11 Best Sustainable and Ethical Jeans To Flatter Your Body

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Sustainable jeans: the perfect combination of style and sustainability! You no longer have to choose between looking good and feeling good about your impact on the planet.

With the rise of slow fashion, you can now rock a pair of denim jeans that are trendy and responsible.👖

We are so excited to share these brands with you. They use the most environmentally responsible denim fabrics and production methods, and some even encourage circular fashion through clothing recycling programs.

Watch The Impact Of Denim PLUS Tips On How To Shop Sustainably.

Our favorite Ethical Sustainable Jeans

Thrifting is ultimately the most sustainable option, so consider shopping second-hand using my best thrift shopping tips and these online thrift stores. And, if you need to get rid of your old jeans, check out this article on how to give your old jeans a second life.

And before you wiggle into your favorite pair of pants, make sure to take a look at the guides at the bottom of this post. We discuss the history of jeans, the impact jeans have on the planet, and how to shop for the most ethical jeans brands!

1. Organsk

Image: Organsk

Organsk is a sustainable denim brand that creates high-quality jeans focusing on fit, style, and sustainability. The brand was founded by a team of multicultural contributors who shared a vision of creating unparalleled quality and environmentally-impact denim.

They offer a range of denim styles that provide modern interpretations of classic silhouettes. They understand that trends come and go, but style remains, so they design their jeans to be timeless and long-lasting.

The Breeze Sinless Grace is a form-fitting pair of jeans with a softly worn-in vintage look, bright denim hues, and a comfortable tight fit. Made from premium stretch denim fabric, she is fitted to the ankle and offers perfect fit and comfort. These mid-waisted jeans lean toward a high rise, keeping all the benefits of classic high-rise jeans.

The Sinless Grace jeans have a versatile worn-in look, charisma, bright blue tones, and orange stitch details that allude to happiness, style, and charm. These jeans have an easy-to-wear style that makes them stand out.

They come with a zip fly and a comfortable waistband. They feature orange threads on all seams, a jacron patch with orange detail, and silver trims. The premium denim fabric is soft, super stretchy, and smooth.

You'll be able to enjoy and wear them on any occasion. You can size down for a super snug fit around the waist or stay true to size for a comfortable fit.

Organsk fabrics & materials

Their denim is made with a range of certified organic and recycled materials, including:

  • GOTS-certified organic and recycled cotton ensures that the cotton is grown without harmful chemicals and that social and environmental criteria are met during production.
  • GRS-certified polyester is made from recycled PET bottles, which reduces waste and helps lower the product's carbon footprint.
  • FSC-certified wood pulp, which is used in denim production, creates cellulose fibers that are sustainable and eco-friendly.
  • OEKO Tex Certified buttons and Eco Verde thread are made from recycled bottles, which ensures that their accessories and threads are free from harmful substances and made with environmentally friendly materials.

Organsk Ethical Sourcing

Organsk believes in ethical sourcing and is committed to providing complete traceability and transparency to its customers. They understand the importance of knowing who made their clothes and where they were made.

They keep their supply chain short, which allows them to work with factories that uphold the standards set by the International Labour Organization (ILO), United Nations Guiding Principles (UNGP), and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

The brand's denim is sourced from reputable factories such as ISKO from Italy and CALIK from Turkey. The cutting, sewing, and finishing of their jeans are done by SARP, also from Turkey. To achieve innovative washing technologies, they work with EGEMEN from Turkey.

Organsk Corporate Responsibility

Organsk has implemented circular design practices and offers subscription plans to its customers. They have designed their subscriptions to cater to conscious customers who prefer responsibly made new clothes and those who prefer to buy second-hand and reduce waste.

Their subscription plans include the following:

  • Organsk Smile: Customers can buy jeans they like and receive smile points and membership benefits that can be redeemed.
  • Organsk Life: Customers can lease a pair of jeans for six months and then choose to swap their old pair for a new pair while Organsk recycles their old jeans.
  • Organsk Share: Customers who prefer vintage can rent Organsk's old pairs of jeans monthly.

They also use low-impact technologies in their denim production. They use laser technology for distressing and creating the "bleach effect," ozone and atmosphere wash, and e-flow technology using nanobubbles.

