Top Sustainable denim brands available in Europe
Denim is an essential part of most people’s wardrobe. Ask anybody you know, and they will certainly tell you that they own at least a few denim pieces. Whether you stick with a few pairs of jeans or go all out, proper Canadian tuxedo style. It can be a struggle to find exactly what you’re looking for with a lower environmental impact.
However, if you are looking to make your wardrobe more sustainable. Jeans and other denim garments are something you will certainly be looking to buy from a sustainable brand. Why? It takes nearly 1540 gallons of water to produce an average pair of jeans. Pesticides which cotton is treated with pollute the water cycle and present a health hazard to workers. Also the dyes and chemicals used to treat the fabric are about as sustainable as the pesticides.
Thankfully, some brands do better – by choosing organic cotton, making use of recycled fabrics, limiting the use of chemicals during manufacturing and many other methods. I’ve gathered a few of my personal favourites available in Europe. Which you will surely love as much as I do.
You’ll rarely see as much detail and transparency on the sustainability of a brand as you’ll see on the Nudie Jeans website. From the materials they use, through their impact on several environmental factors. To individual reports on their sustainable performance in the past year. You could spend hours reading up all about their journey towards becoming one of the most sustainable denim brands in the world!
So, let me summarise it all for you. The majority (94%) of materials used to craft their jeans are made from organic, recycled or Fair-Trade cotton. They go against the fast fashion trend and create jeans meant to last a lifetime. And offer free lifetime repairs on all pairs. What if your old pair doesn’t fit anymore? They’ll give you 20% off your next pair if you send it back to them. Because of this trade in scheme, they then offer the pre-loved pairs at a lower price in a separate section of their website. My favourites are these skinny black jeans, which I’ve just worn to death!
MUD Jeans started with a simple mission – to take something we all wear regularly and make it sustainable. Having worked within the fashion industry for 30 years, the founder Bert van Son founded the sustainable denim company in an effort to make fashion less demanding of the environment and the people involved in the production process.
MUD Jeans will help you reduce your impact on the environment by a lot! Every pair of their jeans takes 127 gallons of water to produce – compared to the industry average of 1,540 gallons! The whole company is completely carbon neutral, offsetting the average 15.7lbs of CO2 emissions per pair (which is 69% less than the industry standard). Their fabrics are made from 40% of recycled denim which has been saved from the landfill. Giving it a new life. Any chemicals still used in their production process are non-toxic and Nordic Swan Ecolabel certified. Mud Jeans even sell off their second hand jeans which is where I got this brilliant pale denim pair. They looked as good as new!
There is a reason why People Tree is one of the best-known sustainable fashion brands in the world. They offer a variety of high-quality garments which will last you a long time. Among other clothing, you’ll find plenty of denim in their range – starting with the classic pair of jeans but adding some unique items into their collections, such as denim coats and dresses. All of their sustainable denim is made from certified organic cotton.
People Tree only uses natural materials (or fabrics such as lyocell, following closed-loop processes) and their cotton is always GOTS certified organic. They also implement a variety of techniques for water conservation, such as rainwater collection or water recycling. People Tree only collaborate with farmers and factories with the same set of principles as their company. They have become pioneers of high-standard working conditions in developing countries. Giving people living there a job that’s actually going to benefit them. I have these stunning wide leg jeans is classic blue denim.
ELV denim is a zero waste sustainable denim company saving jeans from going to the landfill. They source old denim from vintage warehouses around the UK and transform them into new pieces for your wardrobe. All the water needed is that which is used to wash the old denim – which adds up to just 1.5 gallons (compared to the 1,540 gallons needed to make a new pair). The pieces are then quality-checked and transformed into new jeans in their atelier in London.
Because they use pre-loved fabrics, ELV Denim has developed a signature style, with many of their jeans being made from darker and lighter panels. However, you’ll also find solid-colour pieces in their collection. Aside from the classic pair of jeans, you can also find jackets and shorts on their website.
Of course another super sustainable way to get great denim is to buy secondhand. Charity and thrift shops have some amazing vintage pieces often have better craftsmanship in comparison to newer fast fashion brands. Also with eBay and Depop, it’s even easier to buy online – my top tip is go by your body measurements rather than the stated size. I got these amazing vintage Levis, from a charity shop.
Have you heard of these amazing slow fashion companies before? Have you tried their sustainable denim? If you have, leave a comment below, to share your experience with me and others!
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