The denim industry is one of the highest consumers of water in the fashion industry. Every step of the process to create a pair of jeans requires water. From the cotton fields to manufacturing facilities to the finishing process, it takes over 2,500 gallons of water to create a pair of finished denim.
For those of us who love a good pair of jeans but don’t know where to look for more sustainable options, I wanted to highlight a few brands that are changing the game in sustainable denim.
“A woman should never have to sacrifice style for sustainability. Our choices matter – smart fashion is our future.”- Linda Balti, Founder of Amour Vert
Amour Vert was founded on the belief that great fashion and social responsibility can coexist. Their name means Green Love in French. Amour Vert stands for American manufacturing, non-toxic dyes, sustainable fabrics, and uphold a zero-waste philosophy. They use organic cotton, ethically made in California, hand-crafted denim, and 1/10 if the typical water use to produce their jeans.
Reformation is committed to cleaning up the denim production cycle. Reformation Jeans uses deadstock and other sustainable fabrics for their denim pieces. According to Reformation, their production process for one pair of jeans saves an average of 1,468 gallons of water.
Reformation goes a step further with their Wet Program, cleaning a thousand gallons of water for every pair of jeans you purchase, starting with the San Gabriel River in California, in partnership with BEF and the National Forest Foundation.
Levi’s Water<Less™ program reduces the amount of water used in the finishing process by up to 96%. Their innovative approach simply removes water from stone washes or combines multiple wet cycle processes, allowing Levi’s to significantly reduce water usage.
Everlane partners with their denim factory which recycles 98% of its water, uses clean solar energy, and repurposes their denim waste to make bricks for affordable homes. The factory’s unique closed system recycles 98% of all water used with their super-efficient jet washing machines and when it comes out the other side, it’s so clean you can drink it.
All denim creates a toxic byproduct called sludge. Everlane's factory takes it and ships it to a nearby brick factory, and mixes it with concrete so it can't leech into the environment. The bricks are then used to build affordable homes. So far the factory has built ten!