Ethical and Sustainable Denim
No matter one’s size or shape, denim occupies this weird space of being both highly desirable as a component of one’s wardrobe and hopelessly difficult to find in the right fit.
Even the slightest variance in waist or hip proportion can throw off an otherwise good pair of jeans. That’s why I created this guide, in the hopes that, with a little trial and error, you can find a pair of ethical and sustainable denim that makes you feel great.
The past few seasons have (re)introduced nearly every style and finish of denim. From bell bottoms to skinny jeans, super wide to cigarette. Jet black to stonewashed. Jeans are not only a staple, they are a real fashion item.
The following brands have a true respect for denim in all of its forms, and a true respect for producers and the planet.
Items listed were chosen for some combination of commitment to labor ethics, environmental sustainability, inclusive sizing, and accessible price point. This post contains affiliate links.
13 Ethical and Sustainable Denim Brands to Try This Fall
$ – Less than $100 | $$ – $100-199 | $$$ – $200+
$ | High end fabrics and responsibly sourced. With a wide range of styles, fits, and washes, Universal Standard is a top pick. Sizes 00-40.
2 | Boyish Jeans
$-$$ | Low waste, low water usage, ethically produced. A focus on vintage washes and cuts. Sizes 22-32”.
3 | 3×1
$$-$$$ (Find it for less at TJ Maxx, but you can’t search by brand) | Made in USA. Lots of vintage to modern style cuts in soft cotton fabric. Sizes 23-32”.
4 | Eileen Fisher
$$. Ethically produced with organic cotton, in lots of cuts and styles. Sizes 0-18.
5 | Levi’s
$-$$ | Committed to low water usage and textile innovation. You know about Levi’s. Sizes 24-34”. Plus sizes 14-26.
6 | Reformation
$-$$ | Made with cotton and sustainable tencel in figure hugging styles. Sizes 23-31”. Plus sizes 14-24.
7 | People Tree
$$ | Fair trade. A limited collection in classic weight, 100% organic cotton denim. Sizes UK 8-16.
8 | ABLE
$-$$ | Made in an ethical factory in Mexico. Sleek, “younger” styles in classic colors. Sizes 24-32”.
9 | Everlane
$ | Made in a fair trade, sustainable factory. Classic skinny jeans and more of-the-moment straight leg and bootcut styles. Sizes 23-33”.
10 | Agolde
$$. Made in USA. Perfectly worn in vintage and classic styles. Sizes 24-32”.
$-$$ | Made at the same factory Everlane and Eileen Fisher use. Easy, flattering styles. Sizes 23-37”.
12 | Kowtow
$$-$$$ | Fair trade, organic. Avant-garde for every day. Sizes XXS-XL.
13 | Monkee Jeans
$ | Organic and ethically produced. Unadorned, everyday jeans. Sizes 26-32”.
Secondhand tip: I really like vintage Lee, Wrangler, and LL Bean denim.
Though these brands don’t fit all of my ethical and sustainable criteria, they offer high quality jeans with curvy and plus size ranges
$ | Sizes 000-24 (short and tall, Curvy options) | See a review here.