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21 Sustainable Denim Brands That Are Kicking Fast Fashion To The Curb

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Are you on a quest to find the best sustainable denim brands to upgrade your casual “uniform” without suffocating your curves in the process? Our favorite ethical jeans companies below are good for the environment and your wardrobe. Below is our list of the most amazing jeans, sustainable denim shorts and overalls you can find in 2023.

Don’t forget to check out our favorite Affordable Sustainable Denim Shorts for Summer!

This post is about the best ethical & sustainable denim brands.

ethical denim brands

Granted, jeans are a no-questions-asked hero piece that deserves a place in our all-year-round wardrobe. Unfortunately, however, they are also one of the most polluting and overall damaging garments. 

Over 6 billion pairs of this wardrobe staple are produced worldwide each year.

Unlike sustainable denim fabric manifacturing, the production of one single pair of “regular” jeans requires 7,500 liters of water! That’s because most denim pieces are made of cotton –known for its high water consumption and pollution, soil degradation, and greenhouse gas emissions. 

Harmful chemicals may also be used extensively in denim’s dyeing process. That’s on top of the large quantities of insecticides that are used in cotton farming. To top it all off, the denim industry alone accounts for 5% of landfill waste

Studies indicate that 2.16 million tons of waste is generated from jeans annually. Yes, that’s an awful amount of environmental damage! But that doesn’t mean you have to forgo the unmatched comfort of your trusted denim.

The best sustainable denim brands incorporate everything from certified organic materials and post-consumer waste to recycled fibers and ethically sourcing denim that requires way less water and energy. 

You’d think those premium and affordable sustainable jeans would be dowdy, but no. The most raved-about ethical jeans brands serve some of the most innovative silhouettes, washes, and prints that make traditional denim turn green with envy. 

Take a look at the best sustainable and ethical jeans that are currently at the forefront of the socially and environmentally responsible fashion sphere, ahead.

Why are most jeans unsustainable?

Most non sustainable jeans are made from cotton, which is a water-intensive crop that requires large amounts of pesticides and fertilizers. The production of conventional cotton can contribute to soil degradation, water pollution, and other environmental problems.

The dyeing and finishing process for jeans involves the use of toxic chemicals, which can pollute waterways and harm workers’ health. This is a major problem in countries that still dominate the dyeing industry, like China, Bangladesh, Thailand, and Indonesia. 

The fast fashion industry encourages consumers to buy cheap clothing that is quickly discarded and replaced, leading to a significant amount of textile waste.

Jeans are often produced in factories with poor working conditions and low wages for workers. Additionally, the transportation of jeans from manufacturing facilities to retail stores contributes to greenhouse gas emissions. Here’s a list of 20+ fast fashion brands to avoid.

Many jeans manufacturers do not disclose information about their supply chain or environmental practices, making it difficult for consumers to make informed choices.

What toxic chemicals are hidden in fast-fashion denim?

This could be a whole essay. But, to summarise, some of the toxic chemicals that may be hidden in fast-fashion denim include:

  1. Azo dyes: Azo dyes are synthetic dyes that are commonly used to color denim. Some azo dyes have been found to be carcinogenic and may cause allergic reactions.
  2. Formaldehyde: Formaldehyde is used in the finishing process to give denim a wrinkle-free appearance. Formaldehyde is a known carcinogen and can cause skin irritation and respiratory problems.
  3. Phthalates: Phthalates are plasticizers that are added to denim to make it softer and more flexible. Phthalates have been linked to hormone disruption, reproductive problems, and developmental issues.
  4. Heavy metals: Heavy metals such as cadmium, lead, and mercury may be present in denim production processes, particularly in the dyeing process. Exposure to heavy metals can lead to health problems such as cancer, kidney damage, and nervous system damage.
  5. Chlorine bleach: Chlorine bleach is sometimes used to achieve a distressed or worn look in denim. Chlorine bleach is a toxic substance that can irritate the skin and eyes, and may release harmful gases when mixed with other chemicals.

