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Sustainable denim labels you need on your radar

Illustration by Twylamae
Words by Hannah Cole

Make change.

Some food for thought: jeans could be the most sustainable piece of clothing in your wardrobe.

Think about it. They’re wearable throughout the seasons, you can dress them up or down according to the situation, and they’re basically everlasting.

Unlike mini bags and revamped DHL T-shirts, jeans will never go out of style. Why not level up your next denim purchase by choosing from one of the local options below?

These are labels with heart, inspiring sustainable practices and ethical manufacturing.

Outland Denim

Outland Denim, a label based near Brisbane, truly marks a new standard in transparency.

Online, one can read in detail each step of the denim process, from inception to finish. No stones are left unturned, and no aspect is hidden. It’s a brand with people at the centre. After seeing the impact of sex slavery in Asia, the label was born.

In support of the anti-trafficking movement, women are offered rehabilitation and a sustainable career path. Outland’s factory is set up in Cambodia where, alongside learning sewing skills, the staff are also taught English and personal development. It’s about breaking the cycle of exploitation and poverty, creating a future for the affected and setting them up on their own two feet.

As if that isn’t enough to win you over, Outland also profoundly values the earth. The brand has searched for the most sustainable raw material options for each piece of practical denim fodder.

Everything is considered: from the selection of zippers and thread, to the stamping and recycled packaging. I’ve never met a do-gooder I’ve loved more.

outlanddenim.com.au

Denimsmith

Australia’s capital of burgeoning designers and underground creativity has also set the bar for sustainable denim.

Melbourne-based Denimsmith (located in Brunswick East), embraces the vibrancy of local culture and stitches it into something oh-so-wearable.

The premium indigo denim, sourced from Japan, is lovingly transformed by local makers. Each distressed, ripped knee is carefully sanded by hand, adding an individual touch in our mass-produced world. And with such a variety of styles – from cropped to wide-legged; skinny to boyfriend – there’s no doubt we can all find a pair to suit our equally unique bods. Grab a matching jacket while you’re there to give the Canadians a run for their money.

And if you’re on the hunt for a date idea outside of bland dinner and drinks, head to Denimsmith to observe the factory in action. Witness how your favourite piece of clothing came to be.

The brand also offers a free hemming service to those who visit (an absolute godsend for all the short-legged peeps out there). Perfect jeans = found.

denimsmith.com.au

Nobody Denim

Nobody is the child prodigy of local denim, having made its way across the globe.

As arguably our most mature denim offering (founded in 1999) it’s put in the time and effort to get things right.

The status is not without great merit though. The Fitzroy-based brand (hello Melbourne, again) is built on the ideals of transparency and honesty across the business.

Nobody aims to use the best sustainable materials and ensures ethical labour practices. Each denim goodie is manufactured in Australia, protecting local jobs and efficiently adapting to our ever-changing wants and demands.  Nobody is your cool older cousin with the endless wardrobe and generous heart (the one I always wished I had). The brand makes it even easier to wear denim – in double, triple or even quadruple quantities if you like.

All occasions, all bodies, covered.

nobodydenim.com

Looking a little closer to home helps make these already super sustainable staples an even better, responsible buy.

Support the local industry and reject harmful shipping emissions (and those ridiculous costs); saving your wallet and the world, one purchase at a time.

This article was originally published in Fashion Journal Issue 178. You can read it here

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