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How to Find Ethically Sourced, Fair-Trade Jeans

Looking for ethical jeans? In a crowded retail and online marketplace, it can sometimes be difficult to distinguish companies that care about the planet and about the conditions of their supply chain from companies that only care about making a quick dollar. As experts in ethical denim, we know the hallmarks of sustainably produced, fair-trade garments. Once you know what to look for in a jeans manufacturer, making the right choices will be easy. Read on to discover the best tips for finding premium denim manufacturers with a conscience on the Xabi Jeans blog.

Jean Machine

Why You Should Consider Ethical Jeans

There are several reasons why you should care about how your denim is produced. The fashion industry is notorious for pollution, producing high amounts of chemical byproducts and waste in the effort to create fast fashion that keeps up with the trends. If you care about the planet, one of the best ways to reduce your carbon footprint and maintain a greener earth is to think about how the products you buy are made -- and the clothing you put on your body should be no exception.

Ethical denim doesn’t just refer to denim that has been created with the planet in mind. It also means that you’re looking for jeans that have been produced in a way that is socially responsible and respectful of human rights. With so much of the fashion industry’s production happening overseas, vulnerable populations are often exploited to take advantage of fast, cheap labor. While cheap, quickly-made garments might seem appealing at first glance, it’s crucial to consider the real human cost of that discount pair of skinny jeans.

Factory Smoke
Hand Sewn Denim

Want Ethical Denim? Focus on Sustainable Materials

One way to find ethical jeans is to look for companies that can tell you where and how they get their fabric. Seek out companies that rely exclusively on sustainably- and ethically-sourced fair-trade materials from countries known for their high-quality denim like the United States, Italy, and Japan. This is a sign that their raw materials have been procured responsibly with respect to the artisans who made the materials and to the environment. It’s also a good idea to avoid companies that rely heavily on synthetic materials (rather than natural fibers like cotton.) Not only are their products of poorer quality, but synthetic fabrics also wreak havoc on our environment because their production has a large carbon footprint and can release chemical byproducts into waterways and other natural areas.

Ethical Jeans Manufacturers Are Transparent About Their Process

When it comes to ethical jeans, chances are that the slower the production process, the more sustainable the final product. Jeans that are made by hand rather than by machines are a responsible choice when it comes to labor and the environment because they support the working-class artisans who helped make this industry great. As a bonus, you’ll also notice an appreciable difference in quality! When researching premium denim manufacturers, pay attention to how they talk about their process. If a company isn’t upfront about how they manufacture their jeans, chances are their products aren’t being made as sustainably as possible. When it comes to ethical denim, companies that make a point to express their values and how their production process reflects those values are going to be your best bet.

Your Best Bet? Made in the US

Because so much denim production has moved overseas for the sake of cheap labor and fewer regulations when it comes to the treatment of employees, seek out brands that have made it a point to keep their manufacturing in the United States. Workers in the United States have clear and protected employee rights, so premium denim manufacturers using American labor are incentivized to pay their workers fairly and treat them well. Ethical jeans made in the United States also do more to stimulate the local economy and support the community in which they are produced, making them a win on several fronts.

Find Companies that Give Back

Whether they donate to wildlife refuges or human interest charities, a lot of premium denim manufacturers focused on ethical denim make a point to give back. Some choose to donate a particular portion of their profits to a single cause, while others donate to several charities or start their own. Companies can give back in other ways too. By keeping production local and based in the U.S., ethical jeans manufacturers are creating jobs in their communities and strengthening local industry, all of which are important ways that companies can help make their world a little better. By shopping with brands that are clear about their mission, you’re helping to support what they believe and create a better world.

Three Women In Jeans

Invest in Quality

Another one of the ways that the fashion industry can negatively impact the environment is that so much of today’s clothing is designed to last the span of a trend, meaning it will be worn for a season or two and then discarded. If you find yourself tossing out much of your wardrobe, it’s probably a sign that it’s time for you to rethink your strategy when it comes to shopping for clothes. While it might not be necessary to splurge on incredibly pricey designer goods, you should consider investing in quality pieces that are meant to last. While ethical jeans often come at a higher price point than their mass-produced counterparts, they are also designed and constructed to stand the test of time, meaning you’ll need fewer purchases (and will create less waste) over the years.

Discover Xabi Jeans

Xabi Jeans produces ethically-made jeans for both men and women in our hometown of Los Angeles. All of our jeans are carefully made by hand from artisanal Italian denim, and our passion for our community and our world is evident in every garment we make. Interested in learning more? Shop our selection now, connect with us on Instagram, or feel free to contact us with any questions you have regarding our denim or our values.