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It's In The Jeans: 6 Of The Best Sustainable Jeans

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It's In The Jeans: 6 Of The Best Sustainable Jeans

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Browse the best sustainable jeans out in 2022 and they don't cost the earth.

Romally Coverdale

Wed 27 Apr 2022

The clothing industry is the one of the worst for water pollution and carbon impact.

That is why the editors here at pebble have collated the best eco-jeans that aims to give a positive environmental and social impact.

What's the problem with jeans?

Currently, only 1% of the industry is using organic cotton - meaning that 99% of the industry is using unsustainable cotton.

According to the WWF, it takes over 20,000 litres of water to produce 1kg of cotton - that’s roughly one shirt and one pair of jeans.

close up of jeans hanging up on a metal rack

In fact, 3% of the global water usage in agriculture is used solely on cotton - this is unsustainable.

This is the same with the use of pesticides and other intensive chemicals used in cotton farming, which continues to negatively impact the environment and wildlife.

Cotton is 2.4% of the world’s croplands, but accounts for 24% of global sales of insecticides, and 11% of pesticides.

3% of the global water usage in agriculture is used solely on cotton

Why is denim bad for the planet?

Denim is not exempt from unethical production either. Denim manufacturing poses its own risks for workers, with the process of making denim looking worn and faded using sandblasting leads to thousands of people suffering with silicosis.

Likewise, the current fast fashion system sees half the purchases going to the landfill - making 350,000 tons of clothing go to the landfill each year in the UK.

The denim industry, as a whole, affects:

Learn more in our article on What's Wrong With Fast Fashion?

Yet, this is not the case for all brands. The need for ethical and sustainable fashion is more pressing each year.

Luckily, pebble is here to help with the recommendations of the best sustainable jeans to date.

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At pebble, all of our products are independently recommended by our editors. If you buy something, we may earn an affiliate commission which goes to help run our publication.

6 Of The Best Ethical Jeans

Two models posing in the street with their jeans and denim jackets

1. BAM: The Active Fit

Designed for adventure, these jeans are not your standard fit. This is because conventional jeans are not good for the planet, that’s why BAM’s jeans are made from a bamboo and organic cotton bllend, meaning they are 100% recyclable and super soft.

The bamboo means these jeans are super flexible, meaning that you are not restricted in movement. Avoid the hassle of conventional denim while also creating a positive climate impact.

Environmentally speaking, bamboo absorbs five times more carbon than hardwood trees, and needs half the land that cotton needs to produce the same amount of fibres.

Likewise, there is less negative impact on the soil as bamboo doesn’t need irrigation or pesticides.

model posing in shorts on a beach

While currently being climate positive, BAM is aiming to have a zero carbon footprint, as well as producing no pollution and wastewater by 2030.

Likewise, by 2030 from farm to checkout, everyone involved in the process of BAM clothing are paid fairly and treated ethically.

As to date, BAM offset 100% of their emissions, and even offset 50 washes of each item bought by the customer.

BAM has also planted over 9000 mangrove trees and support Water Boreholes, having used 10% of profits to provide water for 37,000 people in Kenya.

model striking a dynamic pose on black jeans

pebble’s verdict

Pros: Transparent with goals | climate positive | comfortable and flexible jeans | offset 100% of emissions | offset 50 customer washes for every item | charity work | member of Fair Trade Foundation

Cons: Only two styles/cuts available

From £85. View on BAM

2. Levi’s Wellthread: The Blended Material/Made From Hemp

Levi’s begun creating jeans made to last, and the sentiment is more important than ever today.

Levi’s is currently working towards 100% sustainable cotton by 2025, 100% renewable energy in facilities by 2025, and 50% reduction in water by 2030.

As part of some of their changes, launching Spring/Summer 2022, Levi’s Wellthread range is expanding on plant-based dye techniques.

They will be pioneering their plant-based indigo and expanding their use of organic cotton and rain-fed hemp.

model posing in front of funky studio prints

For example, their High Loose Jeans are made from Cottonized Hemp - a blend of cotton and hemp, which offers a softer feel while still looking authentic.

Utilising their Water<Less techniques, Levi’s is reducing the use of water in the garment manufacturing process.

pebble’s verdict:

Pros: blend of cotton and hemp | clear eco-orientated aims | made to last | lowest impact chemicals used | reducing wastewater

Cons: not mentioned whether the cotton is organic or sustainable | unsure of ethical sourcing | expensive

For £120. View on Levi’s

3. ArmedAngels: Go-To Shorts

Sustainability has long since been the core of ArmedAngels, wanting to change the public consumption of fashion.

ArmedAngels have distanced themselves from the often vey unethical and unsustainable productions of jeans within the fashion industry. So, they’ve made their DetoxDenim range.

Their Silvaa Hemp Denim Shorts are made from organic cotton and 14% hemp. This blend makse the shorts both light and durable - making the perfect denim shorts for hot weather.

These shorts are also available in 11 different colours.

model posing in denim shorts

Their organic cotton is sourced from a controlled cultivation that is sustainable and eco-friendly, and made without toxic pesticides and low water consumption.

