Denim is one of the world’s most iconic fabrics. The moment you say the words “denim jeans,” everyone around you knows what you’re talking about.
Denim is made of cotton.
Where it grows / Where it is made
Top countries: China - India - USA
Jeans, jackets, shirts, suits, skirts, hats, belts, shoes, aprons, duvets, etc.
Impact on the environment
As a natural fiber, cotton has the potential to be a non-polluting substance. Like all plant crops, however, corners are often cut to produce higher cotton yields with toxic pesticides and fertilizers.
Moreover, some “denim” products contain percentages of polyester, nylon, or other artificial textile materials. All textiles other than natural fabrics were created from petrochemicals or similarly artificial substances, and these materials release incredibly dangerous toxins into the environment. These toxins are often genotoxic or hormone disruptors, which causes multi-generation genetic damage similar to the mutations observed after exposure to nuclear radiation.
Once the raw materials for denim reach the factory, they may be washed, treated, or exposed to any manner of chemical agents. During this process, human workers may be exposed to airborne or transdermal toxins, and the general rule for overseas labor is that human beings are treated as slaves by major manufacturing corporations to increase profits.
More sustainable alternatives
100% organic denim.
End of life possibilities
Denim can be recycled and even upcycled to make new items.
Like cotton, denim production can have serious social and environmental consequences. However, there are sustainable denim brands, both big and small, who are committed to people and the planet. The best way to reduce the footprint of your denim purchase is to look for jeans made from certified organic cotton. Most brands will proudly promote this on their websites and tags. Denim is sometimes made of a blend of cotton and other materials such as elastane.
Try to go for 100% organic cotton denim.