Our editors curate highly rated brands that are first assessed by our rigorous ratings system. Buying through our links may earn us a commission—supporting the work we do. Learn more.
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 is 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 far 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 2021 Fashion Transparency Index, and there is still no evidence it ensures payment of a living wage in its supply chain.
So, to help you avoid the pitfalls of falling for the classic 501 style, we’ve created a special list of our nine favourite swaps. First up, we’ve got MUD Jeans (Netherlands), serving subtly feminine and chic classic jeans in a cool stone colour. Also a must-see is Boyish’s (US) custom jeans. Finally, before logging off, check out Nobody Denim’s (AU) gorgeous swap that will be a timeless closet staple.
With that, happy browsing.