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Denim: what you need to know

Denim is the most iconic and timeless fabric. From jeans to vests, skirts, jackets, blouses, accessories, shirts, and footwear. We see it every time on the streets and we all know that a good pair of jeans will never fail us. But do you think you know everything about this fabric? In this post, we are going to talk about its environmental impacts, how to take care of them, and where to buy sustainable jeans.

Environmental and human impacts

Do you know how many liters of water are needed to produce one single pair of jeans? At least 10,000 liters. The denim production chain is not so eco-friendly. Denim is primarily made out of cotton which production requires a huge amount of water, fertilizers, and pesticides. These last ones are harmful to our health and risk for the environment.

Our blue jeans have a human cost too. Farmers are the first ones to suffer the negative effects of denim because of cotton production. Besides, there are workers all over the world involved in the production chain under terrible working conditions. The denim produced in countries from Asia, South America, or North Africa is cheap and used by the fast fashion industry.

If you want to read more about the environmental and human impacts of denim then I recommend you to read:

1.2 billion pairs of jeans are purchased every year.
Picture: Unsplash.

How to take care of denim

Thankfully, denim is a long-lasting fabric not only because of its timeless style but also of its quality. And what if I tell you that there are some tips to take proper care of them? Is the perfect way to make them last even more.

The definitive denim care guide:

  • Wash less: Wash once every 10 wears.
  • Spot clean: If you spot a stain then use a small cloth with mild soap to remove them instead of washing the whole piece.
  • Wash cold: Cold water keeps the intact color of your jeans. Furthermore, washing with cold water protects against fading and shrinking, and it saves energy. And last but not least, turn your jeans inside out and avoid harsher soaps to preserve shades.
  • Line Dry: Basically you shouldn’t use dryers for jeans. Is much better to hang them up to preserve the fit and avoid possible shrinkage or fabric warping. And last, turn your jeans inside out to prevent fading and avoid soggy pockets.
  • Store properly: Don’t hang your denim in your closet. Instead, fold them and stack them.

These easy and simple tips help denim look and fit better, last longer and it’s the best for the environment.

Sustainable denim brands

It’s important to know how to take proper care of your denim as well as where to buy sustainable jeans. So here is a list of brands that combine ethics and quality.

Warp + Weft

Warp+Weft is a family-owned company that has been in the business for three decades. Their eco-friendly mill is one of the world’s largest textile manufacturers. This means that they can create high-quality denim that is good for the planet and humans. Warp+Weft designs for all bodies, informed by customer data and specific needs.


Warp+Weft jeans.
Picture: Warp+Weft website.

Nudie Jeans

Nudie Jeans produce denim in a sustainable and transparent way. They only work with organic cotton and are certified. On their website, there is all the information you need to know about their production chain, their suppliers, their workers, etc. Besides, Nudie Jeans works with Fair Wear Foundation. They ensure safe and ethical working conditions across the whole line of production.


eco-friendly jeans
Sustainable denim.
Picture: Nudie Jeans website.


Ética is based in Los Ángeles and is rooted in the ideals of fair labor, environmentally conscious manufacturing, and social responsibility. They employ advanced technologies to minimize waste, water, and energy consumption. Furthermore, Ética recycles its water for local farmland and partners with organizations committed to workers’ rights and environmental initiatives around the world.


sustainable jeans
Sustainable jeans.
Picture: Ética website.


Boyish Jeans is a collection of sustainable denim for women. Was founded in California and designed in Los Angeles. Each denim collection is centered on vintage silhouettes with a modern style. Therefore, all their jeans are produced with sustainable fabrics through a completely eco-friendly and cruelty-free process.



RE/DONE creates one-of-a-kind, limited-edition luxury designs with a commitment to mindful production, sustainability, and circular fashion. They began with the original concept of upcycling vintage Levi’s into modern fits. Employing preloved raw goods to create new styles extending the life of a piece. Since the beginning, they have diverted over 145,000 garments from landfills and reconstructed them into coveted luxury collectibles.


RE/DONE upcycled jeans.
Picture: RE/DONE website.


ABLE is an ethical fashion brand that empowers and employs women to end poverty. They focus on quality and invest in, train, and educate women so they can earn a living and break the cycle of poverty. They have very transparent communication on their website publishing their wages, their manufacturing partners, and fabrics.


sustainable denim
ABLE women’s sustainable denim.
Picture: ABLE website.

E.L.V Denim

E.L.V Denim is a zero-waste denim brand. They source unwanted jeans from vintage warehouses around the UK. Every pair of jeans and jackets are paired by hand by Anna and her team, to ensure the quality of each piece. They create specials and unique pieces. You can find on their website all the process information, suppliers, steps, and more.



DL1961 is a family-owned brand, creating premium denim with sustainability since 2008. They take old jeans and plastic bottles and turn them into high-performance denim. Their jeans are constructed and hand-finished using waterless laser and Ozone technologies in their manufacturing facilities, which are fully compliant with International Social & Environmental Quality Standards.


DL1961 sustainable and recycled jeans.
Picture: DL1961 website.

Mott & Bow

Mott&Bow is a 32-year denim company that gets people premium-grade jeans at a reasonable price. They control the entire manufacturing process: resin application, oven curation, scraping, pinning and tying, washing and drying, etc. You can see videos and read more information about them on their website.


Picture: Mott & Bow website.


AG is a denim brand committed to its planet footprint. For more than 10 years they innovate in technologies reducing their contamination. In 2010, they adopted Ozone technology and a year later they installed the first eco-friendly lasers. In 2014, dryers were updated to recycle heat. After that, they installed solar panels and upgraded eco-friendly lasers. And in 2019 AG launched two state-of-the-art water filtration systems that recycle the wastewater produced from their factories in L.A. and Mexico. These machines have managed to save over 100,000 gallons of water per day.


AG Jeans website.

Citizens of Humanity

Citizens of Humanity approach the design and production of their products with care for sustaining the environment. They use organic cotton and invest in technology to minimize their carbon footprint. Furthermore, they are one of the very few vertically integrated denim production operations that allow products to be manufactured within their own sewing and laundry facilities in L.A. and Turkey.


Sustainable jeans.
Picture: Citizens of Humanity.


Denim is a forever favorite fabric. Blue jeans will always be a classic piece that will save you at the time to think about what to wear. In my opinion, information is power. Take into account as many tips as you can: how to take care of clothes, how to read labels and which fabrics are better, etc. Because thanks to these tips and information, we can be more responsible fashion consumers.

And last but not least, let me recommend you buy second-hand and vintage jeans. As I said before, blue jeans are long-lasting and there are great treasures in thrift stores. Nothing better than buying a pre-owned piece and extending their life wearing it.

If you liked this post then I recommend you to read Fast fashion pros and cons. And if you have any questions or comments about this don’t hesitate and write them down below. Thanks for reading!

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