- On average, it takes 1,500 liters (about 396 gallons) of water to produce a single pair of jeans.
- Along with the massive amount of pesticides used to grow cotton and the energy consumption in factories, jeans are one of the least eco-friendly clothing items to produce.
- As consumers become more concerned with how the products they buy affect the environment, brands are continually finding new ways to make jeans more sustainably.
- Below you’ll find seven brands using eco-friendly materials like organic cotton and sustainable production methods that use less water, energy, and toxic chemicals. You’ll find familiar faces like Levi’s along with relative newcomers like Warp + Weft.
The way I see it, jeans are the cornerstone of any wardrobe worth having. People of all ages, styles, professions, and income levels wear them, but as common as the popular pant style is, they’re actually rather harmful to the environment.
From the pesticides and insecticides used to grow cotton to the massive amounts of water, energy, and chemicals used to process the materials and turn them into denim, jeans rank as one of the least eco-friendly clothing items to make. According to Everlane, it takes about 1,500 liters (that’s roughly 396 gallons) of water to produce a single pair of jeans.
Realistically, those stats aren’t going to prevent anyone from buying jeans. But as responsible consumers, we can do our part by shopping brands that value sustainability in their production methods. So, to point you in the right direction, we rounded up seven brands that are making jeans more sustainably by implementing less wasteful manufacturing techniques and more effective recycling programs.
7 brands making sustainable denim:
Everlane has always been about transparency. In addition to prioritizing ethical labor practices, it has made sustainability a major tenet of it its production process.
You’ll find apparel made from recycled plastic in the ReNew Collection along with what the brand calls the "world’s lowest-impact sneakers" from its shoe line, Tread. But jeans are another area Everlane has made huge strides in as far as sustainability goes.
The jeans are made in Saitex, the world’s cleanest denim factory. The facility recycles 98% of its water and uses clean energy. After the water is recycled, Everlane’s jeans use 0.4 liters of water compared to the whopping 1,500 liters of water per pair when using traditional production methods.
Outerknown S.E.A. Jeans
Founded by professional surfer Kelly Slater, Outerknown is self-described as "For the people and the planet." The brand makes every decision with the highest regard for people that manufacture their products and planet on which they’re produced.
Outerknown’s S.E.A. Jeans are made with 100% organic cotton and are also produced in Saitex’s clean factories. Despite putting a lot of focus on being eco-friendly, Outerknown didn’t cut any corners in terms of quality — and the brand fully stands behind its products with a lifetime guarantee.
If your S.E.A. Jeans ever wear or break, you can send them back and Outerknown will repair or replace them for free.
Warp + Weft
Warp + Weft
Founded by Sarah Ahmed, Warp + Weft has made an impact on the apparel industry with its ultra-inclusive range of sizes and inseams, but it’s also touted as the world’s cleanest vertically integrated denim company (meaning it owns its own factory).
Since the brand’s launch in 2017, they’ve sold more than 477,000 pairs of jeans and saved more than 572.4 million gallons of water.
To be completely transparent about its manufacturing process, Warp + Weft gives a look inside its factory, highlighting elements like responsibly sourced cotton, eco-friendly dye, water-saving techniques, and solar power.
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