Compared to traditional washing techniques, these innovative processes use 40% less energy, 90% fewer chemicals, and 95% less water across the supply chain.

2. Nudie Jeans

A model wearing a pair of sustainable and ethical jeans from Nudie Jeans.Pin
Image: Nudie Jeans

Sizes: 23-38
Prices Starting At: $200

Nudie Jeans is a Swedish brand born partly out of the pursuit of doing the opposite. Thanks to their passion for dry denim, we now enjoy their raw untreated all-organic denim jeans available for both men and women. They offer a range of styles, cuts, and finishes.

Their sustainable jeans for men offer a range of fits for all body types. From snug and flexible stretch denim to looser, more relaxed rigid denim, there are various styles to choose from.

Don't know what you're looking for? No problem! The straight-leg, tapered, and bootcut jeans are a great place to start. And if you're still unsure, check their Jeans fit guide for guidance.

Their range of women's jeans aims to cover all bases regarding fit. They have everything from tight and slim styles made with stretch denim to regular and loose fits crafted from rigid denim.

If you are unsure what to choose, they can find the perfect pair of women's straight-leg jeans, tapered fit, or bootcut jeans by referring to their Jeans fit guide.

Nudie Jeans fabrics & materials

Their jeans are made with 100% organic cotton.

Nudie Jeans Ethical sourcing

Nudie jeans only work with organic, fair trade, or recycled cotton; and strive to take responsibility for their sourcing practices from raw material to the product's end of life.

All the cotton used for their products is certified by Global Organic Textile Standards (GOTS), the Organic Content Standard 100 (OCS 100), or the USDA Organic certification.

In terms of labor and manufacturing processes, Nudie works to provide living wages throughout its supply chain and prides itself on quality products made in ethical conditions.

To that end, they are members of the Fair Wear Foundation. This third-party non-profit organization works in partnership with brands, factories, and NGOs to verify and improve conditions at the level of suppliers. They also offer a look into where all of their products come from.

Nudie Jeans Corporate Responsibility

In line with their commitment to sustainability, they offer a program called "Repair, Reuse, Recycle," where customers can bring in their old Nudie Jeans and receive 20% off a new pair.

The old jeans are then repaired and sold in their "Reuse" range, extending the life of the product and reducing waste. Additionally, Nudie Jeans uses organic cotton and environmentally friendly production methods in their manufacturing process, further reducing their impact on the environment

3. Outerknown

A blonde woman wearing a pair of sustainable and ethical jeans from Outerknown.Pin
Image: Outerknown

Sizes: 24–33
Prices Starting At: $178

Outerknown is a men’s and women’s apparel brand founded by pro-surfer Kelly Slater. With sustainability as a founding principle at its core, Outerknown is an excellent option if you are looking for sustainable jeans for men and women.

Their men's denim collection includes classic straight-leg, tapered, bootcut, and a more modern slim and skinny fit. The women's collection features a variety of styles, including high-waist, straight-leg, and relaxed fits.

Along with a lovely lineup of denim, you will also find gorgeous ethical sweaters, sustainable basics to help you build a capsule wardrobe, winter coats, and chic sustainable men's clothing.

Outerknown's fabrics & materials

Their jeans use different blends, primarily featuring organic cotton, recycled cotton, or recycled polyester, and sometimes, a tiny bit of spandex.

Outerknown's Ethical sourcing

90% of the fabrics sourced for their products are organic, recycled, or regenerated. Through Fair Trade USA, they also invest in the livelihoods of over 5000 workers who help to bring their products to market.

They also offer a look into their manufacturing community and are accredited by the Fair Labor Association (FLA), which holds brands to the highest international labor standards.

Outerknown's Corporate Responsibility

To keep their S.E.A Jeans out of landfills, Outerknown will repair, replace, or recycle them for you, which is suitable for all of us. With a clear commitment to sustainability, they are also constantly innovating and advocating for greater sustainability.

A great sustainable men's fashion option, they are featured in our Canadian ethical shopping guide to swimwear and as one of our favorite sustainable clothing brands all around. Be sure to check that out as well.

