It was only around five years ago that I learned that conventional cotton cultivation – as opposed to organic – is one of the most destructive crop practices of our time. (It’s even been linked to the drying of Central Asia’s Aral sea.) Ever since, change has been slow, but sure, to come. With the conversation today around better source materials for more sustainably farmed and made fabrics, the luxury market is waking up to new ways of working and consuming that cause minimal harm to our environment.

Initiatives such as Fashion Revolution are spearheading the charge for greater transparency in the supply chain, which is – in turn – having a knock-on effect on the business models of next-gen designers and e-commerce platforms alike. It was hugely encouraging to see Graduate Fashion Week implement an ethical stance this year via its new Considered Design Showcase, meanwhile one-stop eco-friendly marketplace AntiBad presents sustainable style in an easy-to-access, curated retail experience.

The practice of ethical fashion is even filtering into that most ubiquitous of wardrobe basics – denim. And now, I’m spotlighting the three brands that, for me, are contributing to the benchmark for sustainability when it comes to our favourite, hard-wearing material.

M.i.h Jeans’ DNA has long been rooted in responsible sourcing, conscientious work methods and the use of top-notch materials. This season sees the denim dynamo create its most sustainable and lowest-impact jeans range yet, in the form of the four-strong Paradise Collection.

Produced in partnership with IKSO – a pioneering denim mill based in Turkey – the capsule of 2x1 denim with yellow selvedge has been washed with raw indigo using innovative laser technology; this basically means it uses 97.5% less water than conventional methods (not-so-fun fact, a single pair of denim jeans and a shirt can require up to 20,000 litres of water!). The brand has also utilised recycled polyester badges and organic cotton to ensure that no chemicals were used in the farming process, and it endeavours to boast this level of sustainability across 100% of its production by the year 2020.  

A further ally to the cause, G-Star RAW – which, earlier this year, sponsored the V&A’s Fashioned From Nature exhibition – already offers more than 100 sustainable products (and counting), considering the wider social and environmental impacts of its range through every step of the process. This equates to total transparency and a responsible supply chain held up as core components of its design philosophy. Aside from being the perfect balance of elevated and off-duty, its boyfriend jeans are completely recyclable (believe it, or not!), simultaneously closing the production loop and eliminating waste whilst also giving a new lease of life to something that would otherwise languish in landfill. 

Kings of Indigo is also working hard to nab the industry’s top spot for 100% sustainable operations – using natural ‘veggie’ dyes, reducing water, pollution and energy consumption, and practicing a ‘Triple R’ mantra of recycle, repair and re-use. Covet-worthy ‘70s kick flare aside, one such marble-dipped ‘Jane’ iteration isn’t just a pretty face. Using organic cotton that’s treated with organic fertiliser, the pair contributes towards improving soil quality, and so conserves biodiversity… Toxic pesticides, be gone!

I’m sure we’re all guilty of cutting corners here and there, but armed with an arsenal of increasingly eco-friendly brands, there’s really very little excuse not to be your best eco-friendly self from here on in…

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In case you missed it, read Caroline Issa's pick of tailoring.