Eco-Friendly & Fair Trade Denim

We live our lives in denim. A good pair blends fashion and function to capture a chapter of our lives in a way that not much else can. That's why when we went on a search for ethical denim brands, we looked for brands that are bringing ethics and quality together to revolt against the trends of fast fashion and irresponsible production.

These denim brands are pushing the limits of eco-friendly manufacturing, they're asking tough questions about their supply chains and building products that last. If you’re on the search for your new favorite denim brand, you might also want to check out The Best Denim Brands Made In The USA.


Ethics | Fair labor, women's empowerment, B Corp
Location | Nashville, TN
Where to Buy | Online & in Nashville store
Design | Women’s
Starting At | $128

ABLE's new vintage-inspired & distressed handcrafted denim collection is the perfect addition to the casual-chic wardrobe. With high-rise and slouchy styles alongside the classic skinny jean, there's a fun, edgy pair for every woman. If you don't get the right size the first time, ABLE also offers unlimited free exchanges until you find the perfect pair. This certified B Corp is dedicated to creating long-term economic impact by employing female artisans around the world.


2. G-Star RAW

Ethics | Organic and recycled, fair wages, give back
Location | Amsterdam, Netherlands
Where to Buy | Online
Design | Women’s & men’s
Starting At | $130

G-Star denim is anything but traditional. They bring luxury and irreverence together to make pieces that will stand out on the street. Their design credibility has earned the brand collaborations with celebs like Afrojack and Liv Tyler but it’s their relentless commitment to ethics that puts them on this list. G-Star uses organic and recycled cotton along with recycled water bottles and Tencel® in order to minimize their impact on the planet. They back this up by publishing the names and locations of each of their manufacturing partners. G-Star also launched the GSRD Foundation in 2007 to support education and entrepreneurship in communities where their products are made.

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3. DL1961

Ethics | Eco-friendly fabrication and materials
Location | New York, NY
Where to Buy | Online and in store internationally
Design | Women’s & men’s
Starting At | $128

DL1961 has brought national attention to ethical denim through their collaboration with Honest Company co-founder Jessica Alba. The brand uses innovative eco-friendly fibers in their line of men’s and women’s denim and has reduced water, dye and energy use by 50%. Their pieces incorporate TENCEL® & ProModal® to increase the durability and sustainability. DL1961 has an undeniable pulse on chic denim fashion and their designs are bringing ethical innovation into the spotlight. For that, they get two thumbs up from our team at The Good Trade.

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4. Bluer Denim

Ethics | Made in USA, fair labor, give back
Location | Portland, OR
Where to Buy | Online
Design | Women’s & men’s
Starting At | $95

Bluer Denim is Designed in Portland using cotton grown in Georgia. Their denim is milled in North Carolina, rivets and zippers forged in Kentucky, and final products are cut, sewn, washed and hand-finished in Los Angeles using eco-friendly ozone laundry processes. All of this makes Bluer a standout option for quality 100% American-made denim. What really gets our attention is their innovative 1 for 1 give back model. For every pair of jeans you purchase, Bluer will buy back your used pair for $5, refurbish them and deliver them to someone who really needs them. We love this simple model of waste reduction and community care.

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5. M.i.h. Jeans

Ethics | Minimal water waste, produced in the EU, eco-conscious
Location | London
Where to Buy | Online
Design | Women’s
Starting At | £160

M.i.h. Jeans are dubbed "The London Girl's Denim Brand," and their wide range of styles show it. From their skinny and straight-leg silhouettes to their bold, retro 1970's style denim, these jeans offer a unique style to fit any personality. M.i.h. directly source their fabrics, and work to reduce their carbon footprint and minimize water waste during all stages of their production. Plus, their denim is crafted in mills that adhere to the standards of the Better Cotton Initiative, meaning it's better for both people and planet.

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6. Mott & Bow

Ethics | In-house fair wage production, sustainably-sourced quality denim
Location |  New York, NY
Where to Buy | Online
Design | Women's & men's
Starting At | $96

Sourcing quality cotton denim from the world's finest denim mills, like Orta in Turkey, Mott & Bow is making high-caliber denim at a fair price. By keeping production within their organization—at a longstanding family-run fair wage factory in Honduras—Mott & Bow can sell directly to consumers without all the retail markups. They also offer a free home try-on service that ensures you get the perfect fit. Read more about what makes them a unique, premium denim brand on their website.

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7. Patagonia

Ethics | Fair Trade Certified collections, organic cotton, environmental sustainability
Location | USA
Where to Buy | Online
Design | Women’s & men’s
Starting At | $99

With their love for the outdoors, it’s no wonder that Patagonia is concerned about the environmental impact of their jeans. In 2015, they launched a campaign about how “Denim is a Filthy Business” (see the video here). Their line of men’s jeans is made out of organic cotton, which cuts out harmful pesticide and GMOs. They’ve also adopted the Archroma Advanced Denim dyeing process, which is a liquid sulfur dye said to use 84% less water, 30% less energy, and 25% less CO2 than conventional jeans. And their Footprint Chronicles detail through both video and storytelling who makes their clothes, how they design them, and the organizations with whom they partner. 

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8. Everlane

Ethics | Ethical production process, radical transparency
Location | USA
Where to Buy | Online
Design | Women’s
Starting At | $99

Everlane, one of our favorite ethical and transparent brands, launched their denim line earlier this year. They believe customers have the right to know what their products cost to make and where they were made, and outline these details on every product page so you can be an informed customer. Their ultra-comfortable Japanese denim comes in high rise and mid rise skinny, and classic boyfriend cuts that are fashionable, flattering, and will last for years to come.

