But it’s not just the amount of water and nonrenewable resources that make textile production so wasteful. On average, $100 billion is lost annually due to deadstock fabrics (fabric leftover in the production process) and nonrecyclable materials. While more companies have recently been using these deadstock fabrics to create face masks for the COVID-19 crisis, this is only a partial solution to the larger problem and does not acknowledge the toll of producing a pair of jeans. Although it is widely acknowledged that many fast-fashion companies notoriously violate workers’ rights, underpay labor, and exacerbate communities’ financial autonomy by using toxins that impact their health and water supply long-term, consumers’ shopping habits are slow to change, thus perpetuating the cycle.
So the question is, How do we break this cycle and begin to repair the damage done? Ahead, you’ll find six sustainable denim brands that are doing just that. Through their production processes and labor practices, these brands are leading the way to change denim’s toll on the environment and humans for the better.