How can jeans be sustainable?

Traditional denim emits 33.4 kg (73 pounds) of CO2 into the atmosphere PER PRODUCT (equivalent to driving more than 1,000 km by car), but that’s not the case for ethical and sustainable denim. Sustainable denim fabric suppliers and consious brands create their collections with only a fraction of the water needed, thanks to recycling. 

Additionally, eco-friendly jeans are made with certified organic, recycled, and regenerated fabrics treated with safe dyes and finishes. Lastly, raw jeans are more sustainable than pre-washed jeans. The top  premium and affordable sustainable jeans brands also compensate for carbon dioxide emissions through carbon offsetting. 

What does “ethical jeans” mean? ​

Ethical jeans brands maintain sustainable production and sourcing standards that focus on the health and well-being of their workers and the environment. This includes the fair payment of workers, sourcing materials from sustainable denim fabric suppliers, enforcing safety standards, and supporting the local community.

Unfortunately, between 1% and 3% of agricultural workers worldwide suffer from acute pesticide poisoning, with at least 1 million requiring hospitalization yearly. Sustainable denim overalls, jeans and shorts  made from GOTS-certified organic cotton, for example,  free from highly toxic substances that severely harm the planet and the farmers’ health.

What’s more, ethical jeans are made with circular design principles in mind, which prioritize the longevity and recyclability of products. This includes designing products to last longer, using materials that can be easily recycled or repurposed, and offering repair and recycling programs.

What are sustainable jeans made of? ​​

Sustainable jeans are made of GOTS-certified organic cotton and post-consumer and pre-consumer recycled cotton. Sometimes, recycled jeans brands use sourced deadstock denim and recycled plastic fabrics as well. Lastly, TENCEL Lyocell (cellulose fiber made from dissolving pulp) is another eco-friendly material that gives sustainable denim shorts and jeans  an extra boost of durability and softness.

This post is about the best sustainable denim brands.

The Best Ethical & Sustainable Denim Brands in 2023.

1. Triarchy

sustainable denim

Triarchy has a fantastic 85% recycled water production system, to help them craft “real denim for real women”. 

You might know them as the company that produced the “World’s First Plastic-Free Stretch Denim.”

Instead of regular cotton, and chemical-laden polyester, the brand chooses Tencel, organic cotton, vintage denim, and natural rubber colored with reduced indigo or clay. On top of that, they also recycle offcuts and turn them into new materials. 

Price: From $225 

Sizes: XS-XL

Ethics: Sustainable Materials, Oeko-Tex Standard 100 & GOTS Certified, Cruelty-Free And Peta Approved, Recycling, Toxic-Free Dyes, Fair Wages, Green story And Retraced Partners

Location/Shipping: USA  

Sustainable Denim From Triarchy:

2. Outerknown

ethical denim brands

Sustainable Socks, organic cotton sweatpants, swimwear, sustainable denim – Outerknown is the mecca of ethical fashion! 

Their wide range of S.E.A. (Social and Environmental Accountability) ethical jeans come in a high-rise, boyfriend, or cropped silhouette that are equal parts stylish and functional. 

Every pair is made from organic and recycled cotton in Bluesign and Fair Trade-certified factories. On top of that, their fair trade jeans are produced in small batches using vintage hand-operated looms. And if you have old jeans to retire, their take-back program will do that for you.

Price: From $168

Sizes: 24-32

Ethics: Organic & Recycled Materials, Renewable Energy, Fair Trade factories 

Location/Shipping: USA

Organic & Recycled Denim from Outerknown:

3. Etica

ethical jeans

Lauded as one of the best sustainable denim brands of 2023, Etica offers authentic affordable sustainable jeans that exceeds Fair Labor standards. Their mills hold many certifications from OEKO-TEX Standard 100, WRAP, and Cradle to Cradle to GOTS certified organic. 

Plus, the water, chemical, and energy consumption of every pair of jeans they produce is closely monitored through Jeanologia’s Environmental Impact Measurement (EIM) software. 

