Ever wondered what happens to your donated clothes, specifically jeans, beyond the obvious reselling stage? If recycled, then your pair of jeans gets shredded and blended with new cotton. Making eco friendly jeans out of 100% recycled denim fabric remains a challenge without blending it with new cotton due to the loss of fabric strength.
By some measures, fashion is cited as the #2 most polluting industry in the world, while by other measures, #5. Regardless of how you measure those often interconnected factors as energy use, gas emissions, and water pollution, fashion’s immense toll on the environment is indisputable.
Unfortunately, the vast majority of denim companies still use chemical-based processes to dye their denim because making vegetable/natural dyeing processes are often difficult on an industrial scale due to color consistency and intensity issues. There is also a whole host of other issues to do with manufacturing denim like the sustainability of cotton farming; the use of toxic chemicals and animal-derived dyes involved in the dying process, which also lead to water pollution concerns; the laundry process that involves vast amounts of clean water usage; the finishing techniques such as distressing, oiling and color effects that are harmful to workers and further produce an increased amounts of waste.
But don’t fret because the industry is definitely changing and here is the proof: some awesome eco friendly jeans brands that are tackling these issues and more head on!
Eco Friendly Denim Brands You Can Feel Good About
Kings of Indigo was voted #1 most sustainable denim brand in Europe and has received a PETA prize. It has partnered with House of Denim on creating the Red Light Denim collection, which is made with at least 21% recycled jeans that have been collected in Amsterdam. The rest of the fabric is comprised of 7% hemp and 72% organic cotton making it an entirely sustainable fabric.
They have also partnered with the recycling movement REMO, creating QR codes that enabling customers to track the entire manufacturing process of their garment from plant to store. Kings of Indigo uses renewable energy whenever possible and water conservation techniques in their manufacturing. It continuously works toward using 100% recycle materials both for its products and packaging.
Additionally, it uses vegetable dyes in parts of their collection that uses 70 liters less water, 30% less energy, and is all chemical-free, making them vegan!
This brand doesn’t do seasonal collections, instead sticking to a year-round core collection. They have a large collection that is completely made out of organic cotton, also using recycled polyester and cotton in their collections. Kuyichi uses natural indigo dyes that reduce water waste, plus vegan leather for some edgier designs, yay.
Kyuichi practices transparency by publicizing their annual sustainability report on their website and showing their entire manufacturing operations.
Orta has a whole range of vegan denim that is dyed with vegetable dyes; the brand also deserves major kudos for being the first to use vegetable dyes on an industrial scale for denim.
MUD Jeans offers Lease A Jean plan that allows customers to rent a pair of jeans when they sign up for a membership. The plan also allows them to swap the pair even after a year for a new pair or donate then for recycling. It also has a program where customers can customize a pair of vintage jeans to their liking. MUD is working to reduce even more chemicals and recycle more water in its manufacturing processes. It shows a complete independent audit report including factories used and employee working conditions and sustainability practices of each facility.
All jeans are made from 100% organic cotton. Nudie Jeans includes recycling program initiative and reselling of secondhand gems. Its production process is transparent with stringent social responsibility program.
Socially Responsible Denim
Yoga Jeans uses organic cotton (whenever possible), non-toxic chemicals, and dyes. It also reuses water in their washing processes, and recycles any details like rivets and leather. Everything is manufactured from start to finish at their Canadian facility where they abide by strict employee welfare and environmental regulations.
Haikure operates under ‘Made By’ agency that monitors factory conditions as well as social and environmental production processes. It uses reduced water and chemicals with a new N-Denim system. This brand also includes QR-code technology that lets customers know the entire manufacturing process of each item they purchase.
Monkey Jeans makes it its priority to support and treat all their workers well their workers involved in the entire manufacturing process of their jeans. All jeans are made from 100% organic cotton and are ethically and environmentally conscious.
Good Society donates 25% of all its profits to charities that focus on improving social issues. All of its denim is made out of 100% organic cotton, and its sourcing and manufacturing processes are completely transparent and published on their website. Good Society has also been approved by PETA!
100% of all denim is recycled from old Levi’s. The pair you select on the website is the pair that you get, and every pair is made in the USA.
Frame has a style called Le Mix that uses Fabric taken from returned items and leftover stock to create these upcycled jeans. All are made in the USA.
All garments are made out of patchwork recycled denim, which is then reworked into a new item. All items are made in the USA.
Designer sources high quality dead stock items from manufacturers and sewers that would have otherwise gone to waste. Then adds hand-sewn details to each item. All garments are made in Los Angeles, California.
Phew, that was quite a round-up! Are you excited to try any of these brands? Or do you already own some of them? Let us know! 😀
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Photo: Kings Of Indigo, Kuyichi, Orta, MUD Jeans, Nudie Jeans Instagram, Yoga Jeans, Haiku, Monkee Genes, Good Society, RE/DONE Instagram, Frame, Phlemuns and Bliss and Mischief