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Eco-friendly blue jeans

Create an honest and sustainable casual look with Kings of Indigo. Denim made without guilt. The Dutch brand was founded in 2011 by Tony Tonnaer. He wanted to develop jeans that were ethical, sustainable and of high quality at the same time. And he succeeded, because Kings of Indigo is one of the leading sustainable jeans brands in Europe. Besides jeans, the brand also sells other garments such as jackets, jumpers and T-shirts.

This brand works according to its own Triple R principle: Repair, Reuse and Recycle. Kings of Indigo shares its knowledge with its customers to ensure that they can enjoy their beloved Kings of Indigo clothing for as long as possible. Customers can consult Kings of Indigo about alterations, reuse and ethically disposing of old jeans so that they can be recycled.

They also take into account five key points for sustainability; planet-friendly materials, water usage, social responsibility, transport and carbon footprint.

Quality is key

The brand is very transparent about how sustainable the jeans are. Kings of Indigo wants to encourage other brands to do the same and produce for a better planet together.

The brand considers it very important to do more for the environment every year. And Kings of Indigo communicates about this very openly. COSH loves it! They always make it clear what they have achieved and what they want to do to improve.

Ethical

Kings of Indigo is well aware that their jeans wouldn't exist without their employees. That is why the brand works with factories where sustainability and a good, safe working environment are core values. Everyone who contributes to the end product is seen as a valuable colleague. That' s why the brand has its own Code of Conduct, an agreement of labour rights and working environment. Everyone who wants to work with Kings of Indigo must sign this contract. The Code of Conduct is based on the regulations of the International Labour Organisation (ILO). The brand has also committed to comply with the Dutch Agreement on the Sustainable Garments and Textiles.

The jeans brand has been a member of the Fair Wear Foundation (FWF) since 2012. The international verification initiative FWF aims to improve working conditions in the global clothing supply chain. With Indigo's FWF membership, the Kings of Indigo have committed to following the "Code of Labour Practice" in all its production facilities. This code is based on the principles of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Kings of Indigo also works with BSCI to ensure that workers in the supply chain are treated fairly and their rights are respected. In addition, they work with SMETA (Sedex Members Ethical Trade Audit), which allows companies to assess their sites and suppliers to understand the working conditions in their supply chain. SMETA assesses a production site based on the organisation's standards on labour, health and safety, environment and business ethics.

In the case of clothing made from GOTS certified cotton, we also know that the working conditions are included in the certification, here the factories have been audited by independent parties.

The factories and companies with which the brand cooperates are mainly located in Tunisia. More than 70% of the production volume is made in Tunisia, other countries where they produce are; Bulgaria, Macedonia, Italy, China, Romania, Netherlands, Spain and Moldova. In total, they work with 53 factories or suppliers. More information about their entire supply chain can be found in detail on the brand's website.

All Kings of Indigo production sites are regularly monitored, employees don’t work beyond what is legally allowed and the brand guarantees its employees a minimum wage. They want to improve between 2022 and 2024 and guarantee a living wage from then on.

Kings of Indigo sometimes takes action to draw attention to important issues such as equal rights. That is why they launched #EqualPockets, for equal wages between men and women and to support change. The profits were used to provide training on fair wages in garment factories and to teach workers in the industry how to protect themselves against unfair practices.

Materials

About 95% of all Kings of Indigo collections consist of sustainable materials, such as organic cotton, recycled cotton, Tencel, linen and hemp. The non-sustainable materials that Kings of Indigo uses are, among others, the elastane for the stretch jeans.

The most common material at Kings of Indigo is organic cotton, 77% of their clothing in 2020 was made from this. The organic cotton they use is always certified, either by GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) or by OCS (Organic Content Standard). This way, you can be sure that the cotton in your jeans is actually organic and that the working conditions under GOTS are okay and no toxic substances have been used in the garment. Both labels apply a minimum percentage of 95% organic cotton in the composition, unless it says OCS Blend, in which case the percentage is lower. Read the COSH research on organic cotton here.

Other materials that you’ll find in Kings of Indigo clothing are Tencel, made from wood pulp. Sometimes they also use the innovative material Refibra! Refibra is made of cotton waste from clothing factories in combination with Tencel.

Kings of Indigo is fully committed to circular materials and we at COSH! think that's great to see! Besides Refibra, they also use recycled wool, recycled PET and recycled cotton. Both the recycled PET (polyester) and the recycled cotton are certified by the Global Recycling Standard (GRS). So you can be sure that the material is actually recycled!

The brand also has its own Restricted Substance List (RSL), which is the basis for controlling the use of chemicals in all King Of Indigo products. This list includes, but is not limited to, finished products.