So rest assured that your jeans, jumpsuits, and dresses are as stylish as they are ethical and durable!

Price: From $88

Discount: Use code SKL15 for 15% off

Sizes: XS-L

Ethics: Sustainable Materials, Beyond fair trade, transparency, water recycling

Location/Shipping: USA, worldwide shipping available

Fair Trade Denim by Etica:

4. Kuyichi EU

affordable sustainable jeans

The ethical European company, Kuyichi, has worked to create timeless, affordable sustainable jeans that are sure to become your favorite season after season. 

Skinny, straight, wide-leg, mom, boyfriend–you name it, they have it! Kuyichi offers a variety of colors for their ethical jeans, although they tend to focus on classic, timeless shades that can be worn for years to come. 

Plus, their manufacturer is GOTS, BSCI & Fair Wear audited, which we absolutely love. Also, this is one of the very few companies that use hemp in some of their denim in addition to organic cotton, Tencel, and recycled fabrics.

Price: From € 100

Sizes: 25/30 -34/32

Ethics: Limits the chemicals, water, and wastewater used in the production, GOTS Certified, Fair & ethical labor practices

Location/Shipping: Netherlands, ships Worldwide

Organic Cotton Jeans By Kuyichi:

5. Denim Library

ethical jeans

Second-hand treasures can unlock more outfit potential in a way brand-new staples simply cannot. That’s why we absolutely love Denim Library’s curated assortment of pre-loved or second-hand jeans so darn much. 

The sustainable company upcycles and sells the world’s most coveted women’s jeans, lovingly worn in. 

You can find pieces from Levi, Wrangler, Lee, Topshop, and Acne Studios in various washes and silhouettes, including skinny, wide-leg, straight, and flare. 

Their end goal? To help reduce the 350,000 tonnes of good clothing tossed into landfills. Affordable, high-quality denim that Decreases environmental pollution and saves resources? Yes, please! 

Price: From £25.00

Sizes: Sizes depend on secondhand inventory

Ethics: Denim upcycling, sustainable packaging, saving natural resources, circularity

Location/Shipping: UK

Secondhand Denim by Denim Library:

6. Neems Custom Made Jeans

eco friendly denim brands

Once you choose your desired style and rise through the “ Dream Jeans Builder”, you can see your jeans’ fit in real-time using the ‘30-second Mobile Body Scanner’. 

In fact, Neems is one of the few sustainable denim brands that tapped into 3D mapping technology to further eliminate eliminated the risk of overproduction and lower their environmental footprint by reducing their products’ return rate. But in case you need alternations, Neems will do them for free!

Price: From $199

Sizes: ALL SIZES!!! Perfectly sized to your measurements.

Ethics: Premium, locally sourced deadstock denim, ethically made in Neems’ LA facility, OEKO-TEX100 Cotton, LEADS.GOTS and GRS certified, energy-efficient eco-friendly Tukatech laser cutting machines, recycled packaging, 3D body tech

Location/Shipping: USA

7. Whimsy & Row

recycled jeans brand

Whimsy & Row uses organic cotton to reduce the environmental impact of its sustainable denim products. The sustainable denim brand also opts for natural and non-toxic dyes, which are safer for workers and the environment. 

Oeko Tex Certified, carbon neutral, every pair comes with its own “impact” report, which we absolutely love. Some styles, like their best-selling cropped Flora Pant, are now available in a longer length for taller gals! 

Plus, the color options are endless. Think rust, sage, terracotta –the list goes on.

Price: From $168 

Sizes: 24-32

Ethics: Organic & Recycled zippers, natural dyes, mostly made locally in the US, recycled packaging

Location/Shipping: USA

Non Toxic Denim from Whimsy & Row:

8. Nudie Jeans EU

eco friendly denim brands

Nudie Jeans’ premium ethical jeans assortment is crafted from eco-friendly materials, including certified organic, fairtrade, or recycled cotton, recycled polyester, and TENCEL. 

