Have you ever watched a documentary that ruined your life in the best possible way? For me, it was The True Cost (available on Netflix), a film that explores the impact of fashion on people and the planet.
After watching it, it was all I could talk about - just ask my coworkers. A completely innocent woman told me she liked my pale pink ruffled Top Shop shirt (that I had bought for $20, by the way) and I broke into a diatribe about how guilty I was feeling about the pre-documentary purchase. I was living in a BTC (Before True Cost) and ATC (After True Cost) world.
Although I've adopted a "quality over quantity" approach to spending over the past several years, I still hadn't kicked my occasional Zara mini-binge. However, I think we all know deep down that $15 dresses and hundreds of new product every Thursday can't be done in a way that's good for the people producing the garments or the environment they're being brought (and then dumped - it is fast fashion, after all) into.
So, after a lot of research and obsessing, I've made a pact to myself to continue wearing anything I already own and do my very best to purchase new items that come with a higher level of thoughtfulness. This could mean anything from purchasing from a sustainable company, to shopping consignment, to buying something new that you plan to own for the rest of your life, depending on your approach.
Change can be scary but, like my good friend Georgia Bennett-Ramseur says, "it's cool to give a shit." I personally love a good pair of mom jeans so denim seems like a natural place to start. Read on as I cover five of my current favorites sustainable retailers.
You may have seen Bella Hadid wearing these jeans but that's not exactly what makes them so cool. RE/DONE sources vintage Levi's - you know, the ones from back in the day that were made really well - takes them apart at the seams and repurposes the fabric for new jeans. The denim is manufactured in Downtown Los Angeles using water conserving methods and no harsh chemicals. They may be pricey, but you also don't have to scour consignment shops for that perfect, lived-in pair. A pair of these are next on my "to buy" list. // shopredone.com
One of the more well-known denim companies in the States, you may already have a pair or two in your closet. This New York City-based company uses ethically sourced cotton and eco-friendly botanical fiber to handcraft denim. Their site claims to use "half the dye, half the water and half the energy it typically takes to produce traditional denim." // dl1961.com
3. Nobody Denim
I've recently discovered some incredible Australian companies (love the chic, minimalistic, and feminine style that's trending there now) and this is for sure one of them. Based out of Melbourne, this brand works closely with the Textile, Clothing and Footwear Union of Australia (TCFUA) to maintain an ethical workplace and is also accredited with Ethical Clothing Australia. // nobodydenim.com
Reformation is, without a doubt, one of my favorite sustainable brands. Not only do I love the cheeky advertising and California-girl vibe of their collection, but also that they're truly pioneering sustainable and ethical practice in the fashion industry (learn more). They recently introduced denim and are, surprisingly, the most affordable option on this list. // thereformation.com
Designed and created in downtown Los Angeles, the Jamie jeans in Brooklyn (pictured above) are crafted from 80% organic cotton and 20% recycled cotton. The Brooklyn, along with the Dakota wash, are part of Agolde's sustainable "Feel Good" collection. // agolde.com
Did I miss any of your favorite sustainable denim companies? Tell me about them in the comments and check out some of my favorite pairs below.