 

All of its supply chain is traced

Based in New Zealand

Price range: $$$

Sizing: US Women’s size 0-12 (XXS-XL); Men’s S-XL

Favourite Item: Format Jacket


Kuyichi

Styles: men’s and women’s

Fabrics: organic cotton, recycled cotton, recycled polyester, Post-Consumer Recycled Denim, TENCEL, micro-modal, Refibra, linen, T400 ecomade, vegetable-tanned leather

Certifications: GOTS, Global Recycled Standard, Organic Content Standard, OEKO-TEX Standard 100, PETA, Fair Wear Foundation, Open Apparel Registry, SER, Circle Economy, Water Footprint Implementation

All of its supply chain is traced

Based in the Netherlands

Price range: $$

Sizing: Women’s 25-34 (XS-L); Men’s 28-38 (S-XL)

Favourite Item: Nora Loose Tapered Heritage Blue


Lucy & Yak

Styles: women’s 

Fabrics: organic yarn, recycled wool

Packaging: uses 100% biodegradable mailing bags 

Some of its supply chain is traced

Based in the UK

Price range: $

Sizing: Women US Bottoms 24-40

Favourite Item: ‘Cole’ Wide Leg Organic Jeans in Midwash Denim


MUD Jeans

Styles: men’s, women’s

Fabrics: post-consumer recycled cotton, organic cotton

Certifications: GRS, GOTS, OCS, FSC, PETA, Cradle 2 Cradle, Certified B Corporation

Packaging: Packaging is made from 72% recycled cardboard 

Most of its supply chain is traced

Based in the Netherlands

Price range: $$

Sizing:  Women’s Bottoms 25-33

Favourite Item: Flared Hazen- Strong Blue


Nobody Denim

Styles: women’s

Fabrics: Australian cotton

Certifications: ECA, most fabrics accredited to OEKO-TEX Standard 100, they work with raw material suppliers who meet ISO 14001 standards

Most of its supply chain is traced

Based in Australia

Price range: $$

Sizing: Women’s bottoms 0-10

Favourite Item: Frankie Jean Ankle Rigid Rally


Nudie Jeans

Styles: men’s and women’s

Fabrics: organic cotton, recycled cotton, TENCEL lyocell, recycled yarn, recycled denim, wool, alpaca, mohair, silk

Certifications: Fairtrade Cotton, GRS, FSC, PEFC, Organic 100 Content Standard, USDA Organic, GOTS, Fair Wear Foundation

Packaging: uses polybags made from 80% recycled plastics, bags and gift boxes made from FSC certified recycled paper

Most of its supply chain is traced. 

Based in Sweden 

Price range: $$

Sizing: Women’s Bottoms 24-38

Favourite Item: Straight Sally Dark Stone


Outerknown

Styles: Men’s and Women’s

Fabrics: ECONYL, organic cotton, recycled cotton 

Certifications: Fair Trade, FLA Accredited, GOTS

Most of its supply chain is traced

Based in California

Price range: $$$

Sizing: Women’s Bottoms 24-32 (0-14; XS-L)

Favourite Item: Cassady High Rise Slim


Outland Denim

Styles: Men’s and Women’s

Fabrics: organic cotton

Certifications: Certified B Corporation, GOTS

All of its supply chain is traced

Based in Australia

Price range: $$$

Sizing: Women’s Jeans 22-38; Men’s Jeans 28-40; Women’s XXS-XXL (0-12); Men’s S-XXL

Favourite Item: Penelope Pencil Midi Skirt


Patagonia

Styles: Men’s and Women’s

Fabrics: recycled polyester, nylon, Tencel, wool and down 

Certifications: GOTS, Bluesign, Sustainable Apparel Coalition, Restricted Substances List, 1% for The Planet, Global Traceable Down Standard, B Corporation

Most of its supply chain is traced

Based in California

Price range: $

Sizing: 00-22 (XXS-XXL), Men’s XXS-XXXL

Favourite Item: Women’s Button Front Slim Denim Pants


People Tree

Styles: women’s

Fabrics: Tencel, uses GOTS and azo free dyes, Fairtrade certified cotton and organic cotton, linen, wool 

