6 Eco-Friendly Denim Lines for Your Closet

Eco-Friendly Jeans: Organic, Ethical and Vegan Denim Brands

Woman in jeans walking on the beach
You can feel good about wearing these eco-friendly denim brands. Quim Roser/Getty Images

Do you want to make ethical fashion choices while still looking stylish and — yes — sexy? We've got great news for you. In the last several years, a number of denim designers have made it their mission to produce fashionable jeans that are also good to the planet. From entirely vegan jeans, to corporate policies that emphasize sustainable operations, eco-friendly jeans brands set themselves apart by producing jeans from organic cotton, recycling materials and using fewer precious natural resources to produce new jeans. Some of these brands put added focus on community involvement, supply chain practices and the ethical treatment of workers, too, in order to produce jeans that look great and you can feel good about wearing. Here's our round-up of 6 environmentally friendly jeans brands that you can add to your closet.

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Second Denim Co.

Yoga Jeans by Second Denim Co.
Yoga Jeans by Second Denim Co. Second Denim Co

This Montreal-based designer of premium women's jeans proves that it's possible to be both fashionable and environmentally friendly. With a dual mission to create jeans that "make women of all ages, body shapes and walks of life feel confident, beautiful and sexy" and help the world we live in, this Canadian brand has developed a loyal customer base and ships its Yoga Jeans to over 850 stores around the world. To create their remarkably flexible jeans, Second Denim Co. uses only certified organic cotton, employs an environmentally-friendly washing technique that cuts water use by 50% and uses only non-toxic, chemical-free dyes to create its range of rinses and colors. All of their denim is 100% handcrafted in Quebec, Canada, so they can closely oversee its production. The brand also re-uses its denim rinses (many manufacturers throw it out after one use) and uses recycled leather, buttons and rivets.

The Look of the Jeans: Second Yoga Jeans sells skinny, flare and bootcut styles that come in a beautiful rainbow of color rinses. These soft, stretchy, flexible jeans are fit a woman's curves incredibly well, too, while elongating legs and holding their shape impressively during long periods of wear. They're also very well priced, considering they look and feel like a higher-end designer brand.

Price: From $120

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Kuyuchi denim campaign
Kuyuchi denim offers organic jeans for women and men. Kuyuchi

Founded in 2000, Dutch denim brand Kuyichi offers well-made, eco-friendly jeans for women and men that you can feel great about wearing for all sorts of reasons, and that nobody would ever guess was organic (in a good way). The first brand to produce truly organic jeans, Kuyichi continues to innovate in their production practices, providing a model for other eco-friendly denim manufacturers worldwide. The brand creates its jeans from organic cotton, hemp and other recycled materials, use natural indigo dyes to color its jeans, partners with textile mills and washhouses to reduce water use, recycles fabric waste in its factories to create new cloth, and even uses recycled materials for its paper hang tags and packaging. Kuyichi also uses a vegan-friendly alternative to leather in its coated jeans and leather-look patches on denim clothing.

The Look of the Jeans: Kuyichi jeans and denim clothing are stylish and high-quality, notable for their beautiful range of indigo rinses. This is a trend-conscious European company with an eye on global fashion trends and a commitment to producing premium denim clothing. We're coveting their entire line, from classic skinny jeans and trendy boyfriend styles to fashionable denim shirts, jackets and skirts.

Price: From $170

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Levi's Water

Levi's jeans for women
Levi's jeans for women. Levi Strauss & Co

The Levi's jeans brand is known for its history, classic style and great finishes. Back in 2012, the iconic denim company also took a big step towards being known as an eco-friendly jeans brand with its Water<Less jeans collection for women and men, which reduces the amount of water used in the finishing processes. Because of the huge output of the brand, Levi's has made a real impact in the area of sustainable fashion. To date, more than 13 million products have been made with the Levi's Water<Less process, reducing water used in the jeans by 172 million liters of water -- that's equivalent to drinking water for 181,000 people for one year. The company also launched the "Care Tag for Our Planet" campaign, changing the product care tags in Levi's jeans to include instructions about how consumers can reduce the environmental impact of their clothing by washing less, washing in cold water, line drying and donating when no longer needed.

