Back in 2017 I started my search for clothing made with sustainable materials, sustainable production methods, no child or unfair labour, and no mistreatment of animals. While it hasn’t been that difficult to find brands online that tick all of these boxes, it is hard to find brands that I can afford (without using my savings!). I am happy to pay a bit more for ethical brands as this is part of the deal, but as many of the brands have a very small production the prices can be too high for most consumers.
I certainly don’t have a fully ethical wardrobe of clothing but I have completely ruled out number brands, including Primark and H&M, I also buy much less than I used to, and I buy pieces of better quality that will last longer. One area I have completely changed is jeans – I searched high and low online until I found two brands that ticked all of the boxes were were affordable.
If you are wondering why we should care about jean production, here are some reasons:
- Water Footprints: If we continue as we are today, 47% of the world’s population will face severe water shortages by 2030, according to the Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development – this will include areas such as London and California. On average it takes 7,600 litres of water to make one pair of jeans. Finding a brand that reduces water usage, or simply buying less pairs, will lower your personal water footprint.
- Ethical Labour Conditions: Fast fashion is a major international issue that is affecting the working conditions of hundreds of thousands of employees of the clothing factories. For example, In 2013 the eight story Rana Plaza building in Bangladesh collapsed due to poor conditions, killing 1,134 people and injuring thousands more. The plaza contained factories for many international clothing brands. Knowing where your clothes are made and who made them can make a big difference.
- Non-Toxic Materials: The vast majority of denim is made from cotton, which is normally treated with chemicals such as pesticides, fertilizers, dyes and has been genetically modified, in order to produce large quantities fast. The use of GM mass cotton negatively effects the environment while being grown, but it also affects the workers, producers and the water system during washing. It is also known to have cause serious diseases such as cancer in the residents living nearby the cotton plantations. Reducing toxins and using organic cotton in clothing can therefore has a positive impact on many areas.
I have greatly cut back how many pairs of jeans I own – I now have 3 pairs in total – 1 in light blue, 1 in dark blue, 1 in black. They all fit well, are very comfortable, and versatile, what more do I need?!
How do you find a brand that has affordable ethical genes? It is hard but I found it with the UK brand Monkee Genes!
Monkee Genes philosophy is based around:
“No slave labour, no child labour, no blood, no sweat, no tears.”
2 of my 3 pairs of jeans are from Monkee – the skinny black and the skinny dark blue (Eco Wash). All of there range is super flexible, hence the name, even including the skinny range. I am usually a UK size 10 in trousers, 5’9″ in height, and I wear a size W28, L30 (R). Check our their Eco Wash range to find a pair for £50.
Armed Angels states:
“For us, organic is not a trend but a conviction. To assume responsibility for our environment is not an option but an obligation. This is why we opt for renewable resources and recycled materials.”
My other pair are from Armed Angels, a German brand which thinks ecological and ethically from the materials to the packaging of the orders. I wear a size 28 long (I have to turn the ends up a bit). They cost around £90-£100 and have lasted really well over the past year I have owned them. I get a lot of complements about these ones!
Remember that jeans will last a long time, so why not feel good putting them on everyday, both because you look good and know you are doing good!