Sustainable Living

The Best Affordable & Sustainable Denim Shorts for Summer

I've never been one for trends, but I have always been one for a hot pair of shorts in the summer. Lucky for us, I have found that the best shorts out there happen to also be sustainable and fair trade! When companies create sustainable denim shorts, they use a lot less water (sometimes up to 92% less), sustainable vintage wash processes, fair trade production, and eco-friendly dying processes.

Here is my list of the top 10 sustainable denim shorts for summer!


Woman empowerment is one of the advocacies of our first brand that offers affordable and sustainable shorts. This brand got its start with scarves! Able hired Ethiopian women who were coming out of the sex industry and looking for jobs. Over the years, Able transformed into a well-rounded lifestyle brand that sells bags, clothes, shoes, and jewelry. I love their denim and actually own the first two shorts featured below. The water that is used for denim production is recycled and undergoes a process to make sure that it is safe before it is released back into the land. Instead of using harsh chemicals, they use environmentally-friendly alternatives. Able is an amazing company that invests in, trains, and educates women so they can earn a living wage and break the cycle of poverty.

sustainable denim shorts

The Gyli Nautical Shorts: 75% cotton 25% lyocell

sustainable denim shorts

The Guadalupe Cutoffs: 75% cotton 25% lyocell

sustainable denim shorts

The Karina Slouch Short: 75% cotton 25% lyocell non-stretch denim

Universal Standard

Next on our list of affordable and sustainable denim shorts is from Universal Standard. They cater to all sizes, from size 00 to size 40 which really should be norm. To manufacture their denim, Universal Standard uses marvelous materials for that perfect fit that will last wear after wear, wash after wash, and season after season. This brand is our personal favorite, and one main reason is because of their Fit Liberty program, where you can buy your size now then if your size goes up or down within the year of purchasing, they will change it to your new size. This is absolutely free! Second, they encourage you to recycle textiles with them and reset your wardrobe for up to $100 off. Fantastic right? So whatever your size is, this brand will engineer the perfect fit for you.

sustainable jean shorts

Carrie High-rise Denim Shorts: 73% Cotton 23% Polyester 4% Elastan

sustainable jean shorts

Bae Denim Shorts : 73% Cotton 23% Polyester 4% Elastane 

DL 1961

From trash to fash! DL 1961 turns trash into affordable and sustainable denim shorts, pants, and dresses. They're taking old denim and plastic bottles out of the landfill and creates amazing apparel. 98% of the water used to create the apparel is recycled. As for the denim, they recycle and renew it for longer-lasting and higher-quality shorts/jeans. Lastly, the dyes that DL 1961 use are non-toxic and safe.

sustainable denim

Karlie Short Boyfriend Inclusive: DL Performance denim pairs our high-retention or comfort stretch technology with certified cotton for an authentic feel & fit that moves with you.

sustainable denim

Karlie Short Boyfriend: DL Vintage includes a range of rigid and comfortable stretch denim woven with certified cotton with clean dyes.

Boyish Denim

They set zero-waste as their ultimate goal. Boyish Jeans designs sustainable denim with recyclable, traceable materials and minimal pollution. Because sustainability is the core of their fabrics, they use non-toxic dyes and harsh chemicals in processing their fabrics. Their jeans are cruelty-free and PETA approved, so it is 100% vegan. Aside from these facts, Boyish does a lot more effort for their denim's sustainability. Bonus: Super budget friendly!

sustainable denim

The Angel Like Crazy Shorts: These sustainable shorts are made with OCS-certified organic cotton and Tencel™ Lyocell, a natural raw material from responsibly produced eucalyptus trees, reducing carbon emissions and minimizing water use.

sustainable denim

The Monty Natural: These sustainable shorts include GRS-certified recycled cotton, reducing carbon footprint and water usage.

sustainable jean shorts

The Bradley Sunrise Shorts: These sustainable long shorts include OCS-certified organic cotton and Tencel™ Lyocell, a natural raw material from eucalyptus trees that is responsibly produced to minimize environmental impact, reducing carbon footprint and water usage.

Citizens of Humanity

Get swept away with summer in these affordable and sustainable denim shorts from Citizens of Humanity. This brand offers denim that is well-crafted, high-quality, and long-lasting. Because sustainability is what they aim for, each piece is cut on automated machines to maximize efficiency and minimize fabric waste. After sewing, they wash and dye it using a technique that reduces their global footprint such as laser technology and high-efficiency washers. These are the shorts you'll reach for time and time again.

sustainable denim

The Marlow Vintage Shorts: Made via the Humanity collection. HUMANITY collection is made up of unique designs and globally sourced fabrications, woven together to create a small batch capsule for with something for everyone.

sustainable jean shorts

Camilla Frayed Hem Shorts: Medium indigo with tacking detail at waist band, fraying and destruction at hem. 100% cotton.

Sustainable Denim Shorts Runners Up:

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so hot right now

I'm Danielle, your new *non-judgemental* sustainable friend

I'm not perfect and you do not have to be! Let's start (or continue) on this journey together and have some fun!

Embarking on a sustainable lifestyle is an exciting adventure that holds the power to change the world for the better.

More About SKL

hey there!

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