Friday, November 13, 2009

Sources of Ethical Denim


Earlier this week I wrote about my obsession with a certain Japanese apron / dress and my intention to make it in "organic denim".

Little did I know how complicated a sourcing task I had set myself!

Recently (very recently) I bought my first-ever pair of organic denim jeans. They were expensive, but I decided that since my jeans last me several years and are worn every evening and weekend, it was a worthwhile expense - both ethically and in terms of "cost per wear". I love my new jeans! (From Howies.) But I digress.
Cotton production is notoriously un-ecological: the quantity of insecticides and pesticides used in farming, the water used in its processing. Quite apart from the exploitation of the workers who harvest the crop / spin the yarn / weave the cloth. Then it has to be flown half-way round the planet to the UK! So I was looking for an alternative: organically-grown, fairly-traded, utterly green denim. But I still wanted it to look like traditional blue-jeans fabric!
Here is what I found:

Soft organic, fairtrade dark blue pure cotton denim from EcoEarthFabrics, 1.2 metres wide, £16.50 per metre. This is my favourite, based on looks and texture!

Organic fairtrade cotton denim stripe from Gossypium, only £8.50 per metre. I don't want stripes, but it looks like good value.

70% bamboo / 30% organic cotton denim fabric, dark blue from Well Cultivated, 1.5 metres wide, £15 per metre Bamboo is very eco-friendly as it grows so fast, but it comes from the other side of the world!

Organic fairtrade cotton denim, in a range of colours (but not dark blue) from Organic Cotton, 1.2 metres wide, £9.95 a metre

Organic cotton panama in dark blue (but it isn't denim) from Greenfibres, £18.70 per metre.

If it didn't have to be blue, I also found some interesting hemp-mix fabrics. Hemp is allegedly the most eco-friendly choice of fabric because it can be grown in the UK:
A 70% Hemp / 30% Tencel fabric in plum from British Made Eco , £14.99 per metre. But this was imported from China, despite the fact that hemp can be grown in the UK.

A totally wild natural mix: 80% Hemp / 20% YAK (!) twill for £29.90 per metre from Greenfibres again. Not many yaks in Aberdeenshire.


I am probably going for the first one in my list, but I hope these links are of use to others!



1 comment:

Abi said...

Thank you for this you have helped me out massively, I was about to embark on looking for organic denim. Best of luck with your venture.

Once again Thanks :)