Kings of Indigo: great example of sustainable fashion
Jeanswear made of technological and ecofriendly materials, based in Amsterdam
When Tony Tonnaer founded the Kings of Indigo company eight years ago, his objective was clear; to produce clothing in a sustainable way both socially and environmentally, without compromising on quality. He believed that neither sustainability nor quality had to be sacrificed in order to make beautiful garments.
Since then, what it means to be ‘sustainable’ has evolved and become more intricate, and the future promises further changes. Kings of Indigo positions itself as a pioneer in this ever-changing sustainable fashion world. The brand believes that the future of fashion lies with curious and brave minds that seek out sustainable and innovative options with denims and apparel.
Kings of Indigo brings the best of both worlds in denim; the minimalistic beauty of the pure, Japanese denim and the tough characteristics of the classic, American blue jeans.
Beyond the 5-pocket jean
When Kings of Indigo was founded, it came on the scene as a modern denim brand with sustainability at its core. Over the years, the brand has developed to use that expert knowledge of sustainable methods of production to apply them to more than just denim. The collection is rich with apparel and accessories, too.
The jeans, from Royal Core timeless pieces, to trendsetting pairs, are enhanced when partnered with garments that too tell a story, and ultimately, help the consumer to see how sustainability is more than just a word of the moment, but a lifestyle.
- In 2019, the brand reduced packaging for B2C by 25%. By the end of 2020, they hope to have done the same for B2B deliveries as well.
- By 2020, the brand will be able to guarantee an income equality for all workers in their production facilities, including a fair living wage.
- By 2020, a public sustainable denim library will be available for everyone to visit and use.
- By 2025, the brand will only use recycled natural or man-made fibers in collections.
- By 2025, the brand will only use sustainable washing techniques for their denims.
Sustainability at its best
Recycling is a philosophy that is important to Kings of Indigo. With every collection, the number of pieces made with recycled materials increases. By 2025 the brand aims to only use recycled or man-made fibers. The latest collection exemplifies the shift from just relying on natural fibers to including more man-made ones. For instance, this season every garment of the outerwear collection contains post-consumer recycled plastic bottles (PET/Polyethylene terephthalate).
Besides this, knitwear made from entirely recycled fibers, recycled metal on all denims, and recycled paper and packaging used for marketing are significant details showing the brand’s unwaivering commitment to sustainability.
An important step the brand has taken with the new collection is the introduction of vegan patches on all of its denims. The patches contain recycled polyester, furthering the recycling philosophy Kings of Indigo believes in.
Kings of Indigo aims to be a forward player when it comes to working as an ethical company, both in production and socially. The brand has been a member of the Fair Wear Foundation since 2013 and has maintained its position as a sustainable brand by official standards. In 2017, 90% of production took place at monitored locations, 70% of which were audited by the Fair Wear Foundation.
A goal for the near future is for the brand to guarantee a fair living wage to all the people who work to create their garments, together with training and educating them amongst others their rights and independence. Kings of Indigo also believes in the importance of training factory workers on their labor rights and wages. The Fair Wear Foundations Worker Education Programme (WEP) has taken place at 25% of Kings of Indigo’s production locations, such as Tunisia, FYROM and Bulgaria in 2017/2018.
On its website and through social media, Kings of Indigo is transparent on where the collection is made and where all fabrics are coming from. Everything is also to be found in its Social Report. From this season on, Kings of Indigo is able to provide information on where the fiber of its key materials, such as cotton, hemp and linen, comes from. A future goal is to allow consumers to trace the origin of the seeds used to create the fiber.
From the outset, Kings of Indigo’s collections have had two clear influences for denim; the rough and tough workwear from America and the accurate eye for detail from Japan, and the love and respect that both cultures share for denim. This combination of influence has meant the brand brings design to a new level with every collection – experimenting with fits, daring the consumer to challenge themselves and their wardrobe.
Kings of Indigo use innovative technologies to reduce reliance on the earth’s natural resources. The brand especially likes using TENCEL™ Lyocel – a fiber that is part of an environmentally responsible closed loop production process. It can be found in the women’s collection to produce beautifully soft and comfortable garments.
