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The jeans you and I are wearing right at this moment have a lot to answer for. They probably started off in a factory in China or Bangladesh where the process of making our jean should be held accountable.

Levis did a study of just how much water it took to make 1 pair of Levis 501’s, see below and you’ll start to understand just how much of a strain on main resources such as water, energy and chemicals it takes to make our beloved jeans.

jeans you are wearing

This is the equivalent in lay-mans terms for us to understand the sheer volume of resources it takes to make a pair of jeans…

jeans you are wearing


Every piece of clothing especially jeans we buy comes with a cost and the biggest cost is to the environment and ourselves living in a polluted world.

So whose fault is it, let us start with us as we have fallen into the trap of buying more for less as this is what the big high street retailers are telling us to do. Fast fashion (by one get one free offer) and cheap jeans come from a manufacturing process that is based purely on £$ and profit margins. Nothing else matters, not the dye & chemical pollution of the water used to wash the denim, which gets secretly pumped into the local rivers of the town the factories are located.

This polluted water isn’t only a local problem as it goes into our seas and gets into the food chain. I haven’t even touched on the evil cancers the chemicals are causing for the factory workers and children that live in the area.

To really understand the enormity of what the harsh chemical manufacturing process of the Retail Industry is doing to our planet, please watch this award-winning documentary film RiverBlue. 

Watch the trailer below, then watch the film!

watch the film


You and I have a big part to play in changing the way we buy our clothing especially jeans and here are some ways we can do this.

  • 1: Seek out ethical or sustainable denim brands that practice boutique manufacturing. Make the conscious decision to pay more for your jeans & get transparency on the journey of your jean. – Click here to find out about Sustainable + Ethical Denim Brands.
  • 2: Look for Post-Consumer-Recycled Denim (PCRD) that’s recycled cotton which is regenerated fibres from worn, rejected or discarded garments, we can reduce the need for new/virgin cotton, saving billions of gallons of water. You’ll find this in the contents label of the jean if your buying from an ethical denim brand or ethical collection.
  • 3: Shop for 2nd hand & vintage finds to save on the carbon footprint. Wearing vintage jeans saves an estimated 65% of the water typically used during the lifecycle of a pair of jeans since no new water is necessary to grow cotton. You’ll buy less, shop clever and be unique. If you don’t like shopping in 2nd hand stores then check out these vintages online retailers, Vestiaire Collective,   La DoubleJ, Depop and eBay is one of the biggest pre-loved clothing websites.
  • You don’t have to leave the high street retailers all together as H&M – Conscious Sustainable Style collection uses recycled materials. ASOS Eco Edit, ZARA Join Life Collection
  • Go through your wardrobe and get rid of the clothes you don’t wear, take them to your local charity shop for someone else to love and wear, feel good you are contributing to a better environment.

I have to hold my hands up as my last denim purchase was at a J Brand sale and I bought 3 pairs for under the price of £300/ $350. Although its not fast fashion, did I really need to buy so many?

Researching this post has opened my eyes and I’m definitely going to take more care noticing which textiles are used when buying clothes & beauty products.

Next post, ethical + sustainable denim brands to shop.

Let me know what you think and if youre wearing /buying sustainable denim.

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research: denimalliance.org, River Blue


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