Certifications: Fairtrade certification, GOTS Certified Organic Cotton, Organic Soil Association, PETA Approved Vegan 

Packaging: They ship using polypropylene plastic which is recyclable and biodegradable 

All of its supply chain is traced

Based in the UK

Give back programs: People Tree Foundation

Price range: $

Sizing: 2-14

Favourite Item: Ariel Wide Leg Jeans


ReCreate

Styles: Women’s

Fabrics: organic cotton jersey, organic cotton sweat-shirting, organic lightweight denim, organic natural denim, organic cotton poplin, artisan handwoven cotton

Certifications: GOTS, Standard 100 OEKO-TEX, BCI

Packaging: Plastic free packaging

All of its supply chain is traced

Based in New Zealand

Give back programs: Partner with New Zealand Registered Charitable Trust where profits go towards helping disadvantaged people in Cambodia 

Price range: $$

Sizing: XS-XL

Favourite Item: Compass Skirt in Natural


Reformation

Styles: Women’s

Certifications: Bluesign Certified deing facilities, Oeko-Tex 100 Standard

Packaging: Compostable bags and 100% recycled LDPE bags with a biodegradable polymer (BDP)

Most of its supply chain is traced

Based in California

Price range: $$$

Sizing: XS-3X; Petites XSP- XLP

Favourite Item: Liza High Straight Jean


Rudy Jude

Styles: Women’s, Kid’s, Baby’s

Fabrics: organic cotton, deadstock denim

Based in California

Price range: $$$

Sizing: Women’s pants Rudy Jude Size 0-6; women’s tops, tees, dresses Rudy Jude size 1-5( XS- XL/ 2-12)

Favourite Item: Adult Utility Jeans


Stella McCartney

Styles: Women’s, Men’s, Kid’s

Fabrics: organic cotton, recycled polyester, Re.Verso cashmere, wool, recycled nylon

Certifications: GRS, FSC, Cradle to Cradle Certified 

Most of its supply chain is traced

Based in the UK

Price range: $$$$

Sizing: Women’s jeans 20- 39 (00-16)

Favourite Item: The Skinny Boyfriend


The R Collective

Styles: Women’s

Fabrics: upcycled denim, upcycled cotton, upcycled Lenzing modal, upcycled Cupro, upcycled viscose, upcycled polyester, upcycled wool, upcycled Triacetate, upcycled silk, upcycled nylon, upcycled rayon, upcycled Lyocell

Packaging: Uses compostable packaging

All of its supply chain is traced

Based in Hong Kong

Price range: $$$

Sizing: XS-L (0-8)

Favourite Item: Port Jumpsuit


Thought

Styles: Men’s and Women’s

Fabrics: organic cotton, hemp, bamboo, Tencel, modal, recycled polyester, wool

Certifications: GOTS

Packaging: Uses recycled paper for labelling and mailing bags and garment bags are made of compostable cornstarch

All of its supply chain is traced

Based in the UK

Price range: $

Sizing: XS-XL (2-14)

Favourite Item: Rosa Organic Cotton Culottes


Triarchy

Styles: Women’s

Fabrics: organic cotton, Tencel, natural rubber, vintage denim, recycled cotton

Certifications: OEKO-TEX, DyStar, PETA, GOTS, ZDHC

All of its supply chain is traced

Based in California

Give back programs: with every pair of jeans sold Triarchy plants a tree as part of One Tree Planted program, Isla Urbana 

Price range: $$$

Sizing: Bottoms 24-31, XS-L

Favourite Item: A-Line Short


Unspun

Styles: Men’s, Women’s

Fabrics: organic cotton, recycled polyester, recycled cotton

Certifications: BCI

Packaging: goal to have 100% biodegradable and compostable packaging in 2021

Most of its supply chain is traced

Based in California

Price range: $$

Sizing: Customize jeans based on your preferred size and fit

Favourite Item: Women’s Tapered Fit Mid Blue Jeans


There you have it… 25 brands to explore the next time you’re in the market to buy jeans.  

As mentioned before, be sure to peruse your closet and second-hand shops before buying new. 

Do you know of any sustainable and ethical denim brands that aren’t listed here? 

Let me know in the comments!

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