MY ETHICAL WARDROBE: DENIM

My first step in creating a wardrobe that’s small in size and big in ethics was sharing all of the shorts that I own – all 14 pairs. Thankfully my collection of denim is half the size. In fact, I’m pretty happy with it. I wear jeans a lot, and as you can probably tell from these photos, I have a distinct preferance for one type of cut, which makes me feel confident about my personal style  – I love a good skinny jean!

I own seven pairs of skinny denim jeans and I’m proud to say all but one pair are ethically made. Let’s see them:

Black jeans

Denim 2

Denim 1

All in all, I’m pretty happy with my choices in the denim department. Recording each pair though has been an interesting exercise though, because I realised – and you will see from below – that I bought more than half of this collection (four pairs!) last year. This was more than I needed to buy, and it came about as a result of a post-breakup shopping binge so I’m mindful of the fact I was clearly using shopping as a pick-me-up…


PAIRS 1 – 3

Black jeans

Obviously black skinny jeans are my jam. But seriously, if I could choose only 5 pieces to include in my wardrobe, black skinnies would definitely make the cut. I get A LOT of wear out of these black jeans.

1. Black high waisted

 Are they ethical? Yes. Made in Australia (though, today, I would also be looking to buy organic denim because I’ve learned more about how much water and chemicals are required to make one pair of jeans).

Where & when did I get them? Nobody Denim, 2015.

Where were they made & what from? Made in Australia, 98% cotton, 2% elastane.

What do I like about them? Black skinnies. Enough said.

What don’t I like about them? I bought these to replace pair #2, but they don’t quite fit as well. And obviously I still need to hem them…

Do I wear them? All the time.

Verdict? Keep (and hem).

2. Old black mid-rise

Are they ethical? Yes. Made in Australia (but not organic denim).

Where & when did I get them? Nobody Denim, 2011.

Where were they made & what from? Made in Australia, 98% cotton, 2% elastane.

What do I like about them? These are probably the most worn item I’ve ever owned. I’ve redyed them when they’ve faded to grey from so much wear. And you may be able to see from the photo that the inside seam has worn extremely thin.

What don’t I like about them? Even though these are almost completely worn through on the inner thigh, and I subsequently replaced them with pair #1, I kept them because they just fit so well and feel so good. It suddenly occured to me that I could patch them! And I think I will do this so I have two pairs of black jeans to rotate, and to prolong the life of pair #1.

Do I wear them? I used to wear them all the time – and I’m sure I will again once I have patched them.

Verdict? Patch and keep.

3. Black waxed jeans

Are they ethical? Yes.

Where & when did I get them? Edun, 2013.

Where were they made & what from? Made fairly in Kenya, 85% cotton, 12% resin, 3% elastane.

What do I like about them? The coated effect gives these black jeans a subtle sheen for something a little different. The denim is very soft and obviously I love the ethics.

What don’t I like about them? These were a terrible fit for me, and I was super disappointed about that. They were big around the waist, gaped at the back, baggy around the crutch, and I was contsantly tugging them up, even with a belt. But I perservered! I took them to a tailor and had them taken in around the back. The tailor was sceptical that this would fix the issue and, sure enough it made the zip pull away from its stitching. But I fixed that. AND NOW THEY FIT AMAZINGLY. No more pulling them up.

Do I wear them? Yes.

Verdict? Keep.


PAIR 4

Denim 2

4. Dark blue skinnies

Are they ethical? Yes. Fair Trade Certified Sewing, organic denim.

Where & when did I get them? Patagonia, 2015 (they’re still available here).

Where were they made & what from? Made fairly in Sri Lanka, 98% cotton, 2% spandex.

What do I like about them? These would rival – and possibly beat – my black skinnies for my most worn pair in my wardrobe. I held out sooooo long looking for a a pair of dark blue rinse jeans that fit my ethical credentials. I tried a pair of Monkee Genes (seen in this post) but later gave them away because they were too tight in the calves. :/ My family and friends think it’s kind of hilarious how easily I build muscle in my calves when I’m regularly playing sport or running – but I think it’s a massive pain because it actually rules out a lot of skinny jeans for me. But I digress. These not only fit comfortably in the calves; but they also fit amazingly everywhere else; are made from super soft denim; are a fantastic and even dark blue rinse; and are basically everything I ever wanted in a skinny blue jean. If these ever get too worn I can’t fix or wear them anymore, I will immediately replace them with the same pair – which is the ultimate compliment, I think ;)

Do I wear them? All. The. Time.

Verdict? Keep. Forever and ever.


PAIRS 5 – 7

Denim 1

5. White skinnies

Are they ethical? Yes.

Where & when did I get them? L’Herbe Rouge via A Boy Named Sue shop, 2015.

Where were they made & what from? Made in France, 98% organic cotton, 2% elastane.

What do I like about them? I love the look of white jeans – such a fresh alternative to dark denim and perfect for summer days. This denim is really soft and I like the zip detailing on the pockets and at the ankles. Also, they fit like a glove through the legs.

What don’t I like about them? Sigh. I have the same problem as I did with pair #3 – they fit super weird around the waist, the crotch, and my behind (it must be something about my body type because this appears to be a common problem).

Do I wear them? Because of the weird fit, I didn’t wear these at all for about 10 months after I bought them. I tried them again early this year, and was pleasantly surprised (they aren’t as bad as I remember), but constantly pulling them up is going to get pretty old, pretty fast.

Verdict? Keep, take to the tailor and see if I can get them adjusted around the waist as I did with pair #3 – hopefully these will end up fitting me perfectly.

6. Grey skinnies

Are they ethical? Yes.

Where & when did I get them? L’Herbe Rouge via A Boy Named Sue shop, 2015.

Where were they made & what from? Made in France, organic cotton.

What do I like about them? I quite like the look of these faded grey jeans and think they would be really fun to wear in winter with some layered dark grey marl tops and a black overcoat. I’ve just never tried that outfit formula because I don’t like the fit of these jeans.

What don’t I like about them? Well, I have the same fitting problem for pairs #3 and #5. Further, these are more of a straight leg cut and I think I would prefer them to taper more at the ankle. Even though I’ve never worn these, I don’t hate them – it was more just I planned on returning these as I didn’t see any point hanging on to something that was less-than-perfect. Buuut I never got around to returning them (oops).

Do I wear them? As you can see, I’ve never worn these.

Verdict? Unsure – I could try to tailoring trick that worked for pair #3. But should I? Though it would give me a bit more variety and choices in my denim collection, I definitely don’t need it and I can see myself reaching for other pairs that are more of a natural fit, instead of these.

7. Distressed medium blue skinnies

Are they ethical? No.

Where & when did I get them? Trinity Denim, 2010.

Where were they made & what from? Made in China, 98% cotton, 2% spandex.

What do I like about them? Originally these just had a bit of fraying in the knees and on the thighs rather than gaping holes, but these got more and more worn until they became what you see here today (helped along by me accidentally putting my feet through the holes a few times when I was putting them on in a hurry) – authentic distressed denim! I love putting these on with a leather jacket and boots when I feel like dressing a little edgier.

What don’t I like about them? There’s not much I don’t like, though they are getting pretty thin now.

Do I wear them? All the time.

Verdict? Keep.


I hope you enjoyed taking a peek at my collection of ethical denim. I would welcome any ideas you have about what I should do with pair #6 of grey skinnies…

Yours Fairly,

Ashlee

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