Who doesn't adore a great pair of jeans? They work just as easily digging up weeds in the backyard as they do dressed up on a Saturday night. Even more important-they're comfortable. So when I discovered it was possible to buy organic denim, I couldn't wait to start exploring all of the options. After all, the plants cultivated to make denim (usually cotton) can be loaded with just as much pesticides as the lettuce and carrots in your local supermarket. Which means, although they may make your thighs look amazing, conventional jeans can be harmful to the environment. I was surprised at the number of choices I actually have when it comes to organic denim (and not just with brands, but with style as well). From small boutique brands to a denim legend, it seems everyone is getting into an organic state of mind. Here are my favorites.
Since I usually lean toward brands that are a bit on the independent, slightly unknown side, I was shocked to discover that my favorite pair of organic jeans are actually from one of the biggest brands around-Levi's. In 2006 they launched Levi's Eco made with 100% organic cotton, recycled buttons and zippers and natural dyes. I totally love the boot cut jeans-they're super flattering, super soft and quite affordable. And new for spring is a selection trend-of-the-moment skinny jeans in sunny shades of lavender and yellow. So it's possible to be completely fashion forward and environmentally aware. Fair Indigo also makes a selection of inexpensive organic jeans. The brand is a firm believer in fair trade practices. In fact, that's the entire reason the brand was started. Fair Indigo searches the globe to find worker-owned cooperatives to ensure fair wages, visits every factory to make sure their standards are being met and consults with TransFair USA, an independent certifier of fair trade goods.
If you haven't heard of the brand Edun, you've surely heard of one of it's two founders. Co-created by U2 front man and activist Bono, Edun is a socially conscious fashion line for men, women and kids that supports developing communities. Embraced and worn by celebrities ranging from Jack Johnson to Ben Affleck, Edun helps create long-term sustainable employment in many developing areas, including sub-Saharan Africa. The edgy collection is on the pricy side and also includes dresses, t-shirts and sweaters. Other expensive, but equally stunning options for organic jeans include Loomstate and Linda Loudermilk.
Of course, denim doesn't just mean pants. Del Forte, another 'eco-luxury' brand makes a wonderful dark denim skirt with custom buttons on the side that give it a little bit of sailor flair. And Undesigned by Carol Young creates modern, unusual styles-including a futuristic-looking denim vest made from organic bamboo. So whether you're on a budget or want to splurge, organic denim is definitely making strides. And there are plenty of options to fit everyone's individual style.