4. Triarchy

A model wearing a pair of sustainable and ethical jeans from Triarchy.Pin
Image: Triarchy

Sizes: 24–32 (0–16)
Prices Starting At: $245

Founded by siblings Mark, Adam, and Anna Tauenfligel, Triarchy is a denim brand committed to providing responsibly made denim using sustainable and ethical manufacturing practices.

Having gone offline to figure out just how to do their part in improving the notoriously dirty denim industry, Triarchy now offers a great selection of sustainable jeans for women.

Whether you're looking for classic skinny jeans or a more relaxed, laid-back look with their boyfriend jeans, high-waisted or low-waisted, Triarchy has got you covered!

Some finishes they offer include raw, washed, distressed, and coated. The specific finishes may vary depending on the style of the jeans.

Triarchy’s fabrics & materials

Their jeans are 100% organic cotton, and all buttons and labels are recycled.

Triarchy’s Ethical sourcing

Triarchy’s products hold GOTS certifications and SA8000 certifications. They ensure that all of their jeans and denim jackets are manufactured responsibly, providing living wages, supporting human and animal rights, and using responsibly made fabrics and the most advanced sustainable laundering technology they can find.

Triarchy also discloses its sustainability data through a third-party auditor called Green Story and its supply chain via Retraced.

Triarchy’s Corporate Responsibility

Triarchy offsets the carbon emissions associated with the production of your garment, making each garment carbon-neutral.

The brand uses organic and recycled materials and implements water conservation techniques in dyeing. Additionally, Triarchy is committed to reducing waste by using cutting-edge technology in its production facilities.

5. PrAna

A curvy model wearing a pair of sustainable and ethical jean shorts from prana.Pin
Image: prAna

Sizes: 00-22W
Prices Starting At: $99

Also featured on our list of eco-friendly tees and plus-size ethical brands, prAna prides itself on offering high-quality apparel for both men and women.

Made using an Earth-conscious design approach, their selection of sustainable denim may be just what you are looking for. Use the size filter to quickly find your way to their selection of sustainable plus-size jeans.

Slim-fit, skinny high-rise, high-waited cropped fit, skinny Chino, and skinny leg in a range of finishes is what you will find with affordable ethical jeans!

PrAna’s fabrics & materials

PrAna’s denim is made primarily of organic cotton. Some are blended with nylon Cordura and elastane or spandex.

PrAna’s Ethical sourcing

PrAna sources Fair Trade Certified products from certified factories to ensure humane and fair working conditions. In their efforts to promote ethical sourcing practices, they’ve partnered with Fair Trade USA. They have successfully converted 11 factories to Fair Trade Certified and generated premiums that have benefited over 26,000 workers worldwide, to make 100% of their products in Fair Trade Certified Factories by 2028.

PrAna’s Corporate Responsibility

With a commitment to outfitting your adventures with respect for the planet and its people, prAna has successfully diverted 44k+ pounds of garment waste from the landfill thanks to a partnership with The Renewal Workshop.

PrAna is also committed to making diversity, equality, and inclusion (DEI) a central part of their company through initiatives like the Venture Out Project, which leads outdoor journeys for the LGBTQ+ community.

They’ve recently launched their Responsible Packaging Movement in support of reducing and eliminating single-use plastics. And since 2010, they’ve successfully eliminated over 20 million plastic bags from their operations, with plans of providing plastic-free packaging starting in Fall 2021.

Don’t forget to use the sustainability filter to find their fair-trade jeans in a jiffy. They are also a great option if you’re looking for sustainable jeans for men.

6. Able

A curvy model wearing a pair of sustainable and ethical jean shorts from Able.Pin
Image: Able

Sizes: 23–33 (0–16)
Prices Starting At: $70

Able is an ethical fashion brand dedicated to ending poverty by employing and empowering women. To that end, the brand invests in, trains, and educates women to enable them to earn a living for themselves, break the cycle of poverty, and thrive.

With a passion for quality in every aspect of their operations, they now offer hand-woven scarves, leather bags, shoes, and jewelry, including a great selection of jeans and other denim.

Shop for skinny jeans or boyfriend styles and even cute denim jackets!