Moreover, the brand offers free tear repairs for life and a 20% discount if you choose to send them your worn-to-death pair in exchange for a new one! 

No worries, your used pair will gain a new life through their Re-Use collection. There’s also the top-selling “Rebirth collection,” which is made with at least 70% recycled fibers from waste made ethically in certified factories! 

You can find a slew of sustainable denim shorts, overalls and more options  in multiple different washes as well as many more capsule wardrobe staples like sweaters and tees.

Price: From$185 

Sizes: 24-38

Ethics: Sustainable & Recycled Materials, Certified Organic, Ethical Production, Free Repairs, Second-Hand Section, Fair Wages

Location/Shipping: USA

9. Kings of Indigo EU

recycled jeans brand

Kings of Indigo is one of the best sustainable denim brands in Europe with various styles, including classic five-pocket jeans, cropped jeans, and overalls. 

The Netherlands-based company uses organic and recycled cotton, recycled polyester, and Tencel that are turned into ethical jeans through sustainable production techniques, such as laser technology, to reduce water and chemical use during manufacturing. 

Moreover, Kings of Indigo works with fair-trade factories and suppliers and is transparent about their supply chain and production methods. This recycled jeans brand also has a repair and recycling program, where customers can send in their old Kings of Indigo jeans to be repaired or recycled.

Price From €129,99

Sizes: 24 / 27- 33 / 31

Ethics: Sustainable and recycled Fabrics, fair trade, repair, and recycling program, sustainable production techniques

Location/Shipping: Netherlands, ships worldwide

Sustainable & Recycled Denim:

10. Asket EU

ethical denim brands

The Swedish sustainable denim  brand Asket offers two different fits for their jeans – slim and straight. 

The slim fit is a modern cut that sits below the waist and has a narrow leg opening, while the straight fit is a classic cut that sits at the waist and has a straight leg. 

Asket offers a range of classic styles for their jeans, including regular and raw denim. They also offer a “Short Edition” for shorter figures, as well as a “Long Edition” for taller gals. 

Asket ethical jeans are made with organic cotton and recycled materials, and they use eco-friendly production processes, such as laser technology to reduce water and chemical use during manufacturing. What sets them apart? The 3-dimensional size system!

Price From €135

Sizes: see the “select your build” system

Ethics: Sustainable Fabrics, ethically made, 100% transparency, sustainable production techniques, repair and revival program

Location/Shipping: Sweden, ships worldwide

11. People Tree UK

best sustainable denim brands

Known as one of the best brands for sustainable jeans Europe has to offer,People Tree UK proudly carries the Fair Trade certification, which means that their entire supply chain is as ethical as it can get! 

Aside from their lineup of ethical jeans, you can also find dungarees, miniskirts, skinny fits, straight fits, and more options made of 100% GOTS-certified organic cotton. 

Most styles are sewn using Eco Verde Recycled Sewing Thread. Most importantly, their sustainable denim shorts and  jeans collection saves up to 88% of water during the production process, compared to conventional denim production. Isn’t it amazing?!

Price From $90

Sizes: 8-16 UK

Ethics: Sustainable Fabrics, Fairtrade Certified And GOTS And Flo -Certified, Peta-Approved, Donations

Location/Shipping: UK, ships to EU, USA, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand

Sustainable Denim From The UK:

12. Armed Angels EU

recycled jeans brand

Known for their inherently cool and modern designs with a trend-driven edge, Armed Angels’ “DetoxDemin” collection is comfortable, flattering, and versatile. 

The lineup is designed with a circular economy in mind and thus, it can easily be dismantled and recycled at the end of its lifespan. 

The secret? Instead of rivets, they chose embroidery in order to keep the fibers in the loop for as long as possible you can find skinny fit, slim fit, straight fit, wide leg fit, mom fit and boyfriend fit jeans in blue, black, distressed, cropped and multiple other styles to fit your sartorial taste to a T. 

Plus, they ethical jeans brand solely uses sustainable materials such as Lyocell, Tencel, recycled poly and cotton as well as organic cotton farmed with no chemicals. 

