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The Levi’s 501s may be classic and on-trend, but they’re not great for the planet or its inhabitants. Luckily, we’ve got you covered with some sweet swaps.
Take it or leave it, mainstream denim is harmful to people, the planet, and animals. The cotton-based fabric is one of the most used materials in the world but comes from a particularly thirsty crop. On top of extensive water use, the cotton industry tends to favour pesticides and synthetic chemical dyes that can lead to extensive pollution for humans and local ecosystems.
While some brands (like the ones below) are making strides to change this about denim production, others like Levi’s are doing too little. According to our most recent rating, its labour score is “Not Good Enough.” Almost none of its supply chain is certified by labour standards which ensure worker health and safety, living wages, or other labour rights. In fact, it received a score of 41-50% in the 2022 Fashion Transparency Index, and there is still no evidence it ensures payment of a living wage in its supply chain.
While the brand rates “It’s a Start” overall and is making some “Good” progress for the planet, it still has a way to go before it can be called a responsible brand.
So, to help you avoid the pitfalls of falling for the classic 501 style, we’ve created a special list of our eleven favourite swaps. Note that this doesn’t mean you should get rid of your Levi’s jeans. On the contrary, cherish what you already own: as we know, keeping our clothes for longer is one of the most sustainable things we can do. This being said, you should take this new information into account if you’re considering buying something new from Levi’s. If you must have them, consider second hand first.