Able's fabrics & materials

Their jeans are made of different cotton, polyester, and elastane blends. Their non-stretch denim is dyed using a liquid indigo dye, requiring less water during the laundry process.

Able's Ethical sourcing

As part of its commitment to ending the cycle of poverty and empowering women, Able ensures that 100% of its workers receive a living wage.

The fabric used for their denim is chosen from mills developing a variety of sustainable denim. All of the components for their denim (aside from the labels) are sourced from the Western Hemisphere to reduce their carbon footprint.

Their Monty, Mexico supplier recycles all the water used in manufacturing to reduce their environmental impact. They also use eco-friendly alternatives to reduce water consumption and avoid harsh chemicals.

Able's Corporate Responsibility

Able makes it a point to source all of its denim initiatives via the Western Hemisphere to reduce their carbon footprint during shipping.

They are also striving to make all of their packaging recyclable by this year and utilize many practices that reduce their environmental impact and promote the well-being of their workers.

You will also find them among our favorite affordable, ethical brands and our favorite sustainable sneaker options.

7. Frank and Oak

A model wearing a pair of sustainable and ethical jean shorts from Frank and Oak. Pin
Image: Frank and Oak

Sizes: 23–32
Prices Starting At: $119

Founded by long-time friends Hicham and Ethan alongside a small group of passionate creatives, Frank and Oak are proudly designed in Canada. With a commitment to functionality, transparency, sustainability, and good living, their selection includes a line of denim in various fits, colors, washes, and details for both men and women.

Some popular styles they offer include Skinny Jeans, Slim Fit Jeans, Straight Leg Jeans, Bootcut Jeans, and Wide Leg Jeans. They also offer High Waisted, Cropped, and Relaxed Fit Jeans.

Additionally, Frank and Oak's jeans collection features a variety of washes, from light to dark, as well as distressed and non-distressed options.

Frank and Oak's fabrics & materials

Dyed using natural dyes, Frank and Oak’s Circular denim™ is made from organic cotton without any rivets so that they can be easily recycled.

Frank and Oak's Ethical sourcing

Frank and Oak disclose where all of its factories are located and ensure that they meet external certifications and requirements, as well as their list of requirements around sustainability.

In partnership with Hydro-Less Laundry, Frank and Oak can bring you denim that uses 79% less energy, up to 50% fewer chemicals, and up to 95% less water than standard methods.

Frank and Oak's Corporate Responsibility

Frank and Oak’s Circular denim™ is made using a model that keeps resources in use for as long as possible before they are recycled for a different purpose to reduce resource consumption and minimize waste. Similarly, they collect worn-out jeans, redirecting them to a fabric recycler who re-spin them into new materials.

In addition, Frank and Oak use only shipping boxes made from 100% post-consumer recycled cardboard, and their recyclable poly bag mailers are made from 50% recycled materials.

Teaming up with Earth Day Canada Frank and Oak also offsets the carbon emissions created by their eCommerce packaging and shipping through a tree-planting program.

8. Warp + Weft

A group of women wearing a pair of sustainable and ethical jeans from Warp and Weft. Pin
Image: Warp + Weft

Sizes: 00–24 (3X)
Prices Starting At: $68

Warp + Weft is a family-owned denim company creating high-quality denim that’s affordable and eco-friendly. Their selection includes styles and options for men, women, and children. They also make an excellent option for affordable ethical jeans or sustainable plus-size jeans ranging up to size 24 for women.

Some styles they offer include skinny, straight-leg, bootcut, and wide-leg jeans.

They also offer high-waisted, cropped, and frayed hem jeans. In addition, Warp + Weft also offers denim jackets, shorts, skirts, and overalls, giving you a full range of options to complete your denim wardrobe.

Warp + Weft’s fabrics & materials

Warp + Weft’s denim is made of a blend of cotton, Lycra, and Tencel.

They skip the environmentally costly bleaching processes and opt for cutting-edge technology that is less harmful and makes them fully compliant with International Social, Environmental & Quality Standards.

They only use the highest quality European dyes like the Liquid Indigo dye by DyStar Germany, which is GOTS and OEKO-TEX Standard 100 certified.

