The best way to shop sustainably is to buy vintage or second-hand — and this is especially true for denim as well as other clothing.
“No amount of organic cotton or lower-impact chemical treatments on new jeans can compare to the sustainability factor of just using some of the clothing that already exists on this planet.”
“No amount of organic cotton or lower-impact chemical treatments on new jeans can compare to the sustainability factor of just using some of the clothing that already exists on this planet,” says Whitney Bauck, as traditional denim takes thousands of gallons of water, and dyes can be toxic for the environment and workers. Also, the water can be used in places that may have water scarcity like Africa. Borw allows you to buy to vintage/second hand and sustainable denims and other clothes through the app at affordable pricing.
Best affordable sustainable denim
-Warp + Weft
For sustainable denim under $100, Warp + Weft stood out to our experts. Kristy Drutman of Brown Girl Green appreciates that they’re size-inclusive, and they offer jeans in all sorts of styles and washes for men, women, and kids. Cost around $80.
They share sustainability reports on their website, which outline everything from where they source cotton to their fair labour practice standards to their process for creating the products. They also do deep dives into what each product is made of and who they’re certified by PETA or GOTA. Sandra Capponi, the co-founder of sustainability rating platform Good on You, adds that they create “ethical and durable, yet trendy and modern pieces that never go out of style,” which is ideal for many people for years to come. Costs around $120.
– MUD Jeans
MUD jeans offer you to a 12-month leasing program in you can rent the denims and return after 12 months making it very circular. Capponi adds that “They work closely with all their suppliers to make sure workers are paid fairly, plus they offer repair and recycling for jeans that need a new life,”. They produce four classic fits for both men and women and offer a handful of washes. Costs around $140.
Best mid-range sustainable denim
– Nudie Jeans
Nudie jeans not only produce sustainable types of denim they also involved in the human rights and the wellbeing of the people that make the clothing. On top of this, they offer free repairs on all of their jeans, which extends their lifespan; as soon as they rip, customers can have them patched up without charge instead of tossing them. Costs around $200.
– Outland Denim
This is an Australian-based brand Outland Denim, which offers a tightly edited selection of both men’s and women’s jeans. They have a washing facility that uses all the latest non-toxic and safe technology alongside providing victims of sexual exploitation and other vulnerable backgrounds a living wage, education, and training to help promote a stable career and high standard of living. Costs around $200.
Best expensive/splurge-worthy sustainable
– E.L.V. Denim
E.L.V. Denim takes discarded denim that’s headed for a landfill and repurposes them and the designs are on-trend. The brand described itself as “zero waste”. Furthermore “They produce everything locally in factories in East London, reducing their eco-footprint even more” adds Capponi. Also, they use local laundromats to wash their denim, which cuts down on the amount of water used per pair. Costs around $360.
Unspun is an American made-to-order brand, they hold onto zero inventory, which cuts down on excess waste. Each pair of jeans is completely customizable — down to what colour you want the thread to be — and they use recycled cotton and no plastic materials. Costs around $215.