Image provided by Mud Jeans
There is major ecological and social fallout from the two billion pairs of jeans we are buying worldwide each year. If you need some motivation to invest in denim brands that are doing better for people and the environment, take a look here at our background piece to the denim industry . But if you’d rather skip straight to the good news, read on. Here are eight truly inspirational brands that are shaking things up in the denim industry. This is in no way an exhaustive list, so let us know about any other great brands that should be talked about here.
Jeans from NZD $360
Australian brand bassike originally launched their line of organic cotton t-shirts in 2007 and the following year expanded their product range to include a denim line. The bassike spring 2016 denim collection launched last week, and we love their take on slow fashion, focussing on beautifully constructed garments that are designed to last forever and actually improve with age.
They have achieved this through partnering with a small denim village in Southern Japan where age-old techniques & specialist denim knowledge are passed down through generations. The Japanese take great pride in their craft, and are renowned denim experts. The owner of the bespoke factory where bassike denim is made stays back after his machinists have finished for the day to change the tension on each machine in the production line, ensuring that no two pairs of jeans is exactly the same.
International shipping is around NZD $15.
MUD JEANS, NETHERLAND
All Jeans NZD $154
Mud make their jeans using organic cotton which has been independently certified using the GOT Standard. They began their ‘lease a jean’ initiative in 2013, where customers pay a small monthly fee to rent jeans for one year. After a year you can choose to keep them or swap them for a new pair. They also recycle worn out jeans for you by shredding the denim and blending with new organic cotton to create a brand new pair. It looks like Mud plans to give out a €30 store credit for all returned jeans in the future. The option to buy jeans in the conventional manner is also available through their website and stores. Love it.
Shipping to NZ is steep - around $NZD 80. We’ve estimated using YouShop it would be around NZD $50.
NUDIE JEANS, SWEDEN
Jeans from NZD $229
Göteborg based Nudie Jeans make unisex denim garments from 100 per cent organic, fair trade cotton from Chetna Organics. Their strong emphasis on transparency through the production cycle means they know exactly who makes their jeans, and how much they are being paid. Worn-out Nudie jeans can be repaired free of charge at selected stores around the world, and free repair kits are sent out to customers.They also run a re-sell service for your jeans you don’t want to wear any more, or you can donate them to the Nudie Jean recycling programme. Aces.
There’s a store locator here for New Zealand and global stockists. Photos on their website are all of dudes, but the jeans are designed to be worn by anyone.
Jeans NZD $152
We’re bananas for Deadwood. We’ve posted about their eco-friendly leather line before, but their mens and womens denim range definitely warrants a mention. Deadwood sources GOTScertified organic cotton to produce their rock inspired collections, meaning it’s been grown free from harmful synthetic fertilizers and pesticides. Deadwood proves you can have it all, a killer punk aesthetic while looking after our planet and people. Love this quote from their website: “Rebellion today is standing up to fast fashion, ruthless mass production and distorted ideals. Join the movement.” Right on.
YouShop charges would be around the NZD $30 mark for posting a pair of jeans to New Zealand.
RE/DONE JEANS, UNITED STATES
Jeans from NZD $324
There are loads of local stores to source pre-loved jeans here in New Zealand, but it can be a tedious and time consuming process. Re/Done Jeans have done the work for us, sourcing individual well loved vintage Levis and Hanes, and tailoring them to ensure a modernized fit. On the homepage select your waist size to start shopping, and a bunch of different styles show up. Once an item sells, it is out of stock because they are all one offs, but new items are added to the inventory as they are produced.
International shipping is USD $90. Shipping to New Zealand using YouShop would be around NZD $33.
RIALTO JEAN PROJECT, UNITED STATES
All Jeans NZD $341
We also love the take on vintage that Rialto Jean Project has taken. Rialto is an “eco-friendly, philanthropic denim brand specializing in hand-painted, one-of-a-kind vintage products”. Creator Erin Feniger takes discarded vintage Levi’s and used, contemporary styles that she finds in second-hand stores and markets, and hand paints them into works of art. For every pair sold USD $40 goes toward art therapy programs at the Children’s Hospital in Los Angeles. On the website, start with the style you are after (boyfriend/skinny/flared) and then see what’s available in your waist size. Go on - Oprah loves them.
JC DENIM, AUSTRALIA
All Jeans NZD $156
JC Denim is more than a jeanswear brand, it’s a social enterprise providing sustainable work for Cambodian girls who have been rescued from the sex trafficking industry. They’ve partnered with local NGO Destiny Rescue to provide vocational training to the girls in garment production. The newly trained seamstresses are then commissioned to handcraft the jeans. The girls are encouraged back into their home communities where they have social support networks to start their own businesses, and provide for their families financially. Some of the brands work is done back in Australia, but the website explicitly states where each garment has been designed and made.
JC Denim are a small, financially constrained company so runs are limited, as are sizes. You may have to be a little patient on designs. They ship to New Zealand for AUD $28.
Jeans from NZD $138
Patagonia’s Helena Barbour, recently commented “Traditional denim is a filthy business. That drove us to change the way our jeans are made.” The iconic outdoor clothing and equipment maker has always been at the leading edge of sustainability in the clothing industry and their collection of jeans stays true to this ethos. The jeans are made from 100% organic cotton, and a new dyeing/manufacturing process uses dyes that bond more easily to cotton, minimizing the resource-intensive and environmentally damaging indigo dyeing. They claim to use 84% less water, 30% less energy and emit 25% less CO2 than conventional synthetic indigo denim dyeing processes. The jeans look classically cool and are priced well.