The Most Sustainable Jeans Brands

There’s nothing quite like a great pair of jeans. And the most sustainable pair of jeans are the ones that you can wear hundreds of times. So we set out to find the most well made, sustainable denim brands with jeans that are likely to become a well-loved staple in your wardrobe.

We vetted denim brands based on transparency, carbon emissions measurement and reduction efforts, material selection, and business model. We also looked into ethical labor, packaging and waste, and other environmental efforts. Based on these criteria, we ranked brands as Good, Better, Best, or Avoid. 


--> Our Top Picks
--> How We Evaluate Brands
--> Brands to Avoid

All of our picks are over $100, which is notably more than you’ll spend on jeans at most fast fashion brands. Shopping more sustainably often means shopping for the long term. A sustainably made, durable pair of jeans can last you 10 years, while fast fashion jeans, made with a lot of synthetic fibers stretch and deteriorate in a couple years making the cost per wear the same, if not higher, than jeans that will last you longer and have a lower cost on the planet. 

If you want to save money on sustainable jeans, we highly recommend shopping secondhand. You can even search for these brands on secondhand marketplaces like Depop or Poshmark. 

Note: Depending on where you live and your total order value, international purchases may be subject to a VAT tax or additional duties.

Before You Buy: Before you buy new jeans, consider why you want a new pair. Here are a few questions to consider: 

  • Could your current jeans be mended or resized to your liking?
  • Could you upcycle your jeans with patches or embellishments to add some extra excitement?
  • Do you want new jeans to fit into a fleeting trend that’ll die down in a month or so?
  • Could you thrift a new-to-you pair of jeans or host a clothing swap with friends?

If you’re still in the market for jeans, we’ve curated our top picks below.

Commons’ Top Pick

ARMEDANGELS
Timeless apparel made with organic cotton and recycled materials

  • Commons Rating: Best
  • Price Point: starting around $110 USD per pair
  • Size range: men 29-38; women 25-34 
  • Locations: HQ in Germany; manufactured in Germany, Portugal, Turkey, Romania, and Tunisia
  • Transparency: 2022 Action Report

ARMEDANGELS shows support for building a “conscious wardrobe” by focusing on timeless, durable designs. We love that the brand explicitly encourages customers to limit their new garment purchases to no more than five items per year. The jeans are priced on par with other big denim brands like Madewell.

We like that ARMEDANGELS publicly reports its carbon emissions and is taking action to reduce the biggest carbon drivers. The brand’s material selection is primarily natural fibers, and ARMEDANGELS actively encourages circularity, both with its resale platform and within its own manufacturing. 

ARMEDANGELS is transparent about its supply chain, is Fair Trade Certified and has a supplier code of conduct.

A More Size-Inclusive Option

Warp + Weft
Size-inclusive denim brand using a majority natural fibers

  • Commons Rating: Better
  • Price Point: starting at $88
  • Size range: men: 28-42 waist; women: 00-24
  • Locations: HQ and manufacturing in U.S.
  • Transparency: Sustainability Page

Warp + Weft has a wide range of jeans for women in the tried-and-true washes and colors. For women, you’ll find wide leg, skinny, boot cut in straight across the denim color spectrum, from size 00 to 24. For men, the options are a bit more limited with slim or straight jeans for sizes 28-42 waist.

We like that Warp + Weft is a family-owned, vertically-integrated company that has been in the denim business for over 30 years. While the team doesn’t yet report on company greenhouse gas emissions, they have taken some of the most important emissions-reducing activities already. 

The brand uses a majority natural, more sustainable fibers like cotton certified by the Better Cotton Institute, and recycled fibers saved from landfills by Recover. Because Warp + Weft owns its factory, it’s been able to implement key clean energy projects, like 200 kW worth of solar panels and an in-house power plant that uses heat recovered from its manufacturing processes to power itself.

We’d like to see more details on the brand’s greenhouse gas emissions, labor practices, and packaging, as well as more circular offerings such as a take-back or resale program.