They do a lot to make their jeans more sustainable, which is why in 2020 they launched an exclusive denim capsule collection made without virgin cotton, in that same year, they developed and produced biodegradable stretch denims and eliminated PP sprays on jeans. PP spray, or potassium permanganate is normally sprayed on specific areas of the garment to fade the colour and give a bright effect on the hand-scraped area. It's great that Kings of Indigo refrains from using this chemical!

Animal welfare

Since 2020, Kings of Indigo has been 99% PETA vegan approved! This means that you can be sure that no animals have had to suffer for your beautiful sustainable jeans. With this, the brand wants to support a vegan lifestyle and reduce its CO2 emissions. They are not 100% vegan because they use recycled wool for some of their garments, but luckily no (new) sheep need to be shaved for this!

They have replaced the leather patches on the back of jeans with a recycled paper material called Jacron or with a blend of recycled and non-recycled polyester. The belts they sell are also not made of leather but of organic cotton and recycled polyester.

Circular economy

Kings of Indigo reduces its waste as much as possible. They produce a limited number of samples before deciding on the production quantities for the season in order to keep the unsold stock to a minimum. They indicate that they can still improve on this.

Since 2018, they have an online contest #reusetheblues in which they encourage participants to do something creative with Kings of Indigo's leftover pieces or fabrics. Jeans are not waste!

Something really cool is that Kings of Indigo wants to increase their percentage of recycled materials and materials made in a closed loop system, every collection! Their goal is to have a collection that consists entirely of sustainable man-made or recycled materials by 2025. A very beautiful goal, we think at COSH! The brand wants to only use natural resources and already existing materials for a closed loop.

Kings of Indigo already uses a lot of recycled materials, great for the circular economy! When they occur as mono materials, they can also be recycled again, otherwise it is difficult, so it is important to look at the material composition per product. The products made from 100% natural materials are also biodegradable. For this brand this means that only the products made of (recycled) polyester are not, but 97% of the products are biodegradable (in 2020).

Another wonderful goal of Kings of Indigo is that they want to be carbon positive by 2025, something that we can only encourage.

Slow fashion

Kings of Indigo can definitely be seen as a slow fashion brand. They bring out their jeans in different colour washes, from light to dark and even veggie denim dyed with natural indigo can be found in the collections. They also have corduroy trousers and other types of clothing such as jumpers, blouses, t-shirts and jackets. In general, Kings of Indigo clothing does not have bold prints, but there are tie-dye prints and embroideries on some jumpers and t-shirts, for example in the shape of koi fish, which are iconic for the brand. Kings of Indigo works with two seasons a year, so the idea is that you can wear the clothes a lot throughout the year.

Short supply chain

To keep the jeans as ecological as possible, the brand tries to work locally. The transport to the warehouse in the Netherlands always happens by truck and not by plane. They have drawn up a policy stating that suppliers are not allowed to send anything to the head office or department store until they have approved it, this is how Kings of Indigo wants to keep the emissions caused by transport as low as possible.

However, the supply chain of Kings of Indigo is not that short, most products come from Tunisia and although that is closer than China or Bangladesh, the clothes have to travel quite a distance from Tunisia to the department store in the Netherlands.

Transparency

Kings of Indigo takes responsibility for its entire supply chain and is fully transparent about its suppliers. That's why in 2019 they signed the 'Transparency Pledge', an initiative of the Clean Clothes Campaign in collaboration with the Dutch Agreement on Sustainable Garments and Textiles.

They also work with the Open Apparel Registry (OAR) to ensure transparency, which is a website that shows an open map of global garment factories and suppliers. The brand says that the OAR helps them to identify, assess and avoid actual or potential negative human rights impacts at production sites. It' s great that Kings of Indigo is so involved with this! The brand's website contains a full list of the production locations they work with.

As Kings of Indigo has been a member of the Fair Wear Foundation since 2013, of the production in 2019, 90% took place in monitored locations, all of which were audited by the FWF.

In terms of transparency in materials, Kings of Indigo is also doing well, since 2020 they have started to implement EIM: Environmental Impact Measuring, this is a technology from Jeanologia. The EIM score is based on:

  • Water consumption

  • Energy usage

  • Use of chemicals

  • Impact on employee health

The scale runs from low to high and unfortunately only covers the finishing process of the garment, not the whole production process. The lower the score, the less impact it has and the cleaner the jeans are. The EIM score is given per pair of jeans.

Kings of Indigo has already made a lot of promises regarding their Code of Conduct and the use of recycled and vegan materials for the future. COSH is keeping a close eye on the brand and is curious about the future! Do you want to be part of the denim trend? Then definitely take a look at Kings of Indigo!

Where to buy Kings Of Indigo?

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