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Photo by Matthew Stacey

These New Jeans Are Great for Your Wardrobe—and the Planet

All the ways Zero Cotton jeans are better than your average denim.

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The next time you slide into your favorite skinnies, consider the 1,850 gallons of water needed to grow enough cotton to manufacture a pair of jeans. Fortunately, a Stapleton-based online clothing shop can ease your conscience without depriving you of the rugged staple. Fledgling Aktiv Style has been importing chic, earth-friendly fashions from Scandinavia since October 2018, and this month it became the sole American distributor of Zero Cotton jeans. Created by Sweden’s ReDew8, Zero Cotton’s pants (starting at $119) are the first jeans made of 100 percent wood fiber, which conserves water while retaining denim’s comfortable fit. But that’s just one reason they’re as good for your karma as they are for your closet:

1. To obtain wood fiber for Zero Cotton jeans, ReDew8 harvests fast-growing pine, birch, aspen, and fir from renewable forests in Europe. These sustainably managed woodlands employ no water beyond what falls from the sky.

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2. Another plus for renewable forests: They eliminate the need for fertilizers and pesticides, often used when growing cotton.

3. A provision built into ReDew8’s bylaws requires that it give away 25 percent of its profits each year. (The startup has yet to turn a profit. That didn’t stop its foundation from donating 250,000 Swedish krona, or about $27,000, to Save the Orangutan and Painted Dog Conservation last year.) Even if ReDew8 is sold, this mandate must stay in place.

4. As part of ReDew8’s commitment to sustainability, Zero Cotton jeans are delivered to Denver by ship and then truck, a supply chain that consumes fewer fossil fuels than one using airplanes.

5. In keeping with the larger fashion movement toward greater inclusivity, ReDew8 doesn’t organize its jeans by gender. Instead, they’re based on styles such as “slim, tapered” and a looser-fitting “utility.”

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