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Cleaner Jeans

The big players and bright young things making a change in the denim world
By: Harriet de Vere

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By: Harriet de Vere
Cleaner Jeans

Cleaner Jeans

The big players and bright young things making a change in the denim world

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Finding the perfect denim label is the holy grail for any fashion fanatic. Here, Liberty digs deep into our favourite jeans brands’ ideologies, highlighting those leading by example and uncovering the do-better attitude that has taken over the denim industry. From EDWIN’s use of recycled materials to Citizens of Humanity's technological approach, all you need to worry about now is the fit.

Acne Studios

Having cemented its reputation by giving away 100 pairs of raw denim jeans in the mid-‘90s, Acne Studios has always marched to the beat of its own drum. By designing collections of highest-quality, collectible denim that avoids fast fashion trends, Acne Studios ensures its pieces have longevity. In 2018, under its Blå Konst capsule collection concept, the brand began constructing garments from leftover jeans. All Acne Studios’ denim is finished at wash houses in Italy where the brand is test running a low-impact strategy, implementing measurable targets to reduce the environmental effect of denim washing.

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Citizens of Humanity

A fully vertically integrated company, Citizen of Humanity has complete control of every stage of its production process. This allows the brand to be transparent about each stage of manufacturing and give consumers a brand story - what is behind the manufacturing, the craftsmanship, how each piece is made, and how to look after them in a more sustainable manner to ensure durability. The cult label’s thoughtful approach means minimising denim waste and water consumption at its LA factory through the use of laser technology, high-efficiency washers and a unique ozone process that consumes 90% less water.

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EDWIN is upping its game when it comes to sustainability. Every pair of EDWIN jeans is made at Vietnam factory, SAITEX. Known as the world’s cleanest denim factory, SAITEX is a zero-waste facility, recycling 98% of the water it uses (2% is evaporated) and aiming to be carbon-neutral by 2023. All EDWIN jeans now have recycled labels, zipper tape, pocketing and sewing thread. The brand’s shopping bags are crafted from recycled polyester and its postal envelopes are plant-based and compostable.



In 2019, LA-based label FRAME launched its Sustainable Denim collection, making use of innvovative recycled cottons and cloths made from plastic bottles to craft some of its most sought-after silhouettes. The introduction of high-efficiency lasers reduces the brand’s water consumption and eliminates the use of toxic chemicals from its processes. Many of FRAME’s ready-to-wear pieces are crafted using organic cotton or cashmere threads taken from recycled garments.


Levi's Made & Crafted

The biggest denim manufacturer in the world, Levi Strauss & Co has to lead by example. Incorporating innovative fabrics – such as Tencel, a fibre derived from woodpulp, and hemp - into its most iconic styles, the world’s most recognisable jeans brand is putting its money where its mouth is when it comes to sustainability. Levi’s Water<Less initiative has been running since 2011. Dedicated to finding alternatives to washing denim in water with fabric softener, the brand now tumble dries with plastic waste products, such as bottle caps and golf balls, to soften its denim.

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Nudie Jeans

Nudie’s vision is to become the most sustainable denim company in the world. The brand has made strides to do so; mapping emissions from its supply chain in accordance with the Greenhouse Gas Protocol, encouraging customers to bring jeans in for repair and launching its first recycled collection, Re-Birth. Nudie’s Sustainability Team has won multiple awards for these original approaches and the label has been a member of the Fair Wear Foundation for over a decade.

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In 2014, LA-based label PAIGE switched to a new process to fade its jeans. Using laser technology, the brand could achieve the same beloved, worn-in finish to its denim, but using less water and polluting chemicals. The brand takes a ‘no excuse’ attitude to sustainable innovations, having launched an Eco-Evolution line which pushes to reduce its environmental impact, water wastage and carbon footprint.


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