Price From €99.90

Sizes: 25/32 -34/34

Ethics: Sustainable and recycled fabrics, ethically-made, circular, sustainable production techniques, 

Location/Shipping: Germany, ships Worldwide

13. Yes And

sustainable denim fabric suppliers

YesAnd sustainable denim collection is created ethically with a super-soft Tencel™ lyocell blend in fair trade certified environments. 

On top of that, the brand solely uses low-impact dyes! 

Most importantly, YesAnd works hard to track each of theirproduct’s origins-from seed to skin, using blockchain technology. You can scan the QR code sewn into your favorite YesAnd styles to learn more about the whole journey of the garment. How cool is that?

Price: From $105

Sizes: XS-XL

Ethics: Organic and sustainable materials, fair trade, 1 tree planted for every purchase, natural dyes, traceability, woman empowerment 

Location/Shipping: USA, worldwide shipping available

Tencel Denim from Yes And:

14. Outland Denim

eco friendly denim brands

Moving to one of our favorite sustainable denim brands for ethical jeans that deserve praise. 

Outland Denim is committed to providing fair employment opportunities and training to women who have been rescued from human trafficking and exploitation.In fact, more than 750 people have benefited from stable employment with Outland Denim to date! 

The Australian company also uses eco-friendly and ethical manufacturing processes, including using water-saving technologies and reducing its carbon footprint. 

If you are on the hunt for premium stretch denim that’s flatteringly tailored to lengthen your legs, complement your curves, and lift your bum *wink*, their collection has you covered! 

Price: From $155

Sizes: 22W30L – 34W30L

Ethics: Organic and sustainable materials, community empowerment, water-saving technology

Location/Shipping: Australia, worldwide shipping available

15. Afends

sustainable denim brands

Since 2006, Afends has held the title of one of the most sustainable jeans brands on the eco market – for a good reason. 

For their sustainable denim fabric, the Australian slow fashion company uses premium organic cotton, hemp, and other eco-friendly materials, such as recycled polyester and elastane.

Their styles run the gamut from slim fit and straight leg to wide leg – available in different washes and finishes. 

Lastly, Afends is committed to using sustainable production methods, including water-saving technologies and eco-friendly dyes, to minimize their environmental impact.

Price: From $120

Sizes: 24-32

Ethics: Organic and sustainable materials, climate positive, supply chain transparency, 

Location/Shipping: USA, worldwide shipping available

USA Made Sustainable Jeans:

16. MUD Jeans EU

sustainable denim

Last but not least, one of the most beloved sustainable jeans brands, MUD jeans! You might know them as “ the world’s first circular denim brand.”

The company creates figure-flattering ethical denim based on the principles of the circular economy. That’s why all pairs are made from 40% recycled material (aka discarded jeans) and 60% organic cotton. You choose skinny, flare, straight, and lose styles in a slew of different washes created through a laser technique. 

What’s more, they’ve been audited by the Fair Wear Foundation as members of their Young Designer Program. So ethical production is a given. Also, you can freely take advantage of their take-back scheme to recycle your worn-to-death pairs!

Price: From $120

Size Range: 25-33

Ethics: sustainable materials, fair wages, woman empowerment, take-back program

Location/Shipping: Netherlands, worldwide shipping available

17. Nobody Denim

affordable sustainable jeans

Nobody Denim is an Australian sustainable denim brand that was founded in 1999! 

Aside from ensuring that their workers are paid fairly and that safe and healthy working conditions are maintained in their factories, the company uses water-saving technologies and low-impact dyeing processes to minimize its environmental impact. 

As for their wide range of colors, silhouettes, and washes, let’s just say that there is something for every aesthetic. Their collection of conscious ready-to-wear ethical jeans can also be found in dozens of brick-and-mortar locations!

