The Hottest Ethical Jeans Trends For 2021

The hottest ethical jeans trends for this year have something for everyone, no matter what your shape or size!

By Lora O’Brien

On the hunt for the perfect pair of denim jeans? I always thought the hardest part was deciding which cut I wanted. FYI: Apparently, the skinny jean is now dead, and it’s all about those boot cut and barrel-legged jeans. But way before I delved into the world of sustainable fashion, I’d bought my fair share of terrible denim. Jeans that were uncomfortable, unflattering, poorly made and even irritated my skin. Plus, I think we’ve all had a pair of jeans go in the washing machine one size, only to emerge 3x smaller!

Jeans are a staple for many. But before we talk about the hottest ethical jeans trends for this year, we need to talk about what your denim is made of. Especially given that denim is one of the top offenders when it comes to polluting the planet we live on. It contributes to landfill waste, pesticide pollution and excessive water use (and pollution). So. we really should find better ways.

Why make denim with TENCEL fibres?

If you’re new to the innovative fabric that has also been dubbed as the fibre of the future, we’ve already covered how it’s the best material for your intimates. But now we’re talking about denim! Yep, the eco-friendly Austria-based TENCEL branded fibre, made by Lenzing, is an ideal fibre to create your denim essentials. You won’t only look good wearing jeans made from TENCEL branded products, but you can also help protect the planet while shopping. A win-win for all!

TENCEL fibres are super versatile. Though you might not associate denim with trees, that’s exactly what is used to make TENCEL fibres! Along with its low carbon footprint, this green, botanic alternative is breathable, soft, and naturally smooth to the touch. So, your jeans are not only made better, and better for the planet, but they’re more comfortable to wear, too.

  1. Strength + Softness When it comes to denim, we want to wear items that are comfortable while retaining their quality. TENCEL fibres tick all these boxes! Not only are the fibres strong and deeply embedded with colour pigments to ensure durability, but they’re also naturally smooth and glide over the skin.
  2. Flexibility No one wants to wear stiff denim that restricts your movement when wearing it. Wood-based TENCEL fibres maintain an exquisite softness even after repeated washes. TENCEL fibres are tailored to a sustainable lifestyle, offering expression through movement through their natural comfort.

The company behind TENCEL, Lenzing, recently launched new TENCEL branded modal fibres with Indigo Color technology. These fibres are designed to meet the increasing demand from the denim industry for eco-responsible alternatives. The technology saves 99 % water, 80% chemical, and 99% energy when compared to conventional dyeing processes. It’s important that consumers are given the chance to feel just as good as they look in denim.

Now, let’s talk about some of the hottest jeans trends for this year!

Some of the hottest jeans trends for 2021

So, you now want to find the perfect pair of jeans, right? But where to look? With the most popular jean trends for 2021 in mind, I have also found the perfect pants for the season ahead. Whether you want your jeans figure-hugging, baggy or with a little 70’s throwback, they’ve all been made using TENCEL fibres.

Ethical Jeans Trends


Mark my words: Boot-cut jeans are the denim trend you’ll see the most of in 2021. While wide flares now feel outdated and a bit costumey, these slim boot-cut jeans are right on the money. They look super sleek and pair well with heeled ankle boots, so really, what’s not to love?

Levi Bootcut Jeans 

This fashion-forward ultra-high rise pair of Levi’s fuses with a modern bootcut leg, designed to elongate your pins, giving you legs for days!

These easy-to-wear jeans fit slim on your hips and thigh with a high rise that holds you in. TENCEL fibre gives these jeans their hypersoft comfort with supportive stretch to create one of Levi’s softest jeans yet or as Levi’s states “the softest tree you will ever wear”.

tencel jeans

7 for all Mankind Vintage Pacific Groove Jeans 

Want a pair of bootcut jeans that will pair well with some heels? These classic bootcut jeans in mid-blue are made from soft TENCEL fibre that has a lightly faded design that gives them an authentic, vintage look

Featuring a classic five-pocket design with a mid-rise, these slim-fitting jeans fall to a split at the bottom, giving the bootcut hems frayed detailing, perfect for showing off your shoes!

Ethical Jeans Trends

STRAIGHT LEG (but not skinny)

Once upon a time, the skinny jean trend spread like wildfire. The tighter the pant, the hotter the jean! But as we delve further into this new year, it seems skinny is on the out. And the style we all want to own? The straight leg! A staple wardrobe jean for many, the effortless style of easy for anyone to pull off.

