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Ditch harmful jeans with these stylish and sustainable denim brands

Denim is one of the worst offenders when it comes to our environment, but these brands are changing the game.

Last Updated on March 17, 2021

Jeans have become such a wardrobe staple that 2 billion pairs are now made every single year – but what is this doing to our environment?

Denim is one of the worst offenders for pollution and consumption, using 2,630 litres of water in the manufacturing process per pair. Every year, 2 million tonnes of chemicals and 1.4 million tonnes of raw cotton are used to produce denim.

With the additional use of synthetic dyes, finishing processes that require even more chemicals, washing and rinsing, it’s unbelievable what our denim obsession is doing to the environment.

READ MORE: I’m giving up fast fashion in 2021 – here’s how it’s going

Ditch harmful jeans with these stylish and sustainable denim brands

Fortunately, there are also plenty of sustainable denim brands that take the harmful practises out of the process and don’t compromise on style.

Here, we look at five of the best to check out now.

E.L.V Denim

E.L.V. Denim Two-tone cotton-corduroy boyfriend pants

Two-tone Cotton-corduroy Boyfriend Pants, £325, E.L.V Denim – buy now

E.L.V, which stands for East London Vintage, take discarded denim and rework it to create gorgeous designs, including jumpsuits, jeans and face masks.

It’s is a zero-waste brand, donating any unused scraps to local textile artists for sculptures to avoid a destiny of the excess being dumped in landfill.

Each pair of jeans only uses 7 litres of water in the manufacturing process, a saving of 2,623 litres per garment.


Nudie Jeans

Clean Eileen Offwhite nudie jeans

Clean Eileen Offwhite Jeans, £120, Nudie Jeans – buy now

Another brand with a conscience is Nudie Jeans, who exclusively work with organic cotton and pay living wages across its supply chain.

In 2019, Nudie produced 97.7% sustainable products and repaired 63,281 pairs of jeans through its Repair Service, which operates all around the world.

Whether you drop your jeans into a repair shop, or order a repair kit, it’s a great way to keep your denim lasting longer. Plus, the service saves 50,000 kilos of textile waste every year.


READ MORE: Is Zara ethical and sustainable?


Levi's® Wellthread™ Ribcage Straight Ankle Jeans 1

Wellthread™ Ribcage Straight Ankle Jeans, £100, Levi’s – buy now

Levi’s is one of the best-known denim brands out there, but did you know it’s now sustainable too?

The label has upped its game in recent years, incorporating sustainable materials into its denim including Cottonised Hemp and responsibly harvested wood – also known as TENCEL™.

Like Nudie, Levi’s also have Tailor Shops across Europe to extend the life of your garments and they offer made-to-order jeans now too.


M.i.h Jeans

m.i.h. jeans Audie Coat
Denim Trench Coat

Denim Trench Coat, £295, M.i.h Jeans – buy now

Last year, M.i.h Jeans launched Paradise – a collection of denim with the lowest impact denim possible today.

The label has vowed to create all their jeans with this level of sustainability and care going forward, using Certified Organic Cotton, dyed and finished with low impact treatments, treated with laser technology and water-reducing washes, and using low impact trims.

While its pledge to be as sustainable as possible would have you believe it’s a new brand, M.i.h starting out way back in 1969 as the first ever British denim brand Made In Heaven.

It’s great to see how it’s progressed under the founder’s goddaughter, Chloe Lonsdale direction.


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Fanfare Label High Waisted Recycled Fully Patchwork Jeans, Blue Denim

High Waisted Recycled Fully Patchwork Jeans, £80, Fanfare – buy now

Founded by former fashion buyer Esther Knight, Fanfare offers a variety of circular clothing using repurposed and reused materials in its recycled collection.

Among the other garments in the range, this pair of jeans has been re-designed from clothing that was wastage and would have gone to landfill, giving them a second life.

Each piece is upcycled, making every garment individual and unique – the way fashion should be.


READ MORE: Is ASOS ethical and sustainable?

READ MORE: The best online vintage shops to snap up bargains

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