In fact, ArmedAngels partnered with Suminter in order to help break the unsustainable status quo by investing in organic and regenerative farming, as well as bringing biodiversity back.

ArmedAngels are currently helping 500 small-scale farmers in India to convert to organic cotton.

model posing in denim jacket

pebble’s verdict:

Pros: used only organic cotton for 12 years | sustainable sourced | no pesticides | low water consumption | blended with hemp | supporters of circular fashion |Global Organic Textile Standard dyes used | supports small regenerative farmers

Cons: no talk of water recycling | not sure of ethical production

For €67.14. View on ArmedAngels

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4. Yes Friends: The Affordable Option

This spring, Yes Friends are launching their own denim collection - made of their affordable, sustainable and ethical jeans.

For £39.99, customers can buy a pair of Yes Friends jeans without sacrificing living wages, sustainable fabrics or even giving garment workers extra money (which goes directly to them).

How is it so affordable? According to Yes Friends, it takes under £10 to make traditional, fast fashion jeans, and only under £20 to make sustainable jeans!

Made out of organic denim, which is better for the planet, composed of organic cotton, hemp and biodegradable polyester, and are even made with much less water than the traditional denim counterparts.

Woman sitting wearing a black denim jacket and blue sustainable jeans from Yes Friends

Yes Friend’s jeans have been rated low impact on the Environmental Impact Measurement (EIM) as well as being made by the only manufacturer in the world rated 100/100 by Fair Wear Foundation, because of their exceptional ethical standards.

Yes Friends jeans are available this May 2022 on pre-order - and it's a limited run, once they're gone they're gone!

pebble’s verdict:

Pros: ethically and sustainably made | affordable | option to tip workers | recycles water | multiple certifications | recyclable packaging | offsets carbon with Shopify

Cons: not available till Winter 2022 | no charity work | only few styles available so far

From £39.99. Buy on Yes Friends.

5. FANFARE LABEL: Repurposed origins

FANFARE LABEL understands that the complex issues of fast fashion need to be fixed - and they argue it just needs one simple solution: upcycling.

By creating a self-supporting circular economy, there will be no need for external items of clothing as well as a completely different mindset to clothing and other aspects in life: what is broken or out-of-style isn’t destined to the landfill, but can have its life extended.

So, how do they work? FANFARE LABEL upcycles and transforms vintage items and combines it with surplus clothing, giving the articles of clothing more life.

With circularity, longevity and recycling at the heart of Fanfare, they offer timeless pieces of clothing - embodying slow fashion.

model sitting, showing denim jeans with intricate flower embroidery up one leg

FANFARE LABEL has three collections: ‘Upcycled Movement’, ‘Premium Vintage’, and ‘Sustainable Designed’.

Due to the nature of the processes, the pieces offered onsite are one-off pieces that are unique to the order - as each pair of jeans are handcrafted and made to order.

For example, their High Waisted Recycled “Face” Embroidered Jeans, Blue Denim demonstrates their use of upcycled offcuts from waste garments and materials, as well as embroidery, to add a unique and modern look to vintage surplus denim..

Once bought, not only is the customer saving materials that would otherwise go to the landfill, but are also entitled to a repair guarantee.

In fact, FANFARE LABEL even offers to upcycle a pair of old jeans for the customer, where the design team works collaboratively to create a new and improved version of old jeans.

three models posing wearing jeans with slightly different accent trim

pebble’s verdict

Pros: upcycles materials | made to order | circular economy | works with charities that rescue victims of human trafficking | ethically made | educates public | repair guarantee | plastic free packaging

Cons: no active forms of reducing carbon emissions | expensive

From £120. View on FANFARE LABEL

6. ISKO R-TWO: Recovering to Recycle

R-TWO is the denim manufacturer brand ISKO’s response to inject sustainability into how denim jeans are made.

Saving water, energy and resources, their patented yarn-spinning technology, R-TWO, enables the reuse of certified reused cotton yarn and post consumer certified recycled polyester to create a new form of denim.

By blending reused materials, ISKO is able to produce brand new clothes from a source that would otherwise be waste - like recycled polyester from post-consumer PET bottles, or reused cotton.

ISKO’s R-TWO 50+utilises 50% pre and post-consumer recycled content, resulting in material that is more durable than traditional denim - while maintaining a soft cotton feel.

model posing, hand in pocket, focused on black jeans

ISKO makes jeans for men and women’s body types, including their most recent Carpenter Jean for men.

The Carpenter Jean is a loose fit with an abundance of pockets. Made from ISKO’s R-TWO blended material composed of 29% cotton, 27% recycled polyester, 22% recycled cotton and 22% post recycled cotton - meaning 71% of these jeans are made from recycled materials.

ISKO is aiming to reduce C02 emissions by 50% by 2030; create zero waste in production and reuse all water in production by 2025; using only recycled, reused or chain-of-custody-certified materials by 2022.

pebble’s verdict:

Pros: clear future sustainability targets | aligned with UN Sustainable Development Goals | uses recycled materials

Cons: not currently zero waste | not made from completely recycled materials | not a clear list of brands who use ISKO denim

For £210. View on https://hiutdenim.co.uk/produc....

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