After many years in the denim and fashion industry our Founder Tony Tonnaer turned to creating his own brand and in 2011, Kings of Indigo was launched. From then, we have been putting all of our efforts in leading the industry and being two steps ahead when it comes to sustainable practices. Our commitment to the cause has a 360 approach – we leave no stone unturned.
Since sustainability is the word of the moment, it’s easy to get lost in a web of ‘organic cotton’ and ‘water use’. We have built up our Five Pillars of Sustainability to make it easier for us to see where we are and where we still need to improve, and for you to have full insight on what we do.
Planet Friendly Materials
We use materials that have as little impact on the planet as possible. Our collections are rich with natural fibers, such as organic cotton, linen and hemp. But with every collection, we explore new innovations to shift our focus to recycled and man-made fibers such as recycled polyester, recycled wool, TENCEL™, so that we reduce reliance on the earth’s natural resources.
fibers that are coming entirely from the earth e.g. organic cotton.
fibers that only become a material with human involvement e.g. recycled wool.
The clothing industry and especially the denim industry, uses a huge amount of water to manufacture goods. Processes such as dyeing and coloring fabrics, washing denims, printing designs, all require a huge amount of water. We focus on reducing the amount by using technologies such as the Environmental Impact Measuring system whereby we can see how much:
- Water consumption
- Energy consumption
- Chemical product used
- Worker labour
goes into an individual item and a score of high, medium or low impact will be awarded. We currently have 9 jeans that have an EIM score.
In May we created a restricted substance list which we share with our suppliers to ensure these substances are not used whilst making our garments. These substances harm workers and/or the environment due to water waste during production.
As well as this, we use materials that require less water to grow, for example, hemp, and we also explore materials that have a closed loop process of reusing water, such as TENCEL™.
We can guarantee that at all of our laundries, the water is cleaned and purified before being put back into natural water flows.
Without our factories and production locations, we would not exist. Therefore, the safety and well-being of all those in our supply chain is of the upmost importance.
Our commitments to associations such as the Fair Wear Foundation and laws such as the Dutch Agreement on the Sustainable Garments and Textiles and the Code of Conduct ensure that we work only with locations where worker wellbeing is a priority. We arrange checks by certified bodies and monthly visits by our team to production facilities.
Every year, we publish our Social Report online for full transparency.
In 2018, we produced clothing in 33 production locations in 10 countries. 75,5% of our production taking place in Tunisia. From Tunisia, our garments come to our warehouse in the Netherlands by truck which is more environmentally friendly than plane. We currently have a policy whereby suppliers are not allowed to send anything to our HQ or warehouse without our approval to minimize emissions.
When it comes to sending to consumers, we currently send items in recycled paper packaging. This saves 75% space in the trucks when being sent, meaning more can fit in the space. We send items with DPD, who are carbon neutral.
In 2018, our total shipments created 793,203 = tonnes of C02. To counteract this 13,115, 780 tree seedlings would need to be grown over ten years. A startling figure, but something we are motivated to work on reducing. This is a pillar that will have greater priority in the coming months.
One of the greatest issues with the fashion industry is that there is too much stuff, everywhere! We seek to reduce where we can.
By nature of being a slow fashion company, we only have two seasons a year, Spring/Summer and Autumn/Winter. We produce a limited amount of samples for sales and marketing purposes before making informed decisions on production quantities produce for the season. In this way, we aim to reduce the amount of unsellable stock. This is something we still haven’t quite cracked, so we do have seasonal sales online.
Since 2018, we have hosted an online competition #reusetheblues as a way of engaging with waste in a different way. By sending participants B-stock jeans and other scraps, we give them one objective: get creative. The outcome can be found here.
Internally, we are looking to improve the waste management of our office. Currently, we separate waste by paper, plastic and glass. Together with the rest of building, we are investigating ways to collect coffee and food waste in a sustainable and environmentally friendly way.
In 2020, we will implement the use of ‘eco font’ in our office and at all suppliers. Eco font it a font that reduces the amount of toner used by 46%.
We work with marketplaces to sell our products, such as Zalando and Bol.com. We still see what they do with stock as our responsibility. In partnership with them, we discuss best ways of stock management and returns to work together toward a reduced stockpile.