Shop Everlane Denim

9. MUD Jeans

Ethics | Fair trade, B Corp, recycled products
Location | Utrecht, Holland
Where to Buy | Online
Design | Women’s & men’s
Starting At | €98 or lease from €7,50 per month

Fashion is the 2nd most polluting industry in the world. In 2013 MUD Jeans launched with an idea that takes this issue head on. MUD Jeans are building on an innovative concept where jeans are leased instead of purchased. The customer pays a monthly membership for a pair of denim that is intended to last one year. At the end of that period, the consumer can choose to keep their jeans for another 4 months or return them in trade for a new pair. The model allows MUD to fully recycle the material and give it new life in another pair of denim. It's a bold new concept that fits brilliantly in our growing shared and ethics driven economy.

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10. Imogene + Willie

Ethics | Made in USA, repair services
Location | Nashville, TN
Where to Buy | Online, in Nashville & Portland stores
Design | Women’s & men’s
Starting At | $195

Imogene + Willie was born in the back of a Nashville gas station with a distinct brand of craftsman grit. After spending years in a family denim business, Matt and Carrie Eddmenson created the shop in hopes that it would one day become a destination for like minded seekers of quality American-made apparel. Today the American-made brand hasn’t lost a bit of its stubborn passion and now has an army of followers that swear by the quality and aesthetic of the brand. I+W stands out for it’s personal approach to denim and for never losing sight of the little things. You can visit their store in Nashville or Portland or browse their selection online.

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11. Buck Mason

Ethics | Made in USA
Location | Los Angeles, United States
Where to Buy | Online, in Los Angeles stores
Design | Men’s
Starting At | $135

Buck Mason was founded by Erik Schnakenberg and Sasha Koehn with the ideals of American-made quality at its heart. Their selvage denim is sourced from mills in North Carolina and their style ignores fashion trends while doubling down on timeless design and durability. What we love about Buck Mason’s designs is the simplicity. Their denim is made on a shuttle loom which gives the denim a weight and durability that sets it apart. After the raw materials are created the product is constructed in LA where the details are set in order. Buck Mason’s quality sourcing and manufacturing are all standout and for that they get our vote as one of the best American-made denim choices on the market.

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12. Kuyichi

Ethics | Fair trade, organic, eco-friendly
Location | Amsterdam, Netherlands
Where to Buy | Online
Design | Women’s & men’s
Starting At | €110

Kuyichi introduced the first pair of organic denim onto the market in 2001 and they’ve been leading the industry in ethics and transparency ever since. Kuyichi works directly with farmers who supply their organic cotton, and even encourage them to become shareholders in the company. In addition to their organic cotton, Kuyichi uses sustainable materials like recycled cotton and polyester from discarded water bottles. The brand was founded on the idea that socially responsible work conditions and environmental considerations aren't just trends, but a way of the future. They’ve been doubling down on that belief ever since.

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13. Nudie Jeans

Ethics | Organic, fair trade, recycle program
Location | Göteborg, Sweden
Where to Buy | Online, retail globally
Design | Women’s & men’s
Starting At | $185

Nudie Jeans doesn't widely advertise their fair trade and organic practices but they've quietly become a leader in ethical fashion. Their denim is about as cool as it gets and they match their modern look with modern ethics. They report the origination and the organic contents of every pair of denim they sell. Nudie also doubles down on the principles of quality over quantity by making durable and lasting denim that means less waste and more value in the long run.

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14. Monkee Genes

Ethics | Organic, made in England
Location | Derbyshire, UK
Where to Buy | Online
Design | Women’s & men’s
Starting At | £60

Monkee Genes has set their brand apart by taking issues of fair trade and child labor head on. They’ve rallied their customers around the mantra No Blood, No Sweat, No Tears and every pair of their denim is sold with a tag that reads, "Everyone involved in the garment has been paid a decent living wage." This unabashed commitment to ethics is paired with a renegade style that brings a range of colors styles and fabrics to their denim palette. When you shop Monkee Genes, get ready for a reboot on convention.

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15. AG Jeans

Ethics | Ozone technology, sustainable fibers, gives back
Location | Amsterdam, Netherlands
Where to Buy | Online
Design | Women’s & men’s
Starting At | $178

AG Jeans was launched in 2000 as a brand for the denim-obsessed and while they’ve since expanded to create a full lifestyle line, they’ve never forgotten their denim roots. Their line offers a solid range of fits and wears for both men and women and is one of the most comprehensive ethical collections we’ve found. AG makes all of their denim in vertically integrated facilities which gives them the ability to control their impact on people and planet. Their production utilizes sustainable fibers including Tencel® and Modal® and they’ve decreased their water consumption by 50 percent using Ozone Technology.

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16. SOURCE Denim

Ethics |  Made in the USA, sustainable practices
Location | USA
Where to Buy | Online
Design | Men’s
Starting At | $140

The SOURCE 1501 is a light, comfortable raw denim jean that is classy enough to be worn in the office, and rugged enough to be worn while adventuring. SOURCE Denim was created with the mission to eliminate the harmful chemicals used in the denim dyeing process, and has replaced chemical agents with a natural, biodegradable material made from…crab shells! This material, a byproduct of food processing, allows the cotton to be woven and dyed with 50% less chemicals, 60% less water, and 40% less energy than conventional denim. The cotton in SOURCE comes from the Better Cotton Initiative in Africa, which promotes improved agriculture livelihoods for cotton farmers. SOURCE Denim also offers free repairs and gives 1% of its net sales to river conservation and climate change organizations. 

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