Warp + Weft’s Ethical sourcing

Committed to ethical labor practices for all, Warp + Weft, their entire manufacturing operations overseas. Their high-quality denim is created at their eco-friendly mill, and all of the cotton, Lycra, and Tencel used in their products is sourced in the United States.

Warp + Weft’s Corporate Responsibility

Where one pair of traditional jeans requires 1,500 gallons of water, Warp + Weft’s processes require less than 10 gallons. They also treat and recycle 98% of all the water used in their operations.

Thanks to other technologies like solar panels, an in-house power plant, and a heat recovery system, Warp + Weft also improves their factory’s efficiency, reducing their environmental footprint.

9. Yoga Jeans

A woman wearing a pair of sustainable and ethical jeans from Yoga Jeans. .Pin
Image: Yoga Jeans

Sizes: 24-33
Prices Starting At: $128

Yoga Jeans is a premium denim brand that strives to make jeans for the modern unstoppable woman with limitless ambition and self-expression. Committed to an ethical and sustainable approach to living, Yoga jeans’ wide selection of made-to-move-with-you jeans may be just what you are looking for.

Their collections include a variety of fits, such as skinny, straight, and flare, as well as a range of washes, from light to dark. The brand is known for its unique stretch technology, which provides a comfortable and flattering fit for all body types. Some of their popular styles include high-rise skinny, straight-leg, and bootcut styles.

Yoga's Jeans fabrics & materials

Most of their denim is BCI certified, Cotton Leads, organic, recycled, Repreve, and/or Eco T-400. To create the sought-after distressed looks in their denim, Yoga Jean opts for laser technology instead of harmful processes like sandblasting, hand sanding, or PP spray, as well as Ozone washing.

Yoga Jeans Ethical sourcing

Regarding sourcing, Yoga jeans ensure their suppliers are carefully screened for quality, traceability, sustainability, and social responsibility. They also make it a point to source their denim from the factories they will be sown to reduce their carbon footprint.

Yoga Jeans Corporate Responsibility

Yoga Jeans is committed to improving its practices to reduce its carbon footprint, reduce waste, and work towards a circular economy.

One of their goals in the coming year is to make all of their denim from recycled and sustainable components.

They also offer upcycled denim collections to do their part in reducing the millions of tons of waste generated by the fashion industry every year.

So if you are looking for a comfy pair of Canadian sustainable jeans, consider going with Yoga jeans.

10. Everlane

A woman wearing a pair of sustainable and ethical jeans from Everlane. Pin
Image: Everlane

Sizes: 24-33
Prices Starting At: $78

Also featured as one of our favorite brands for fair trade pajamas, Everlane is an American company striving to bring you quality and ethically produced garments as transparently as possible.

As far as offering a cost breakdown of some of their items and revealing their profit margins, Everlane also offers a selection of denim apparel for both men and women.

Select from classic straight-leg, slim skinny, stylish flare, or traditional bootcut styles, available in both regular and shortened ankle crop lengths and at $78 per pair. They are super great for those on a budget.

Everlane's fabrics & materials

Their denim jeans are made of different blends of cotton, organic cotton (some of which are GOTS certified), polyester, or elastane.

Everlane's Ethical sourcing

Their jeans are made at Saitex, a LEED-certified denim factory that recycles 98% of their water, is powered using renewable energy produced onsite, and reuses byproducts in its operations to create affordable homes.

Everlane's Corporate Responsibility

Everlane is moving toward using all certified organic cotton by 2023. Their partner distribution center, Geodis, is 100% zero waste to landfill using recycling, reuse, and waste-to-energy programs. Their garments are also designed to last, and they have committed to eliminating all virgin plastic from their supply chain by 2021.


A model wearing a pair of sustainable and ethical jean shorts from Amdendi.Pin
Image: Amendi

Sizes: 25-32
Prices Starting At: $245

AMENDI® is a Swedish-American denim brand that prioritizes transparency, responsible design, and ethical production. The name "AMENDI" symbolizes progress, correction, or enhancement, reflecting the brand's commitment to continuously improving its practices.

They offer a range of styles, including straight, skinny, flare, and bootcut, in regular or crop ankle lengths for men and women.

