Gorrrgeous Denim – With “Triple R”

In which you can watch me dress up as a KING OF INDIGO – and queen, yup, in that order! 😉 {Photoshoot}


Denim. A garment adored by the “green crowd”, is – such bitter irony – an enviromental nightmare. We all know that.
With 11,000 liters of water per 1 kg (!), cotton is a water waster. While grown sans pesticides, organic cotton needs just as much watering. (Duh!)
{Source: Virtuelles Wasser, a German ministry of environment project}

Some finishes are highly toxic and dangerous. And don’t even get me started on them sweat shops…greenpeace-detox-campaign-screenshot-browserWe all remember Greenpeace Detox Fashion campaign, don’t we?
In case you only vaguely remember, here’s the link to the denim-linked water pollution report from Mexico, and here’s the link to this incredibly important campaign where we can find all news and updates.


Right now I own a pair of vegan jeans by Anthracite Fashion (this gorgeous model), custom-made from high quality, GOTS-certified denim that I found myself on Siebenblau Berlin.anthracite-manomamaI am also considering buying this sleek, rich dark blue bootcut vegan & certified organic jeans by Manomama next. Manomama is a trailblazing, roundabout amazing brand by a young woman from Augsburg, Germany, whose motto is “miracles? do it yourself” (I will try and see if I can talk to Sina, the founder, once I’ve ordered from Manomama!)

But apart from having a green pedigree, I want my jeans to look “grown-up”, gorgeously shaped, maybe even scifi-ish like the Anthracite one, and luxurious.

This is where Mrs. Fate kicked an: I got invited to meet Kings of Indigo founder Tony Tonnaer during Berlin’s Bread and Butter trade fair in January… And that’s, Ladies and Gents, how KOI got onto my personal fashion radar.


Tony Tonnaer founded Kings of Indigo in 2010. Before that, he was responsible for Kuyichi, a streetwear brand that launched eco fair denim back in 2001, when the public had not today’s interest or understanding for the matter. Ultimately, Kuyichi received the well-deserved recognition, and Tony set out to create Kings of Indigo, a denim line combining uncompromised love for detail and homage to the real, old-school heavy-duty denim, or, in his own words “Japanese perfection in craftsmanship and iconic US tradition”. 

Now let me spare you my questions, and fast-forward to what Tony Tonnaer’s got to say about green value chains and gorgeous denim:

It all starts with the fabric. Organic cotton is a huge waste of water, so we can’t rely only on that. This is where recycled fibre comes in. Washing is a waste of water – a standard jeans takes about 11.000 litres of water – so we work with laser instead.”

So it took a lot of time to develop proper recycling methods to use for high quality denim. If you create something ecological, you need to pay attention to the very different aspects and details.”

Big companies need more time to change their value chain, smaller brands can move a lot quicker. But on the other hand, due to buying minimums, it’s challenging to keep the sustainable value chain affordable as a small brand.”

Every season we try to innovate in technology. Next season is all about classic deep natural indigo dip-dye, new button up styles, and great jackets.”

I don’t want to put the green message first. I want people to like KOI for the great designs, for the fantastic longevity. And when they then discover the ecological part, this wows them.”

Well, thank you, Tony.
And speaking of recycling, let me quote the KOI website this time, because I think it’s brilliant:

The K.O.I Triple R concept stands for recycle, repair and re-use. Using recycled material simply saves resources and as
K.O.I stimulates you to repair your broken jeans by providing a special repairkit and organizing repair events, this helps
you to re-use and enjoy your favorites longer.
When repairing is no longer an option, just bring them back to the Kings and they will re-use the jeans to make new fabric out of them.”

Gotta love that, right?
So I knew, I had to share this one with you, dear Adventurers.


Luckily for me, I did not have to buy everything I’m going to show you here, because even with KOI’s quite moderate prices (jeans €100-160), this would have been quite a splurge 😀 Instead, I headed to the KOI showroom at their pr agency in Berlin-Mitte, and chose two styles, one for girls, one for boys plus the baby jeans and one Triple R Kit. {Disclaimer: This is – as usual and despite working with the brand directly – not a sponsored post. I was curious to see the garments’ quality in person, and the pr agency knew that the review would be fair and pro.}

I just didn’t consider one lil thing. My male model has sum really brawny calves. And while the skinny jeans was otherwise the perf size and length, there was no freakin’ way of getting him into the pant legs! Duh!!!11 No pictures of a nice derriere in a cool dark KOI jeans for you here. And my very own derriere didn’t fill out the mens’ size adequately.

