Sustainable Staples: Denim

What’s the one item of clothing in your wardrobe that you go back to time and time again? It goes with everything, can be dressed up or down, day to night? If you said a pair of jeans then you guessed correctly!

We all have that one pair that fits so well and is super comfy right? Literally any time of the year, any weather and you can be rocking your favourite jeans. Well, not in the arctic or the desert maybe…

This iconic item of clothing has been around for several years and is one that can withstand the test of time due to it’s heavy duty construction.

Did you know it can take up to 8000 litres of water just to produce one pair of jeans?! Water is increasingly becoming a precious element because of freshwater supplies drying up in places such as India. Also, the dyes conventionally used are harmful to water systems and its makers because of their heavy chemical makeup.

Now that’s not to say you shouldn’t buy any more, just being more mindful of where you buy and seeking out the brands that care can help so much. But fear not, that’s what I’m here to help you with! Here’s a few brands doing denim well...

Mud Jeans

Mud is something that forms after rainfall or near water sources, but most importantly it’s eternally recyclable. With this is in mind, dutch brand Mud Jeans are very much into the circular economy and each pair of jeans are made with up to 40% post consumer denim! They’re mindful of the waste they create at all stages of production down to even packaging. 

They’ve also pioneered a leasing program; you pay a fixed monthly fee to lease up to three jeans at any time and just send them back when you want to change styles, colour or just worn out. So just like paying for your favourite beauty box each month, you can do the same with your denim.

Nudie Jeans

Similar to Mud, Nudie also work in a transparent and sustainable way and recycle their items in two ways. One is that post consumer fibres are partly used in the production of new jeans in combination with 100% organic cotton.

The second is through their Re-use collections; a customer can trade in their jeans (whilst getting a discount on their next ones) they’re then washed, repaired and resold with the name of the previous owner. Each pre loved pair has had a journey of its own, adding another dimension of character. If you have a pair of their jeans, you get free repairs for life too!

Beyond Retro

Aside from being a treasure trove of vintage pieces, Beyond Retro do damn good denim too! They’re really durable and good quality and you can always find the ever popular ‘mom’ jean here for sure. Plus they have a line called ‘Reworked’ where they upcycle or make design tweaks to give items a more contemporary look. You can sometimes find great denim bits here too.

View this post on Instagram

How to stand in Ref Jeans.

A post shared by Reformation (@reformation) on

Whilst having the dreamiest dresses, Reformation jeans are a unique addition. Instead of being made entirely from cotton, organic cotton that is, they add sustainable fibres such as Tencel™ Lyocell and Modal with some made from deadstock material found through manufacturers. 

Working like this they can save gallons of water and CO2 emissions from these nature-friendly materials. Their styles are really varied and right on trend, so you’ll be sure to find something for here.

Tips for getting the most out of your denim

  • Wash less - Denim is a very durable material that can easily go for weeks without washing. Less cleaning means less wear on the natural fibres.

  • Always hang to dry - never tumble dry good jeans as this exposes the cotton to unnecessary heat and they shrink massively!

  • Freshen up - between washes, mix up one part white vinegar/vodka (your choice) with two parts water and spray you jeans to get give them an antibacterial refresh

  • Be gentle - When you do wash, use mild detergents in liquid form and no conditioner, all on a cool cycle. 

Written by Indie Foolheea
IG: @unfoldchange | @ctrlchange