For a Personalized Fit

ASKET
Durable line of menswear and womenswear with full transparency

  • Commons Rating: Best
  • Price Point: starting around $175 USD
  • Size range: men 30-34; women 28-38 
  • Transparency: 2022 Impact Report
  • Locations: HQ in Sweden; manufactured primarily in Portugal and Italy

ASKET’s focus in on essentials, rather than trends, with collections of pieces that are designed and built to last. When you order jeans from ASKET, you can specify slim or regular build to ensure a better fit. Though, we wish the size range extended to plus sizes. The largest women's size is 38 (around a US size 14) and men’s, 34. 

ASKET scores highly across the board on our criteria — from transparently sharing detailed emissions and supply chain information to investing in renewable energy in production. The brand also buys back used ASKET apparel for store credit through The Revival Program. The brand stands in defiance of the reigning fast fashion paradigm by only producing “one, single permanent collection.” 

While all manufacturing is done in Europe, and thus governed by European labor laws, we’d still like to see further details on their labor policies, especially further up in their supply chain.

One-of-a-Kind Splurge

E.L.V Denim
Upcycled jeans and denim clothing combatting fast fashion waste

  • Commons Rating: Better
  • Price Point: starting around $325 USD
  • Size range: men 28-38; women 24-38 
  • Locations: HQ and manufacturing in the UK
  • Transparency: Sustainability Page

If you’re looking for investment jeans with more unique fits and colors, you may want to splurge on a pair from E.L.V. The denim collection features bleach tie dye, exaggerated wide legs, and statement stovepipes. 

It’s impressive that E.L.V. Denim creates its jeans from local, 100% upcycled materials. All of its products are created in an East London atelier by local craftspeople. Dedicated to their circular, zero-waste vision, E.L.V. offers both a takeback and resale program and finds creative uses for all fabric scraps created during the production process.

We wish the size range extended to plus sizes, but unfortunately, the largest women’s size is 38 (around a US size 14) and men’s, 34. We’d also like to see more details about their packaging, their fair labor and wage practices, and their carbon emissions.

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Other brands we recommend

We chose our top picks to offer you a variety of sock style and prices, but if these don’t fit your needs or you want to explore more options, here are more brands we recommend:

Best Brands

  • Nudie (Sweden): Nudie is improving its sustainability across every point in its supply chain, production, and consumer experience, and transparently sharing its progress and suppliers. 93% of the material it uses is either organic, Fair Trade, reused, or recycled cotton. Plus, we’re excited to see its factories become fully renewable soon. However, recent online reviews indicate some potential quality concerns.

Better Brands

  • Triarchy (U.S.): We like that Triarchy is measuring and offsetting the footprint of its products. The brand prioritizes organic and recycled cotton in its denim production and uses low-impact dyes and innovative technologies instead of harmful chemicals. Triarchy also partner with Renoon to provide heightened product-level supply chain transparency. We’d love to see Triarchy reduce plastic in their packaging and support resale, repair, or take-back programs to support a circular business model.
  • Boyish (U.S.): At the time of evaluation, Boyish has no published information on its carbon emissions. However, the brand has shown evidence of engaging in key emissions-reducing actions, like using majority natural and low-impact fabrics, recycling fabric scraps, using fully recyclable stretch fabrics, and using 100% compostable shipping bags. We are also impressed by its commitment to ethical labor and reducing harmful water emissions via the use of plant-based dyes and innovative processes. We’d love to see them explore the adoption of more circular programs.
  • Kowtow (New Zealand): We like Kowtow’s clear commitment to sustainability. It has a track record of being a sustainability-oriented brand since their inception in 2006. In recent years, Kowtow has established a clear sustainability strategy and released a bi-annual Impact Report to share their progress. Kowtow garments are made with 100% GOTS-certified, organic cotton. We’d like to see Kowtow measure and report on its carbon emissions, as well as develop an emissions reduction strategy in alignment with global climate goals.
  • Lucy & Yak (UK): We like Lucy & Yak’s commitment to using majority certified eco-friendly fibers, as well as its take-back and resale programs. We would love to see a published footprint and a carbon reduction strategy tied to the findings, greater transparency around its material portfolio, as well as more packaging details. Denim also makes up a small portion of Lucy & Yak’s portfolio, so the selection may be limited.
  • Kings of Indigo (Netherlands): We like that Kings of Indigo is measuring and offsetting its footprint, prioritizing organic and recycled cotton in its denim production, and using production strategies that reduce its overall impact. We’d like to see greater transparency around its wastewater approach, use of renewable energy, and re-prioritizing labor protection efforts.
  • Edwin USA (U.S.): We like the steps Edwin has taken to measure and reduce its emissions and environmental impact, particularly organic cotton sourcing and use of renewable energy and energy-saving tactics. We’d love to see more regular updates to its sustainability page and a shift towards more slow fashion practices.
  • Afends (Australia): We love Afends focus on sustainable fabrics, suppliers, and manufacturing processes. We also love that it uses solar power in its manufacturing and HQ locations. The brand also offsets its emissions. We’d like to see more transparency around Afends’ emissions measurement, a greater focus on reducing waste (e.g., small batch production, recycling scraps), and ways for consumers to resell or give back jeans they’re no longer wearing.

