Menswear: Sustainable Denim Brands
Denim comes close to being a man’s best friend when it comes to attire – no matter what the occasion, a good pair of jeans can be worn formal or casual. But making a pair of jeans has a huge impact on the environment. Fortunately there are now several denim brands championing processes of manufacturing and dyeing and use of materials that are sustainable and have low impact on the environment.
Here’s some brands changing the world of denim.
G-Star RAW has been a forward-thinking and innovative brand from day dot, so it’s inevitable that G-Star would collaborate with musician, producer and environmental champion, Pharrell. Now co-owner of G-Star, Pharrell has created a sustainable clothing line, under the RAW for the Oceans label, which transforms plastic bottles, gathered from shorelines across the globe, into darn stylish threads.
The RAW for the Oceans Spring/Summer 2016 collection features everything from Japanese work-wear-inspired overcoats and kimonos, to G-Star’s iconic 3D-constructed Elwood jean made from Bionic Yarn.
Swedish denim label, Nudie Jeans, all made from 100% organic cotton denim, have been producing “a high quality product made in a fair way” since its inception in 2001, at a time when sustainable fashion was on the radar of very few brands.
Look and fit has always been important to the brand, as has taking care of the planet which is why Nudie Jeans is popular among many, not just those who buy for their ethics but trend setters alike.
Nudie Jeans Spring/Summer 2016 collection includes slim-fit jeans in a dry Japan selvedge, a regular fit classic in a light color, and a camouflage bomber jacket.
Nudie Jeans strive for sustainable consumption patterns by recommending customers to not wash their jeans for at least six months, offering a free repair service at their stores (located in London, Sweden, Australia and Japan, among others), reselling second-hand Nudie products, and recycling worn out products.
Hiut Jeans is a Wales-based brand making high-end jeans. A relative newbie on the scene of sustainable denim brands, it was set up in 2011 by the husband and wife team, David and Claire Hieatt, responsible for the ethical fashion brand, Howies, which they have since sold to Timberland.
Made in Cardigan, west Wales, Hiut specialize in raw denim which means it isn’t washed during the manufacturing process. This reduces the amount of potentially poisonous dye running into local rivers.
Hiut started life with five people, including staff from the old Dewhurst factory, once home to the biggest jeans factory in the UK. The husband and wife team have set out to recreate the jeans industry that had provided employment for 400 people in Cardigan.
Hiut, who sell directly from their website, offer a range of styles from slim fit to regular fit made from organic cottons and selvedge. Like Nudie Jeans, the brand recommend not washing jeans for at least six months and also offer “free repairs for life” as part of their sustainability initiatives.
Kings of Indigo
Kings of Indigo (K.O.I) make premium denim jeans, tops and accessories inspired by American classics with Japanese detailing to boot. The Amsterdam-based brand produce their collection from “environmentally preferred fibers” such as recycled or organic cotton, and use innovative and sustainable production methods, such as low impact washes and natural dye techniques, where possible.
From skinny, slim and tapered to regular and straight fits, the choices are wide. Named after former Kings, K.O.I.’s collection – James, John, Charles and Louis – are available in different washes and in broken twill, organic and recycled cotton and selvedge fabrics.
New for K.O.I.’s Spring/Summer 2016 is an indigo patchwork collection including padded jacket and slim-fit shirt, and selvedge jeans in a light blue “n-gine dry” color.
Kuyichi is the brainchild of Dutch NGO Solidaridad, who during the development of fair-trade coffee and fruit, began to produce organic cotton in Peru. In an effort to reach the global market, they launched their own, style-conscious, ethical denim brand and named it Kuyichi, after the Peruvian god of the rainbow.
Nudie’s hipster following may have contributed a more well-known brand across the globe, but similarly Kuyichi has also been waving the banner for sustainability since the early 2000’s.
Although less innovative in product design as some of the other sustainable denim brands, Kuyichi offers denim at reasonable prices and with a wide range of more traditional styles, that is likely to appeal to all ages.
Kuyichi denims come in a wide variety of fits, styles and washes; from super slims, ant-fit workers, classic boot cuts to flares; all finished washed and perfected in European factories to create that hand-finished feel.
A-Zay-Ree is a writer and innovator who loves making things from scratch, no matter how small or big the project. He admires fine craftsmanship and writing about those people who make things with respect for their environment and the planet. Born far from the city, he is a homeboy at heart and loves the great outdoors. As A-Zay-Ree says: “You can take the boy out of Paradise but you can’t take the Paradise out of the boy”. A-Zay-Ree can also be found scribing at Life & Soul Magazine