JUST Approved, keeping you informed

Project Just, a website that empowers consumers with information on how their clothes are made, just released its first Just Approved guide. For this debut list, Just did a deep dive into the world of denim, and came up with four brands, plus one honorable mention, that are doing everything right to create jeans that are non-toxic, in safe conditions, using less water, by people paid a fair wage, among other feel-good things.

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Related Article: The cost of those jeans you need to have

Let’s start with those chemicals. Kings of Indigo (starting at $110) uses natural indigo dyes, the plant-based dye traditionally used to color denim. Patagonia employs a new, non-toxic dyeing process which uses even less water and CO2, without natural indigo. (I know you weren’t expecting Patagonia to be into denim, but it makes surprisingly attractive, super stretchy, bordering-on-athleisure jeans for $100.) Levi’s, which got a nod from Just for its innovations, was one of the first apparel companies to establish a “restricted substances” list, which bans dangerous chemicals from its products (and production), plus commit to getting to zero discharge of hazardous chemicals by 2020.

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When it comes to getting that vintage look without using sandblasting, the answer lies in lasers, which Kings of Indigo uses, or the new technique called “ozone processing,” which the unisex line Nudie Jeans uses to get that light wash.

If you’re concerned about water, dip into Levi’s Water>Less line, which uses as little as 1.5 liters of water to get the worn-in look, as opposed to 42 liters for a normal pair of jeans. Kings of Indigo and Patagonia also use water-reduction techniques. And according to a carbon footprint study, compared to an average pair, MUD jeans uses 78% less water and 61% less CO2 to produce. Those retail for $110 as well.

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As for avoiding pesticides and chemical fertilizer, the best way to do that is to buy jeans made with organic cotton. Patagonia and Nudie both use 100% organic cotton. Kings of Indigo uses Global Organic Textile Standard-certified (GOTS) organic cotton in 90% of its materials. GOTS is the leading third-party certification system for organic cotton, and is a great indicator that you’re getting something sustainable. MUD uses cotton that is either organic or through Better Cotton Initiative, a rapidly expanding nonprofit that trains farmers to reduce their use of pesticides and water. It’s not as good as organic, but it is, better than regular cotton.

And now to the biggest problem: Worker safety. Kings of Indigo can trace its supply chain, shows a full list and map of suppliers and pays some workers a living wage. It also publishes its report by Fair Wear, an independent, non-profit organization that works with companies and factories to improve labor conditions for garment workers.

MUD Jeans is a certified B-Corp, which means it’s written into the brand’s bylaws that it cares as much about the environment and people as it does about profits. It shares its first- and second-tier suppliers’ names and countries, as well as the results of an audit on one facility by Fair Wear. Nudie is intimately acquainted with its entire supply chain — 69% of Nudie jeans are made in Italy, and the brand is implementing a living wage at its Indian manufacturer. Patagonia is Fair Trade certified for its sewing production; it knows all of its first-tier suppliers, many second, and is working hard on mapping its entire supply chain.

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I believe we need more of these websites, after all I want to know how all my clothing is being made, from my jeans to the bra that’s under my shirt. I want to know for sure that, that company that says they’re ethical is actually ethical, after all I could make my own business and say my clothing is ethical but is it really? It’s nice to know if I went to go buy a pair of Patagonia jeans that I know exactly how there made, I bet majority of us don’t know what are jean’s are made of. Lately it’s been all about how my clothes are made, but don’t you ever wonder what the process of making those jeans is? Are my jeans plant based dyed or what was used to make my jeans that color? Same can go for shirts, bra’s, pants, and pretty much anything else you wear on your body. Along with asking who made my clothes, let’s find out exactly how those jeans or any other piece of article of clothing was made.

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