Honest, Practical, Style Advice

Are your jeans really sustainable?

How to shop for denim with an easy conscience. 








Hiut jeans – see below for 20% discount.


Jeans are probably your best loved staple, the item of clothing you wear most in your wardrobe. However, it’s important that when you buy a new pair you get it right because they are one of the worst polluters – did you know that it takes 7,000 litres of water to produce just one pair (Greenpeace). And making a pair produces roughly the same carbon emissions as driving your car 50 miles.

How many pairs of jeans do you own and how many pairs do you wear regularly? The biggest problem is that we’ve become a nation of over consumers. We are now buying four times more clothes than we did 10 years ago and are wearing them for half the amount of time. This suggests that we are placing less value on them and therefore less on our environment too.

So, before you venture to the shops consider whether your old jeans are repairable? After all you can pay a lot of money for distressed jeans these days. Perhaps dying them is just what is needed to give them a new lease of life? Can your old jeans become your new ‘every day’/at home jeans?

You can also think about extending the life of your jeans by washing them less. We shower every day and wear clean underwear, so how dirty are we really getting them? Ok, if you’re a young Mum with toddlers then those jammy fingers will probably get everywhere but if that’s not you, washing your jeans every 6 weeks is fine. If you feel you want to freshen them up in the meantime, air them outside or even pop them in the freezer overnight to help kill off any bacteria. Washing them at 30 degrees and inside out will further help extend their lifespan.

However, if you do really need a new pair, how do you navigate the plethora of sizes, styles and fits? So, first of all, do your planning and go through your old jeans – what is the best fit for your body shape, which one’s work and which have been consigned to the back of the wardrobe? And think about how you are going to wear them – what footwear do you usually wear? What style of tops do you have most in your wardrobe? These things will make a difference to the style of jean you should be seeking out.

Buy less and buy quality, they will last longer. Buying cheap is usually a false economy. Avoid too much elastane, ideally look for somewhere around 2-4%. Whilst a bit of elastane will give you movement and make them softer, giving a better fit, you don’t want to over-do it because then they will loose their shape too easily and you will end up washing them too often and thus reducing their lifespan.

If you can afford it, buy organic cotton as your jean of choice, it involves less water in the production process and has no artificial pesticides or fertilisers. If not, check out charity or second-hand shops as your first port of call. I’ve got a couple of pairs that way and you’d be surprised what you can find with a little bit of perseverance and determination.

But if you do end up buying new give some consideration to where you shop. There are quite a few high street retailers that are making some inroads to being more sustainable but in my view, many are only at the start of their journey and still have a long way to go. For example, the H&M Group (Cos, &OtherStories, Arket) use some eco friendly materials including recycled cotton. Another retailer is Levis who has a less water initiative and they claim 75% of their cotton comes from sustainable sources. Brands like Hiut Denim Company reduce their impact by only producing small runs and make quality jeans, offering a free repair service and they have offered my readers a 20% discount until the end November – so worth checking them out! Use code ‘CLARKE20’.

However, for the best sustainable denim brands check out https://directory.goodonyou.eco/categories/denim  – they include brands such as Thought, People Tree, Kings of Indigo and Baukjen. The problem here is that you have to rely on online shopping which for jeans can be more hit and miss. So, this reinforces the ‘buy fewer more wisely’ message so that you get it right and you buy to last.

What’s your denim experience? I’d love to know so please share your successes (and failures). And as always, if you need any help or styling advice, then don’t hesitate to get in touch.


For more helpful styling tips why not follow me  https://www.facebook.com/LesleyClarkeStyleAdvisor
or Instagram: lesleyclarkestyleadvisor



© Copyright Lesley Clarke 2017