How We Evaluate Brands

Commons helps people tap into the power of their collective spending choices to lower global emissions. When we evaluate brands, we’re carefully evaluating the actions they’re taking to meaningfully measure and minimize the carbon emissions associated with their products.

Transparent Supply Chains and Reporting

Openness and transparency encourage trust and build accountability. We review publicly available information, including sustainability reports, supply chain partner information, certifications, and partnerships. If this information isn’t available, we don’t include these brands in our top picks.

Emissions Tracking

We look for brands that measure and share the footprint of their company and/or products. When a company understands what its biggest emissions drivers are, it can make plans to address these drivers while also demonstrating progress against these plans. This involves:

  • Measuring their footprint, ideally in collaboration with a third-party partner.
  • Reporting their footprint publicly, ideally sharing the breakdown of their carbon drivers.
  • Taking ownership of their emissions by compensating their footprint with verified, high-quality offsets.

Meaningful Carbon Reduction Efforts

We look for actions that address the most important drivers of the company’s footprint. For clothing, this includes:

Materials: Certifications are important to understand the sustainability of a material and its processing. A couple of key ones we look for are:

  • Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS): A processing standard for organic fibers that tracks the entire supply chain with environmental and social criteria.
  • Global Recycled Standard (GRS): A voluntary product standard for tracking and verifying the content of recycled materials in a final product. This is especially prevalent for brands using recycled plastic bottles.

Energy: We look for brands using renewable energy and/or engaging with their supply chain partners to support decarbonization of their facilities and manufacturing processes.

Slow or Circular Business Models

Our fashion brand top picks fundamentally shift from fast fashion towards slow fashion and circularity. Evidence of slow or circular business models include:

  • Offering take back and/or recycling programs for their products.
  • Recycling or upcycling fabric scraps, rather than letting them go to waste.
  • Focusing on timeless pieces and infrequent collection releases instead of pushing trends.
  • Engaging in made-to-order or batch manufacturing.

Community and Environmental Efforts

Although we prioritize carbon-related criteria in our rankings, there are other important factors that determine how a brand treats people and the planet. Some of these include:

  • Labor and ethics: Fair Trade certifications and a comprehensive Supplier Code of Conduct (audit for factors like a living wage and safe working conditions)
  • Packaging and waste: plastic-free, FSC-certified packaging that is recyclable and recycled
  • Other community and environmental efforts: This can include donation programs with nonprofit partners, projects that uplift communities near their supply chain partners, and more.

Commons’ Brand Ratings

  • Best: Best brands are measuring, reporting, and actively reducing their emissions. They don’t have to be perfect, but they must have evidence of progress and of tailored strategies to continually improve their footprint.
  • Better: Brands must meet more than one of our climate-related criteria. For example, a brand may not be measuring its footprint, but they are making earnest efforts to address the common drivers of emissions for clothing companies.
  • Good: Brands must meet at least one of our climate-related criteria.
  • Avoid: Brands that meet none of our climate-related criteria.

Brands to Avoid

The business model of fast-fashion brands relies on overconsumption, unethical labor, and fossil-fuel-based fabrics. We recommend avoiding these brands when buying jeans or other clothing:

  • Shein
  • H&M
  • Zara
  • Forever 21
  • Uniqlo
  • Mango
  • ASOS
  • Temu
  • Amazon and Amazon Basics
  • Abercrombie & Fitch

For a more expansive list of fast fashion brands, check here.

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