And now, without further ado: See what I’ve seen. And worn 🙂
ll images clickable for maximized viewing pleasure!

Playing around with the press samples 🙂
The Repair set (“Triple R Kit”) snugly fit into the pocket
Great details, perfect work, gorgeously heavy fabric
I could geek out about the quality of this shirt forever…
I’m not *that* bad as a male model 😀 Wait. WUT!?
Sooooo owning it.

You’ve seen from KOI men’s collection
Jeans: James, skinny fit (€109.95), cotton neck tee with lasered logo: Darius King (€69.95), striped socks (€9.95). (Black long sleeve and watch: model’s own)

Guinevere jacket – of all items I had for the shoot, this I totally fell in love with. Downer though: the leather tag. Seriously? I can’t have an animal-free one?
Perf brass accessory – made in Japan: “fake eyelashes” and “anatomical heart lock” by Aquvii 😉
Slowly getting there…
The fit is perfect. Despite the super skinny cut – and thanks to the heavy fabric – no one can see your pantyline, in the front or in the back.
I like the worn effect that adds a visual depth to the velvety soft fabric.
A perfect skinny jeans. And now let’s have a look at the jacket. Is this Jane Dean or what!?
Immaculate stitching is one of the KOI attributes. Words can’t express how beautiful the fabric, the stitching and other details look in person.
The red KOI fish on the stud: “Here’s looking at you, kid!”
The jacket has rich details, such as elegant pleats in the front.

You’ve just seen KOI’s women’s collection
Jeans: Juno (€119.95), jacket: Guinevere (€159.95), striped socks (€9.95). (Shirt & ankle boots “model’s own”; Japanese brass necklaces also “model’s own”, but if you like them, the brand is called Aquvii)

baby-koi baby-koi2And this is Baby KOI, denim for the next gen (notice how the box is a mobile-to-be): €99.95

kings-of-indigo-triple-R-kit-closeup KOI-denim-repair-kit-closeup-open koi-denim-repair-set-closeup-closed-buttonTriple R Kit: a sewing kit has never looked so bad-ass… (€10)

{The curtain falls. Fin.}

BOTTOM LINE: Great wear, superb timeless and highly detailed design, amazing quality, reasonable price, GOTS certified, FairWear member, great philosophy.
ONLY DOWNER: Not vegan-friendly due to the silly tiny leather tags (and belts/bags in the collection).
I don’t want to purchase any new leather items and NO, not even a leather patch on a pair of jeans. Now, admittedly: I am wearing aged leather bags, and boots, and moto jackets, and even one goddamn coat, but am no way buying new leather stuff. And the industry isn’t making this easy for me, as everyone who tried to buy a reasonable “vegan” handbag knows. So I understand KOI here: I don’t know of any other material sturdy enough for an authentic jeans label – this is one of the many pitfalls of trying to marry ETHICS and AESTHETICS that we face here on our Quest. And so, dear vegan friends, KOI is not for you. Or for me. *a deeply sad sigh*

If they decide to veg it up, friends, I’ll be the first to sing it from the rooftop! (Yeah, that one in the pictures.)

Your links to the Kings: Store Locator | Online Store | KOI Tumblr


If you are now wondering, “So, do I have now to love Anthracite, KOI and Manomama or is there more choice, it’s, like, 2014?”, I’m with you, so here’s a helpful 2012 chart of 16 (!) eco-fair denim brands by GET CHANGED (PDF opens in new tab); they don’t seem to have any update more recent than this.

So, now it’s your turn, tell me what you think:
Am I being silly with the leather tags?
Can we have it all?
Did you like the shoot? 


Geeking out about all things truly green, healthy and ethical over at BEAUTYCALYPSE.com (Avatar illustration by A. Goncharenko)

7 Responses

  1. Great article – It such a soul choice regarding leather / fur (I only buy 2nd hand (it’s already dead) but finding practical alternatives that do the same job in a cold climate – not easy – thanks for the steer hre – p.s. can we please see more of your gorgeous face 🙂

  2. Din

    So, when is our next shopping date?!? Want everything, including the sox. Well, except the baby koi…

    Great pictures by the way and now finally have all information I needed to know to be sure that I need such jeans.

Comments are closed.