EcoSPHERE: Indira Scott for Mango & The Sustainable Denim To Know Now

Words by
Sphere Editors

30th January 2023

How do fast fashion companies find ways to encourage sustainable habits in their customers? At Mango, it starts with their new range Mango Circular Denim, fronted by supermodel and committed environmentalist Indira Scott.  But is it enough to do a capsule collection featuring three pairs of jeans designed with circularity in mind, when you offer over a hundred other pairs that are not? And exactly what denim rates as positive for the environment? 

The Mango Circular Denim range is the first offering since the business unveiled its updated sustainable strategy in December.  Though microscopic in relation to its wider offer of jeans - three pairs versus 156 other styles which can't be re-cycled - this collection is genuine in its promise.

It offers denim made solely from cotton which is crucial to circularity -  any denim with stretch will contain elastane derived from oil, making is impossible to recycle or reuse. The range, including the carpenter jeans, and the blazer below uses no rivets in the design process making it easier to break down to its component parts and place back into service for circular use. 

Carpenter jeans, by Mango
Recycled cotton carpenter jeans, £49.99, Mango Circular Denim

The guidelines for reducing denim's impact on the environment were set in 2021 by The Jeans Redesign project, developed by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s Make Fashion Circular initiative.

Jeans Redesign provides a blueprint for fashion businesses to reduce the massive impact jeans make on the environment, it starts with water - to grow the cotton needed for one pair takes 1,800 gallons, and that's before factoring in the manufacturing process

So, what brands should we be looking to now? If you're considered mass-market denim, there is an absolute minefield of greenwashing to pick through first: so read that smallprint on the product descriptions. If you're looking for a long-term purchase, Chloe, Levis and Ganni have also signed up to Ellen MacArthur's initiative, but there's so much more to discover. See our recommendations below.

As Jordan Nodarse, founder of Boyish jeans, (featured below), points out: “People need to realise that it’s cool to care about the planet. What will be left for the generations beyond ours if we don’t make good decisions now?”

Denim blazer, by Mango
Recycled cotton denim blazer, £49.99, Mango Circular Denim

We Recommend

E.L.V Denim
Blue/Black Contrast Jean E.L.V
dark blue/black contrast straight leg jean, £255, E.L.V

Thanks to its magazine stylist founder Anna Foster, every aspect of E.L.V's sourcing, design and production innovatively re-imagines waste by working with skilled artisans to deliver the highest quality of craftsmanship. In short, these jeans are already circular by the time you buy them. 

Their signature jean uses a splicing method, where two used pairs of jeans are re-cut to form a single pair. They come in single and bi-colour mixes, and can be made-to-measure, giving customers the perfect fit they've always wanted. 

Discover E.L.V

Chloe Denim
Chloe's Circular Denim
"Stromboli" wide-leg jeans, £715, Chloe

These "Stromboli" wide-leg women's jeans are made from leftover vintage-wash cotton denim, which is laser-treated for reduced water use. The high waist and cropped leg enhance the relaxed, urban attitude, while the Chloé logo embroidery at the waist adds a signature touch.

Discover Stromboli

Ganni Denim
Ganni's organic range
Stripe denim cargo pants, £265, Ganni

These stripey denim cargo jeans are made using 100% certified organic cotton. The pants are designed for a relaxed fit throughout and feature a button and zip closure, large cargo pockets on the lower leg, cutlines and a GANNI logo on the back pocket.

Discover Ganni's stripey cargo jeans

Mother of Pearl
Kyra jeans by Mother of Pearl
Organic cotton jeans, £195, Mother of Pearl

If you want to learn about one designer's odyssey into how to break out of the destructive cycle of unsustainable fashion practises, Amy Powney of Mother of Pearl's story is absolutely it. The film about her experience, Fashion Reimagined,  has been on fire across the independent film circuit since last summer, and explores how making clothes has become so damaging to the planet.

What she doesn't know about how to make clothes in a planet-positive way, isn't worth knowing. Which is what makes buying from her business Mother of Pearl, a no brainer. 

Discover Mother of Pearl

Boyish Jeans
Boyish Jeans
The Tommy jeans, £225, by Boyish Jeans

Boyish hails from California, the centre of the denim universe, and ticks all the boxes for sustainable production. It's factories follow the ILO Four Fundamental Freedoms principles and the denim uses less harmful chemicals during the dyeing process, utilizing one-third of the amount of water typically needed to produce a pair of jeans. All of its fabrics are upcycled or recycled. 

Discover Boyish