Meet the Maker – Kings of Indigo
Kings of Indigo (K.O.I.) is an Amsterdam based denim brand that creates American inspired garments, with a Japanese eye for details. Since its establishment in 2010, K.O.I. is dedicated to designing innovative and sustainable collections with quality and durability as key features.
King of Indigo is founded by Tony Tonnaer, who used to work as managing director of the Dutch denim brand, Kuyichi. During his time as managing director, Tony was introduced to sustainable fashion, which was pretty new at that time. Under the guidance of Tony, Kuyichi grew into a solid denim brand with flagship stores in the Netherlands and in France. Looking for a new challenge, Tony decided to establish his own brand. K.O.I. incorporates his sustainable ideals while still focusing on design, quality, and innovation.
The collection of Kings of Indigo varies from clean raw jeans to washed and printed outspoken denim jackets. It is a balanced combination of seasonal and timeless garments that are both functional and stylish. By adding different colors to the blue, black, and white core, K.O.I. manages to keep its collection fresh and up-to-date.
In every collection jeans are at the center. By offering 6 different fits for men, they do everything to provide a perfectly fitting pair of jeans for everyone. Apart from jeans, K.O.I. offers a wide variety of shirts, jackets, and accessories.
Indigo is, as the brand name suggests, an important cornerstone in every collection. This blue dye is inseparably interwoven with its identity, vision, and designs. Season after season K.O.I manage to present a new collection that is absolutely drenched with indigo.
For inspiration, the guys behind Kings of Indigo focus on two specific countries, namely, the USA and Japan. The history of denim in the USA and the way Japan is developing denim to a whole different level, is the starting point of every collection.
In the past, K.O.I. did a few really interesting projects like for example the Red Light Denim. Together with the House of Denim, an innovative Dutch denim platform, they created a fabric that existed of 21% recycled jeans. The recycled jeans were collected in Amsterdam, shredded and processed into a new fabric. With hemp and organic cotton as the other materials to compose the Red Light denim, this fabric turned out to be 100% sustainable. Compared to conventional cotton, every kilo of Red Light denim fabric saves up to 1255 liters of water.
Kings of Indigo is one of the frontrunners when it comes to sustainable denim. Since its establishment, when sustainability wasn’t that big of an issue like it is today, K.O.I. has always focused on manufacturing in a more sustainable way. Of course, raw denim itself is a great sustainable alternative for washed denim because it takes less water to develop. But K.O.I. is always looking for the next step in order to increase sustainability.
One of the projects led K.O.I. to, as they call it, ‘Veggie Denim’. ‘Veggie Denim’ is the first natural dyed denim fabric produced on an industrial scale. Through intense research and development, they succeeded in overcoming initial problems like creating the right color intensity and shade consistency. The fabric is, of course, made of 100% cotton and the dyeing process needs up to 70 liters less water per kilo, 30% less energy and, as you might expect, no chemicals.
Apart from using the Veggie Denim, K.O.I. also uses organic cotton. Nowadays, 90% of the raw materials used by K.O.I. are sustainable.
Fabric & Construction
Most of the fabrics are sourced from large European suppliers like Candiani from Italy and Isko from Turkey. These mills are known for their high-quality and innovative fabrics, which makes them suitable partners for Kings of Indigo. For some special jeans, released every once in a while, K.O.I. make use of Japanese selvedge denim, woven by collect.
The construction of the garments of K.O.I. mainly takes place in the Mediterranean. And, just like the fabrics, all suppliers and manufacturers are carefully selected to make sure they produce high-quality and sustainable garments. On their website, K.O.I. provides a list of all the suppliers they are proudly working with.
Seven years after its establishment, Kings of Indigo has become a well-respected and sustainable denim label. Their intensive research led to interesting developments in the denim industry. Since K.O.I. launched its first collection in January 2012, they have steadily grown. Today, over 250 retailers in 12 different countries are selling its collections. Still missing is a K.O.I flagship store in Amsterdam. However, in the next few months, they will intensify their search for a suitable store in the denim capital. Until we can behold the collection in their own store, you can already find Kings of Indigo’s collection in their web store.