With Earth Day around the corner and consumers calling for more transparency from their garments, denim companies are taking the steps to protect their employees, invest in eco-friendly dyeing techniques and incorporate organic materials.
Here are five denim brands that are working to redefine sustainable fashion.
Triarchy Denim’s sustainability approach is focused on water consumption, fabric and hardware. The brand currently works with a production hub in Mexico City that uses 85 percent recycled water for its indigo dyeing and washing process. Eco-friendly materials, including botanic wood blends and raw denim, are incorporated into the brand’s products. Each pair of denim features nickel free recycled sheet metal and recycled leather labels for minimal environmental impact.
G-Star Raw has set out on a greener path with what it claims is its ‘most sustainable jeans ever’ for Spring ’18. The brand collaborated with Pakistan-based Artistic Milliners and color solutions provider DyStar to debut the G-Star Elwood RFTPi jean.
The jean, which achieved Cradle to Cradle Gold status for its material health and minimal environmental impact, was developed with Crystal Clear, a clean indigo dyeing process where 98 percent of water is recycled and reused. The aim with the jean, is to demonstrate that denim brands can make their supply chains more sustainable from sourcing to finished product.
Nudie Jeans wants consumers to cherish their jeans without sending them to the nearest landfill if they rip, tear or fade. The brand’s Nudie Jean Repair shops lets consumers fix their Nudie jeans, resell them as secondhand, or donate them to Nudie’s recycling program, which recycles old pairs of jeans into materials to make new denim products.
According to Nudie Jeans, 49,235 pairs of used jeans were repaired at its repair shops in 2017, while more than 2,000 pairs were recycled and turned into new products the same year. What’s more, Nudie Jeans works to elevate transparency by conducting regular factory audits and manufacturing its products at factories approved by like-minded NGOs, including the Fair Wear Foundation.
Outdoor retailer Patagonia knows a thing or two about apparel sustainability and its eco-minded approach thrives in its denim offering. Patagonia’s denim focuses on three core sustainability areas: organic cotton, water and energy reduced dyeing processes, and Fair Trade Certified sewing.
Since 1996, Patagonia has made its denim with 100 percent organic cotton, made from non-GMO seeds and grown without synthetic pesticides. For its denim dyeing process, Patagonia tapped Archroma Advanced Denim Technology, a dyeing process that colors denim using easily bonding sulfur dyestuffs. The dyeing process, according to Patagonia, requires 84 percent less water, 30 percent less energy and emits 25 percent less carbon dioxide. As a partner of Fair Trade USA, Patagonia pays garment workers a premium they can use to improve their standard of living and communities.
Radical transparency leads Everlane’s market presence and consumers have snapped up the brand’s denim products for their durability, comfort and positive footprint. Everlane, which offers men’s and women’s jeans in various cuts and washes, helps consumers visualize its supply chain, including where items are made. When consumers buy Everlane jeans, they can click to read more about a factory’s water use, energy use and waste management systems.
Keen consumers can also find the true cost of each Everlane item along different points of the supply chain, from sourcing, to labor and logistics. The company works with ethical factories worldwide, setting a goal for each facility to earn a score of 90 or above for auditing visits.