Denim and sustainability aren’t usually words you find in the same sentence. The industry is known for its laborious methods, unsafe handling of chemicals, dyes and processes like sandblasting, and unethical production as far back in the supply chain as cotton farming. But Australian brands are looking to change that. In fact, these brands are truly turning the model on its head, opting for ethical production throughout the supply chain, water-saving processes and of course safe manufacturing processes.

Looking for Australian made denim and jeans? Check out this list. 

1. Nobody Denim

Nobody Denim

Nobody Denim is a legacy fashion brand in Australia and has been manufacturing onshore since 2010. The brand is committed to local and ethical production. While Nobody Denim has long been associated with ethical production, the brand has taken its commitment to sustainability further, making environmental responsibility core to its operations and setting serious goals to reduce its emissions. In 2019, the brand stated it had already reduced its water use by half since 2017, and the brand is making efforts to reduce energy use and waste produced. Nobody Denim says it aims to pay living wages throughout its entire supply chain by 2025.

2. Neuw Denim

neuw denim

Sydney-based brand Neuw is producing its denim with the environment in mind. The brand has released a line of denim that boasts zero water wastage, zero chemical distressing and zero washing waste as it moves towards a circular fashion model.  Neuw opts for Australian-grown cotton in its denim, which is great because Australian cotton is some of the most water-use efficient cotton in the world and has yields three times the world average. Neuw Denim works with a small selection of factories is actively mapping its supply chain to gain further visibility of its production. Shop for all your men’s and women’s denim essentials.

3. Outland Denim (also in header)

Outland Denim

If every purchase has an impact, this purchase packs a punch. Outland Denim founder James Bartle started a denim brand with manufacturing in Cambodia in an effort to create opportunities for women who have been impacted or were at risk of being involved in sex trafficking. Outland Denim produces its garments in Cambodia where workers are paid a living wage – almost unheard of in the fashion industry – and taught skills not only to do their job but to thrive in society. Bartle says they plan to pay living wages throughout their entire supply chain and are committed to reduce energy, water and waste throughout production.

4. Tri Colour Federation

Tri Colour Federation denim

Melbourne-based label Tri Colour Federation produces a range of high quality denim products with a focus on bespoke and timeless design. The brand partners with a denim manufacturer based in Turkey that works to create denim with minimal environmental impact. To do so, the denim blends are made from a range of certified organic cotton, recycled PET and elastane, and the factory actively manages and reduces its use of water, chemical and energy to reduce environmental impact. The Tri Colour Federation pieces are all made in Australia.

5. Denimsmith

Denimsmith

Denimsmith launched in 2015 as a “collaborative vision of veteran Australian designers and makers who are committed to the ethical production of high quality denim clothing.” With over two decades of denim expertise enriching every piece, Denimsmith says it takes locally-made to a whole new level and is proudly accredited by Ethical Clothing Australia. Each Denimsmith item comes directly from their Melbourne makers’ skilled hands and hearts. The brand boasts a classic collection of jeans, jackets, shorts, skirts and other apparel for men and women  made from quality materials.

6. Embody Women

Embody Denim models

Embody jeans are ethically made in Melbourne with a focus on inclusivity in shape and size. To reduce the brand’s environmental impact and avoid unethical processes, each Embody Denim garment is washed in an industrial family-run laundry and dye house in Sydney that complies with Australian rules and regulations when disposing of chemicals. The best part? The Embody jeans are available in an inclusive size range from 8-22.

7. Bassike

Staples and basics brand Bassike also produces some pretty sweet and sustainable denim products. On its website the brand says that sustainability for them means treating people and the planet with respect, lightening their environmental impact and constantly evaluating how they do that. Longevity is also a core consideration for Bassike, as it should be for all brands which is something that influences everything from the design stage in their business. They aim to produce all their collections with intention, integrity and longevity in mind. As a bonus, over 90% of Bassike’s products are ethically made in Australia which ensures a high level of supply chain transparency while supporting and helping to preserve the fashion industry in this country.

8. The Ark Clothing Co

For more than 25 years, The Ark Clothing Co. has been designed and made in Melbourne by a community of like-minded people who believe design should always be imbued with integrity. Proudly Australian owned with an incredibly passionate and talented team of over 70 staff, The Ark has 8 stores and makes small runs of its beautiful basics designs locally and ethically in Australia, certified by Ethical Clothing Australia. The brand’s denim range includes jeans and jackets in classic colourways and cuts.

Read next: 10 Ethical and sustainable brands to shop on The Iconic