Price: From $170 CAD

Sizes: 23-34

Ethics: Organic and sustainable materials, natural dyes, water-saving technology, ethically produced in Melbourne, Australia

Location/Shipping: Australia, worldwide shipping available

18. Lucy & Yak UK

eco friendly denim

Lucy & Yak’s sustainable denim is lovingly designed in Britain and produced in India by well-paid tailors that they know personally. 

In fact, they work with factories that are certified by the Fair Wear Foundation, ensuring fair labor practices and safe working conditions for their employees. 

Their lineup of organic cotton jeans is made from 100% GOTS-certified organic cotton, which is grown without the use of harmful pesticides or synthetic fertilizers. The company also uses low-impact dyes, which are less harmful to the environment and to their workers than traditional dyeing processes. 

You can opt for a slew of ethical jeans, including high-waisted, wide-leg, and straight-leg denim in many different washes and colors. There are also some incredible printed options for maximalists –just saying!

Price: From €69

Sizes: UK6-UK32

Ethics: Organic and sustainable materials, ethically made in India, fair trade certified, low impact dyes, bring-back program for old clothes

Location/Shipping: UK, worldwide shipping available

19. Seventy & Mochi UK

recycled jeans brand

Seventy & Mochi UK aims to create super-versatile sustainable denim  that’s  both stylish and ethically made without compromising on quality or comfort. 

The lineup includes a palette of caramel, ecru, pinks, and love-worn denim blues in skinny, straight-leg, high-waisted, and wide-leg options. Some styles are enhanced with retro-inspired patched pockets, cargo elements, and in some cases, elasticated waistbands. 

All options are dyed using less water, helping to reduce their carbon footprint and water consumption dramatically. The brand also has a Circle Back initiative which further reinforces its zero-waste, circular fashion pledge. 

Price From £75

Sizes: 6-18UK

Ethics: GOTS / GRS / RCS sustainable fabrics, ethically-made, sustainable packaging, Circle Back initiative, zero waste water, Cradle To Cradle Gold Certified

Location/Shipping: UK, ships worldwide

20. Rudy Jude

ethical jeans

Rudy Jude’s sustainable denim is crafted with natural materials such as organic cotton, recycled denim, and plant-based dyes to keep their environmental impact to a minimum. 

The organic and recycled jeans brand also uses natural indigo dyeing methods, which require less water and chemicals than conventional dyeing methods. You can find a range of unique denim designs, including hand-dyed and one-of-a-kind pieces inspired by vintage denim styles. 

Moreover, Rudy Jude produces its denim in small batches in the United States, ensuring fair labor practices and high-quality craftsmanship. They also incorporate circular design principles into their denim production, including offering a repair program to extend the life of their products and using recycled denim in some of their products.

Price: From $240

Sizes: S-XXL

Ethics: Sustainable & Recycled Materials, natural dyes, Ethical Production, circular fashion, 

Location/Shipping: USA

Natural Denim by Rudy Jude:

21. Altar

ethical jeans

The affordable, sustainable plus-size clothing brand Altar follows a strict zero-waste protocol in its production methods. 

Additionally, they honor independent manufacturers and artists from across North America, highlighting beautiful stories through their work paired up with sustainable deadstock materials. 

That’s why you can find ethical jeans for every taste! Ultimately, it’s the quality, premium craftsmanship, and storytelling that make these beautiful pieces true show-fashion staples.

Price: From $128

Sizes: XS-6XL

Ethics: Organic materials, Deadstock materials, fair labor, “zero waste” production methods

Location/Shipping: USA, worldwide shipping available

This post was all about sustainable denim brands.

There you have it, the best premium and affordable sustainable jeans brands  that are far from uncreative and boring. If you’d rather spend your coin on only the most sustainable denim fabric out there, the list above will certainly satisfy your lust for quality, comfort, and environmental responsibility. And luckily for us, the top ethical jeans brands have the same values as us.

If you enjoyed this article on ethical denim, check out these other articles below!

fair trade jeans
best sustainable jeans

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  1. I have been looking for sustainable clothing brands for a while now. I am glad I have found your blog! I will definitely have to check out Amour Vert.

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