I’ll have to admit, I had no idea that April was Earth Month! I’m not sure what rock I’ve been living under, but whatever. Thanks Level99 for bringing this to my attention! I’m sure we can all admit that things are changing around our planet…the importance of being eco-conscious has been stronger than ever with various charities, grassroots movements, organizations, companies and individuals all standing up to make their mark in all industries. The denim industry is definitely one of them. In a Level99 newsletter, which is responsible for realizing the importance of this month, is celebrating with their expansive efforts to stay Earth-friendly. I have a few of their jeans, and I LOVE how super soft they are thanks to Tencel and modal fibers, which are manmade from sustainably harvested trees in a “closed loop” process that uses close to no chemicals or water (denim processing and finishing takes up a LOT of water). The brand also creates the classic fading and whiskering on their jeans using low compression lasers and ozone chambers instead of water. Read more about the brand’s initiatives here! Other bigtime brands have stepped in as well. DL1961 uses DLPRO fabrics in many of their jeans. “The extremely absorbent ProModal™ fibers cut the dying, washing and treating process in half, conserving water, dyes, energy and time.” Parker Smith uses eco-friendly cotton/tencel denim as well. AG is another that uses ozone technology instead of water and chemicals to finish their jeans and remove excess indigo (read more here). DSTLD, the premium denim brand that offers quality at a lower price by eliminating the middleman, uses eco-friendly fabrics and natural dyes and softening techniques. Another huge one to name is the Levi’s® Water<Less™ collection, which uses up to 96% less water than traditional denim manufacturing. Levis has saved 172 million liters with Water<Less™ finishing! Read more about this amazing initiative here. Read on to learn about more eco friendly denim for Earth Month!
Since I am big on eco-conscious denim (or anything fashion), I figured I’d honor Earth Month with a post featuring a few denim brands that I haven’t written about, some big and some more on the independent side, that happen to do their own part to be kind to our planet!
This denim brand came out with flying colors (literally, helping pave the way for a rebirth of colored denim if you ask me) a few years ago. I haven’t yet tried a pair, but I want to even more after discovering their earth-friendly initiatives. The brand states, “At M2F, we’re doing our part to protect the planet. Our eco-friendly, Made2Fade Technology® Yarn and Clear H20 Colors® Dye Process are leading the way. Together, these dynamic breakthroughs are enabling us to build a denim company committed to preserving the environment.” This Made2Fade Technology® Yarn is certified by the internationally-recognized OEKO-TEX lab in Sweden to be chemical free, and free of any substances that can cause harm to your health. The Clear H20 Colors® Dye Process involves a dye bath that M2F jeans are soaked in, which uses 50% less energy and water and no toxic chemicals. Read more here!
prAna is one of the (if not THE) leading earth-friendly yoga/activewear/outdoor/casual wear brands on the market today. They believe that “A brand should give much more than it takes from the world”. The brand focuses tirelessly on not only using sustainable materials (organic cotton, hemp and recycled polyester), but also their carbon footprint in manufacturing as well as working conditions for the humans who make it all possible. prAna is also partnered with the Switzerland-based bluesign®, “a worldwide standard that is applied to production chains to measure the safety and sustainability of raw materials used by chemical and manufacturing companies,” as well as several organizations that promote fair trade and education as well as sustainability. Learn more here!
I only just recently learned about Dirtball, a men’s clothing line which produces all products out of recycled materials in the USA! All recycled materials also come from the states. Using recycled materials is not only sustainable when it comes to those materials, but also dramatically cuts down on water usage, as it takes 22,000 liters to produce 1 pound of cotton. By producing all products locally, carbon emissions and distribution costs are also cut, and jobs are provided to American workers. Dirtball also allows customers of their popular Dirt Short to send their worn-out pairs back for a 20% off coupon towards a new pair, cutting textile waste in our landfills. Dirtball also produces the men’s Green Jean— each pair contains between 8 and 10 recycled water bottles depending on size. The brand first started as a Kickstarter and has been successful ever since. Learn more here!
I’m also new to Reco. This New York-based denim line goes all out…focusing on humanitarian, eco-friendly, ethical and community efforts in their sourcing and manufacturing processes. Reco is partnered with the Global Genes Project, which promotes the needs of the rare disease community by increasing awareness within the general public and garnering corporate support. All denim products are created with upcycled fabric scraps from factories around the world which helps use 60% less cotton than traditional denim manufacturing. In fact, this process actually gives them a smaller carbon footprint than manufacturers of organic cotton jeans. This cuts down on pesticide use, textile waste and water usage. Reco states “The process used to create the fabric is so unique that it has been studied, approved and certified internationally by universities due to its ability to change the environment and eliminate waste within the garment industry.” All jeans are 100% vegan, follow fair trade labor laws and incorporate no harmful ingredients in the production process. One thing that really stands out to me, is that Reco supports the independent and upcoming artists out there with seasonal collaboration projects. Read more here!
I love discovering all these new eco-friendly brands…Kuyichi is another! This Dutch denim brand says they fueled the “organic revolution” by being the first to create organic denim. They also partnered with Climate Neutral Group in 2008 to work towards a 100% climate-neutral world. The company is also committed to being transparent, working with MADE-BY to publically report their social and environmental sustainability progress. Since Kuyichi does not supply its own fabric and materials, they are working under the verification standard of Fair Wear Foundation (FWF) which monitors and improves labor conditions for garment workers around the globe. Kuyichi hasn’t stopped there..they also have many certifications to verify content of materials used in all apparel collections and to support supply chain transparency. As with other denim manufacturers who are in it for the cause, Kuyichi also realizes the tremendous amount of water and harmful chemicals often used in denim finishing, so they work very closely with all suppliers to make sure there are always sustainable alternatives to this wet processing being developed. They also try to ship as much by boat as possible within the production chain as possible to cut down on emissions. Read more here, and about all materials used here!
And again, one more new one to me! Monkee Genes was born in 2006, and is another proud organic denim company in the UK. They state, “Monkee Genes is the first and only jeans label to have unique mix of astute acreditations from The Soil Association and the Global Organic Textile Standards (GOTS).” They also partnered with the Soil Association in 2008, winning themselves the Soil Association certification for organic products. This basically means that “all factory working standards are vetted and considered as important as the environmental factors. This involves each and every stage of the process being examined, from the cotton growth and picking to the content of the label and button.” I also LOVE that Monkee Genes moves beyond denim, helping do their part to assist the poor, threatened honeybee. I’ll just paste what they said here, because I love how they state it…”The Great British bee has been in a bit of trouble recently and, as we’re sure you all know, we here at Monkee Genes are proud of our eco-friendliness. It only makes sense, then, that we’d be doing something about it, right? For the past four months we’ve had 4 bee hives at Monkee HQ, with each hive holding a HUGE amount of bees, like 20,000 of them. So that’s 80,000 honey bees buzzing around of just one species; there are about 250 species in just the UK, but only 25 of those are natively British. That’s half of what we had in the 1950s, with three species already extinct, five under threat, and yet another two dangerously close.” They then go on to advise fans how to care for their own hives to do their part as well. Adorable and awesome! Read more about Monkee Genes’ organic initiatives here, and their efforts to save the bees here.
There are SO many more and I obviously can’t list them all..I actually hesitated to do this post to begin with because I was afraid I’d accidentally leave out one or two that I might otherwise love! But it’s all the thought that counts, right? The denim industry continues to woo my fascion-conscious heart with more and more old and new brands doing their part every day.