The Look of the Jeans: These jeans are not just eco-friendly but look and feel like premium denim, delivering that classic Levi's fit and quality. The women's straight leg jean comes in a richly dark denim wash that looks high-end. Men's styles come in a wider range of cuts and washes, from original fit to slim, slim-straight and relaxed styles in various hues and fades of indigo. You'll like the affordable price, too.

Price: From $58

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Nudie Jeans

Nudie Jeans for men are eco-friendly with a pre-loved vibe. Nudie Jeans

Launched in 2001 by a former design director of Lee Europe, Nudie Jeans is a Sweden-based men's denim brand that is passionate about creating jeans with that already-broken-in look. Believing that denim becomes more beautiful with age, Nudie Jeans creates high-quality, rugged denim jeans that last a long time and reveal "the naked truth about denim". In 2012, the brand achieved its long-time goal of producing a 100% organic denim collection. Nudie also recycles jeans, rewarding customers who return worn-out jeans with a discount on new purchases, and washing and repairing the used pair to sell as second-hand articles in their retail shops. Nudie focuses on ethical treatment of factory workers, too, and is a member of the Fair Wear Foundation.

The Look of the Jeans: Nudie is not so much a fashion brand as a denim philosophy. The brand's jeans are worn, authentic and convey a rugged masculinity. For men with distinct tastes, Nudie offers a range of selvage denim in various weights and materials, including some with cashmere and hemp. The brand's trademark fabric is a dry selvage from Japan that was used in some of the original jeans in history.

Price: From $220

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G-Star Raw

G-Star Raw from the Oceans by Pharrell Williams
G-Star Raw from the Oceans by Pharrell Williams. G-Star

Is there anything Pharrell Williams can't do? With a rallying cry of "Let's turn ocean plastic into something fantastic," the chart-busting singer and judge on The Voice launched his eco-friendly denim collaboration with G-Star Raw in fall 2014. Pharrell helped to co-found a company called Bionic Yarn, which uses recycled plastics that have washed up on beaches across the world, to create the textiles G-Star now uses for all of its cutting-edge G-Star Raw fashion range. Not only has the plastic been gathered up and removed from the areas it is damaging but has also been recycled to create a completely new material. Called "Raw for the Oceans", this eco-friendly jeans line includes fashionable, wearable jeans and denim separates (including shirts, blazers and parkas) for both women and men. Says Pharrell, “I have a connection with the ocean. It yields so much life, including our own. So we owe it.”

The Look of the Jeans: As you'd expect from a fashion show mainstay like Pharrell Williams, the G-Star Raw for the Oceans collection features stylish pieces that look celebrity-worthy. We wish we could buy the entire collection for women, in particular, which includes skinny, slim, cropped and cuffed boyfriend style jeans in a range of washes and some prints. You'll also find solid, classic denim separates including shirts and blazers, plus covetable, high-fashion pieces such as chambray parkas, blazers and jumpsuits.

Price: From $175 for jeans and $150 for denim tops

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Monkee Genes

Monkee Genes are vegan-friendly and eco-friendly. Monkee Genes

Launched in 2006, the cheekily-named Monkee Genes is a UK-based brand offering women's and men's jeans produced with "no blood, sweat or tears". This is an Earth-forward denim brand, whose eco-friendly and ethically-conscious production practices made it the first and only jeans label to gain both Global Organic Textile Standards accreditation and the organic label from The Soil Association. In 2014, the brand partnered with PETA to make its jeans (including coated denim styles) entirely animal-free, making it vegan-friendly. To produce its jeans, this independent denim brand uses 100% organic cotton grown and dyed without the use of herbicides or toxic chemicals, embraces ethical employment practices and even does cool things like keeping bees. They also have a unisex jeans line made from bamboo.

The Look of the Jeans: You'll find a large range of denim cuts, styles and colors from this organic jeans brand, from skinny jeans to more relaxed and hipster-friendly sateen styles. Monkee Genes do tend to have a more casual look that is more suited to weekend wear than dressing up for the office or evening.

Price: From $110