Boyish The Tommy Jean

This pair of Boyish jeans is super versatile. The Tommy is a high-waisted rigid straight jean in a medium-light eco wash with distressed knees. These jeans are easy to dress up or down depending on your mood.

These pants include TENCEL Lyocell fibre, which helps reduce the carbon footprint and water usage used to create them. In short, they’re jeans you can feel damn good about wearing!

tencel jeans

Reformation Cynthia High Rise Straight Leg

Ever had the perfect pair of jeans – but then they lose their shape after a few washes? Well, this pair of Reformation jeans is designed to maintain their fit, allowing you to look as fabulous years from now as the day you bought them!

The Cynthia jean by Reformation is straight and slim-fitting in the waist, hip, and bum. This style is available in 3 shades, but the seine hue is perfect for those who like their denim on the darker side.

Reformation Cynthia Jean


We may sometimes have called them ‘mom jeans’. But as we head further into 2021, it seems the high waist jean is one of the hottest ethical jeans trends for this year. The second style to be somewhat inspired from the 80’s and 90’s, I personally love the nostalgic vibe to high waists! They’re sexy and versatile, and come in a range of cuts.

Boyish The Coby Jean 

More a Boho type of girl? Boyish have created the perfect jeans for you! The Coby Jean in the Rio Bravo shade is a high-waisted jean that features a utilitarian-inspired panel construction, and back pockets with an elevated edge.

These upcycled jeans include organic cotton that’s OCS certified as well as TENCEL Lyocell fibre. They fit your waist snugly before falling out to a very small flare at the bottom. Cut off at the ankle, these would look super chic paired with some block heels.


If skater jeans has you singing Avril Lavinge’s 2001 bop Sk8er Boi, then welcome to the club! But while the grungier style of denim was once stereotypical for skaters, it’s becoming mainstream this year, with many people preferring the baggier style.

Boyish The Ziggy Jean 

Ever pinched your boyfriend jeans and failed to ever return them? Now you don’t have to commit petty theft thanks to Boyish. The Ziggy is a high-waisted jean that is super relaxed and slouchy in style. These skater jeans are oversized enough to be stylish but fitted at the waist to give you shape.

Levi’s High Loose Jeans

Looking for a skater style of jeans that are even slouchier than those above? Let loose with this modern interpretation of a classic ’90s style. Levi’s high loose jeans feature a wide leg and flattering high rise which means the cool, vintage-inspired style will elongate your legs and cinch you in at the waist.

Bonus: the front pleats and exaggerated pockets add extra style which they’re sustainably made using TENCEL fabric.


Pale denim is one of the hottest ethical jeans trends for this year. Sure, dark blue has always been popular, with black and grey following. Those darker washes will still be around, but lighter washes will be taking centre stage. Lighter denim oozes 80’s and 90’s nostalgia, and is so easy to style!

Boyish The Dempsey Jean 

We all wish we had a pair of jeans that don’t remind us every five minutes that we’re wearing them. We want them to fit our figure but not suffocate it, right? Well, TENCEL helps make these zero-waste jeans by Boyish feel like a second skin.

This pair of vintage-inspired jeans from Boyish feature a classic, high-rise style with straight legs are added shape, and contact stitching for added dimension. They’re the perfect pair of hip-hugging vintage denim jeans, with and their lighter hue is bang on trend this year.

Ethical Jeans Trends

Levi High Loose Tapered Jeans

These tapered Levi jeans give me real 80’s nostalgia. Anyone else feeling like they need to go to a rave, like, now? They’re so loose and comfortable, you could practically sleep in them.

Ethical Jeans Trends


Finally, one of our last of the hottest ethical jeans trends for this year is – you guessed it – patchwork. We love this trend, because it’s not unusual for patchwork jeans to be made from upcycled scraps. Super sustainable!

Reformation Cynthia Patch High Rise Jean

These patchwork jeans are HOT, and evoke (in my mind, anyway) Charlie’s Angels in their heyday. The patch is subtle, the waist is high, and the denim is pale. Bang. On. Trend!

Reformation Cynthia Patch High Rise Jean

Images 1&2 – Shutterstock. All other image credits are courtesy of the brands.


Lora O'Brien
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