The Autumn Winter 2019 collection has a strong range of outerwear jackets, all of which have an element made from Recycled PET (Polyethylene terephthalate). A number of the jackets are also made entirely from the recycled plastic bottles – including the shell, lining and filling.
Quality Wear For The Next Era
In this AW19 collection, the brand plays with the timeless check print and corduroy fabric, explores innovative techniques to use recycled PET, and brightens up the traditional autumnal color palette with bright and bold pieces. All the while, staying true to the mission of providing quality wear for the next era.
What sets this brand from others is its attention to detail and this season’s developments confirm the brand’s position as a front runner of sustainability in the fashion industry.
- Kings of Indigo is now a 100% vegan brand.
- Fully recycled and sustainable trims – metals, pocketing, paper.
- Re-Gen: a capsule denim collection made from NO new cotton.
- 100% of the collection is made under certified fair working conditions
It’s in the details
What sets the brand apart from others in the game is its attention to detail. In this SS20 collection, great updates have taken place to produce the most sustainable trims yet.
The denims are now all vegan, the leather patches being replaced with recycled PET or jacron patches. The metal used for buttons and rivets is 100% recycled, coming from old hospital equipment. Paper trims such as the hangtags, overriders and pocket flashers are all recycled from old shoeboxes. The pocketing of the denims is made from a blend of recycled PET and organic cotton, durable and resilient. Furthermore, items will be delivered in fully biodegradable polybags.
Innovation, Recycling, Sustainability: Re-Gen for the next gen
No New Cotton
If there was ever a collection that exemplified what we stand for, it is this one.
Combining strengths with partners close to home, Candiani and Lenzing, we present a limited capsule denim collection made entirely from recycled and natural materials – 50% recycled fibers and 50% Refibra Lyocell – which means NO new cotton. What is more, the process also significantly reduces water waste, solvent use and land space, since no new cotton needs to be grown.
The dyeing process for the Re-Gen is unique in itself. Chitosan, a non-toxic and biodegradable source coming from mushrooms creates Denim Juice – a natural and clean dye. This is a non-toxic and biodegradable source, which ultimately reduces the consumption of water, energy and solvents.
The Re-Gen capsule collection, which includes a trucker and jean combination for men and for women, and a children’s two piece, is an innovation of great importance in paving the road to a sustainable denim/fashion industry.
- 0% virgin cotton
- 2,565 liters of water saved per jean
- 65% less chemicals
- 50% made from waste
Fully recycled, sustainable trims
Kings of Indigo is now a 100% vegan brand
Already from AW19, the seasonal collection had replaced all leather patches with either a recycled PET patch or a jacron option. However, a further step with this SS20 collection is that the timeless Royal Core pieces have also lost the leather and been replaced with vegan alternatives. The brand has also removed all leather accessories from web shops and are working on producing the goods in an animal friendly way.
By 2021, the brand hope to receive PETA certification for this new achievement.
Read more (in Portuguese):
- Hering: com jeans ecológico da Vicunha. E só.
- DUARTE, Luciana dos Santos. Estudo comparativo do impacto ambiental do jeans CO/PET convencional e de jeans reciclado. Dissertação de mestrado em Engenharia de Produção, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Belo Horizonte, 2013, 101 p.
- DUARTE, Luciana dos Santos. Conforto e durabilidade de protótipos de calças de jeans CO/PET convencional e de jeans CO/PET reciclado. Anais do 11º Congresso Brasileiro de Pesquisa e Desenvolvimento em Design. Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, Gramado, 2014.
- DUARTE, Luciana dos Santos; RAJÃO, Raoni Guerra Lucas; DE FARIA, Paulo Eustáquio. Estudo comparativo do impacto ambiental da produção têxtil de jeans CO/PET convencional e de jeans CO/PET reciclado. Anais do VIII Congresso Nacional de Engenharia Mecânica, Universidade Federal de Uberlândia, 2014.
- Técnicas de beneficiamento do jeans
- DUARTE, Luciana dos Santos. Design de jeans para sustentabilidade: aplicação de ferramentas de redução de impacto ambiental para análise do jeans CO/PET reciclado. Revista IARA. SENAC, São Paulo, Vol. 17, n. 2, 2014.