Amendi's fabrics & materials

They use a combination of better fabrics that include recycled and deadstock, lyocell, organic cotton, and upcycled materials. Even the leather patch on the back of the jeans is from recycled leather.

They use OEKO-TEX-certified dyes, free from harmful substances, to ensure they do not harm the environment or the workers involved in the production process.

Additionally, they have implemented a closed-loop dyeing system, which means they reuse the water and chemicals used in the dyeing process, reducing the amount of waste generated and the overall environmental impact.

Amendi's ethical sourcing

They have a cool feature on their website! The "Want to trace a specific product?" feature allows customers to track the journey of a specific AMENDI® garment from the loom to their closet.

By clicking on the graphics provided on the website, customers can access detailed information about the production of their garments.

This feature aims to promote transparency and traceability in the production process.

Organic cotton is sourced from Turkey. The recycled leather patch is a blend of 70% leather powder and 30% natural resin with raw leather material from Italy and processed in Turkey by a supplier certified by the Oeko-Tex Leather Standard.

Products are manufactured and transported from Istanbul, Turkey, to a central warehouse partner, Korallen AB, in Borås, Sweden. The transportation is made by truck using a company named YTL, certified by ISO 9001 and 14001.

Amendi's corporate responsibility

The Fabrication Facts tag provides information about their products' materials and production process. This includes information about the origin of the materials, the suppliers used, and any certifications that have been obtained.

The Fabrication Facts tag aims to increase transparency and give customers insight into the product's sustainability.

The paper hang tags are made from 95% recycled cardboard and 5% glue from Austria.

12. MUD Jeans

A man wearing a pair of sustainable and ethical jean shorts from MUD.Pin
Image: MUD

Sizes: 24-33
Prices Starting At: $78

MUD Jeans is a sustainable Dutch fashion company offering a circular denim production approach. They are the world's first circular denim brand.

Some popular styles include Skinny, Straight, Wide Leg, and Boyfriend Jeans. They also offer a range of fits, such as High Waisted and Mid Rise, to cater to different preferences.

Customers can lease their jeans for one year and then return them to be refurbished and leased out to another customer. This program is a sustainable solution that helps reduce waste, conserve resources, and promote circularity in the fashion industry. We think this is super cool!

MUD Jeans fabrics and materials

MUD Jeans uses organic and sustainable materials in its denim fabrics. Their organic cotton is GOTS certified and grown without harmful pesticides and fertilizers.

Additionally, they use recycled materials such as recycled polyester and Tencel Lyocell in some of their denim products, which are made from wood pulp from sustainably managed forests.

MUD Jeans ethical sourcing

MUD Jeans collaborates with suppliers who meet strict environmental and social standards and are certified by organizations such as Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) and the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI).

MUD Jeans Corporate Responsibility

A B Corp-certified business, they have implemented several initiatives to reduce their environmental footprint and promote sustainability.

They do this by reducing water usage in their production processes. They use less water-intensive techniques like laser-based technology to create distressed and washed looks.

Additionally, they work with organic cotton suppliers to promote sustainable agriculture practices and reduce the use of harmful chemicals in cotton production.

They saved 311 million liters of water in 2021, avoided 824 thousand kilos of CO2 emissions, and saved 61,667 jeans from landfill and incineration in the last 6 years!

What is the history of jeans?

Jeans are a staple piece in many a wardrobe, and for good reason. The modern blue jeans we’ve come to know and love were invented and patented by Levi Strauss (yes, that Levi) and Jacob Davis in 1873

Adopted by miners and day laborers for their copper rivet reinforced pockets, jeans eventually went through to cowboys, soldiers, Hollywood hunks, and consumers looking for casual leisurewear for the weekends and holidays. (Vogue, 2019)

The only problem is that they can be very resource- and chemical-intensive. So when reaching for a new pair, it’s important to consider where they come from and how they are made.

I’ve created this guide to help you make the best choice when looking for your new favorite pair, featuring brands you can trust to provide mindfully crafted products.

Like many of the favorites in our wardrobes, jeans can also contribute to the well-documented environmental degradation associated with the garment industry. 

