the ethical guide to denim

Denim is an area of ethical fashion that I didn’t look into until a few months ago, I somewhat made the executive decision to  stop buying jeans whatsoever and even now I’ve found that I only wear one pair of jeans to college which are my Levis pair from Depop, fashion experimentation this term has been a wonderful thing. It’s one of the clothing items, however, that I’m don’t overly leap up at the opportunity to find a £5 pair in Oxfam; unlike a jumper or jacket. Yet, despite the fact I would rather buy denim new, ethical denim is quite expensive and for a student who is trying to save I thought that, until I started looking, buying new ethical denim was near impossible.

After a quest to find denim that fits several criteria, one of which being able to easily buy in the UK, I have compiled a list of ethical denim brands and/or places that you can buy ethical denim products. I wanted to make sure that you could buy a pair of jeans for under £100 or the equivalent of and that they were easily accessible to get hold of. Below are some brands that sell sustainable, ethical and quality denim, my Depop jeans have made a feature because although they aren’t a brand in themselves, I think you can find great denim buys on Depop that hardly been worn (and I managed to by my Levis pair for £18!)

Photo taken from Kings of Indigo website

Probably my favorite brand for ethical denim has to be Kings of Indigo. I say affordable because I’ve only ever bought a pair of jeans from them in the sale, which is a great way of being able to buy ethically on a budget. Yes the full price items are expensive but when ethical items do go on sale they can be reduced by quite a bit, Kings Of Indigo and People Tree are probably the ethical brands I would most recommend buying when they’re on sale.

For those of you who live in the UK however, the shipping costs €16 (approx. £14) which is potentially a lot if you’re just buying one pair of jeans. After doing a little bit of googling, I found that Zalando sell Kings of Indigo, with the same sales (almost the same, just not quite as extensive) and guess what?? The delivery is free. If you live in the UK I would highly recommend looking on Zalando, but there are a few stunning finds that seem exclusive to Kings of Indigo’s European website as well (there’s a striped mens jumper that I am in LOVE with, but €16 shipping ya know).

Although not necessarily a jeans brand, nor a denim brand, Wool and The Gang is one of the first ethical brands that sprung to my mind when thinking of brands that sell denim. Currently, I’m making myself a jumper from the Billie Jean Yarn. As their website states, the yarn is:

‘made using upcycled pre-consumer denim waste. This waste is ground back into fibre and woven into our new Billie Jean Yarn. Using no chemicals and no dyes, we manage to save 20,000 litres of water per kilogram of upcycled material.’
I’ve been knitting it since the end of August and have I finished it? Not yet, although I am half way through the final sleeve; therefore I’m making it my New Year’s resolution to finish it because that’s one goal I know I will probably be able to achieve in 2018. The kit was kindly sent to me but I’ll be doing a full post about it when I do eventually finish it. Why not make ethical denim as well as buying it is an alternative title I could’ve given this post. I forget that my GCSE textiles garment was denim too, made from Organic cotton if you wanted to give it a try yourself.
If you don’t want to splash out on a pair of new jeans however, Depop is the perfect hunting ground for Levis and other jean brands. Although you really do have to know your size and fit, and it is always a bit of a gamble whether it will or not, but the pair I have bought from Depop fit beautifully and like I said at the start of this post, they’re one of the only denim jeans I wear now.
Photo taken from Nudie Jeans website
Even though I don’t have any previous experience with the brand, I really wanted to mention Nudie Jeans. The Swedish brand sells jeans (and other denim derived clothing) comprised of 100% organic cotton, Fair Trade accredited products and organic practices, not to mention its free repairs for jeans that have been worn, and over worn.
Did I mention this brand is unisex as well? Not particularly something I seek in a brand but I think that is so great as one item can be coveted by both men and women.
Photo taken from Monkee Genes website
My last recommendation is Monkee Genes, again another brand that I have bought from but from their website they look great! Every pair of denim is sold with a tag that reads, “Everyone involved in the garment has been paid a decent living wage.” They sell both female and male styles, sell both regular fit and long for those who are taller (if I did buy a pair of jeans I would like to think that the regular would be petite enough for myself at 5ft 3). They’re a UK based brand and they’re really reasonably priced, showing that you can buy ethical denim without spending hundreds of pounds.
Quite a few ethical websites have denim sections as well, including Thought clothing (their denim selection is really good actually), Stalf (they sell jumpsuits in a gorgeous denim linen) and Birdsong have a few pairs, but if you do happen to be on the hunt for a wider range then I hope the above list helps you on your quest.

If you do have any other ethical denim sites that you love then leave a comment and you may be able to help someone who is also on the hunt! I hope you have all had a fab Christmas and are awaiting an even happier New Year. I’m torn about whether to do a resolutions post, so do let me know if you’d like a chatty end of year/new year post, merci beaucoup :))

lots of love, eleanor xx


  1. Emsi Rose 2nd January 2018 at 10:50 pm

    This. Thank you so much for sharing!! I’ve found it surprisingly easy to go ethical and sustainable in every area of my wardrobe apart from my much loved jeans!! This is just the post I’ve been looking for, thank you! Jeans are such a staple in so many people’s wardrobes, I wish it was easier to find an ethical pair xx

  2. Pingback: unfinished projects | Wool And The Gang - Eleanor Claudie

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