Plastic rubbish pollution in ocean. Photo showing pollution problem of garbage thrown directly into the sea with no proper trash collection or recycling.Pin

How do jeans impact the environment?

China’s Xintang province alone produces one in every three pairs of jeans sold globally, and their ecosystems and rivers have paid the price. As of 2013, Xintang’s rivers were left running blue due to the unethical wastewater dumping practices employed by jeans and other garment manufacturers in the region. 

Largely the bi-product of the staggering amount of toxic chemicals and water used in the dyeing and finishing processes, the wastewater is often returned to the ecosystems and communities untreated. As a result, rivers are left blue and smelly and contain unsafe levels of heavy metals like cadmium, mercury, lead, and copper. (NRDC, 2019) 

The irresponsible practices used by these manufacturers harm the communities where they operate, which rely on the same waterways for drinking and bathing. Unfortunately, factory workers and residents report a high incidence of cancers, gastric, skin, and related health issues. (EcoWatch, 2018). 

Other practices like sandblasting (blasting jeans with sand at high pressure to create a distressed look) have been linked to harmful and incurable lung diseases among factory workers. (Justice Denim, 2021)

The conventional cotton used to make our beloved jeans also involves lots of chemicals and resources when produced unsustainably. This brings pollution and health concerns due to the high amount of pesticides and insecticides required to grow cotton. Not to mention the 1,500 gallons of water used to make just one pair of jeans. (One Earth, 2020). 

For these reasons, it is essential to shop for sustainable jeans where materials, labor, sourcing, and corporate responsibility reflect the ethical practices we all deserve. 

To learn more about reducing your impact when shopping, check out this article on the slow fashion movement

How to shop for sustainable and ethical jeans?

As clothing brands have outsourced their production to regions with cheaper labor and low regulation, westerners have benefited from cheaper clothing in abundance, notably in fast fashion. 

This has come at a significant cost to these regions. Regarding Asia, an estimated 70% of its rivers and lakes are poisoned by the 2.5 billion gallons of wastewater generated by the textile manufacturing industry. 

So when opting for your next pair of jeans, look for the following criteria to avoid contributing to these unsustainable and unethical production systems while casting your vote for a more sustainable and ethical fashion

There are three main elements: materials, ethical sourcing, and corporate responsibility.

1. Materials and fabrics

Regarding materials and fabrics, we are talking about the textiles, dyes, buttons, and other materials used to make your jeans. 

For textiles, buttons, and things of the sort, you want to look out for jeans made of naturally sourced materials like organic cotton or hemp, produced using minimally toxic and sustainable farming practices. Jeans made of recycled materials are also a great alternative, so be sure to look out for that. 

To help you verify your choices, keep an eye out for the following third-party certifications

In terms of dyes, you want to ensure that the dyeing and finishing processes used to color and/or distress your jeans are minimally toxic while reducing resource consumption. Brands that do so will often tell you about it, so look around their website if they do not mention it in their product description. 

2. Ethical Sourcing

Ensuring that your jeans are not made using unethical labor and manufacturing practices across their supply chain is important.  For this, Fairtrade and SA8000 certifications are a good sign that the factories used to make your garments treat their workers fairly. 

Companies that are transparent about where their clothing is manufactured and can trace their product every step are also a good sign when looking out for safe and ethical working conditions, fair wages, and sustainable practices. 

3. Corporate Responsibility

Does the company offer a recycling program for your jeans once used? Do they support the communities where they operate beyond what is traditionally expected? Are your items shipped in sustainable, zero-waste-friendly packaging

Here you want to look out for brands demonstrating their commitment to environmental and social responsibility and actively working to compensate for their impact on the planet.  

Some final words on sustainable and ethical jeans

Thankfully, there are many great options if you’re looking for sustainable, ethical jeans to add to your collection. I hope this list of some of my favorite brands will help you find what you want, no matter your budget, size, or other preferences. Be aware that there is a lot of greenwashing with eco jeans.

I’ve also got some great tips on recycling your old clothing, what to do with your clothing donations, what to do with your old jeans, how to sell your used clothes online, and how to curate your second-hand wardrobe.

If you found this post helpful, please help someone by sharing this article – Sharing is caring 🙂!

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