At Kuyichi we take great care in the design of our pure goods focussing on the development of timeless products that can become your favourite. Not only do they have to stand the continuous change of trends, they should also be worn until they tear. We choose high quality materials and work on the longevity of our jeans constantly to achieve this. We love to give you some more info on the different materials and processes that we use.
If you want to dive in deeper in the whole process of our products, from the design to the final finish, you can check our sustainability report for some in-depth information on our supply chain and practices.
All the cotton we use is 100% organic cotton. Organic crops are grown without the use of chemical fertilisers, pesticides and insecticides. Organic cotton is 100% pesticide free. Pesticides pollute soil and water, killing wildlife and harming communities. Creating organic cotton yarn reduces CO2 emissions by 60% compared to conventional cotton.
Since 2012 we have been using recycled cotton in our denim fabrics. Cotton waste is captured or collected, shredded and re-spun into a new one-of-a-kind yarn. Recycling greatly reduces the water, energy and chemicals needed to produce virgin fibres. All products stating recycled cotton use cotton fabric and fibres that are wasted in the production chain. From fibres captured during the spinning, dyeing and weaving processes, to fabric scraps in the cutting stage. This way we cut down and utilise waste streams in our facilities.
To make recycled polyester, plastic bottles are collected, shredded and re-spun. This saves over 75% of the greenhouse gas emissions and more than 90% of the chemicals needed to produce virgin polyester. Furthermore, recycling PET stops plastic from polluting the land and oceans. We use the GRS (Global Recycling Standard) certificate on fabrics that contain recycled polyester. This guaranteed that only post-consumer PET bottles are used for our recycled polyester yarns.
POST-CONSUMER RECYCLED DENIM
PCRD stands for Post-Consumer Recycled Denim, which means that the fibre being used for new denim, has already had a full life. It has been produced, worn and discarded. After cutting off the top of the jeans, the remains are shredded and then blended into new yarns. The top with the waistband is cut off as it contains a lot of metal parts, that can disrupt the shredder. Using the post-consumer clothing wastestream has several benefits. Fewer clothes will end up in landfill and fewer chemicals and water are needed for cotton production and fabric dyeing. Increasing the use of PCRD is part of the Global Fashion Agenda commitment we signed.
TENCEL™ Lyocell is the sustainable sister of viscose, made by Lenzing. Tencel is made from controlled and certified wood sources. It uses a closed-loop production process, which transforms wood pulp into cellulosic fibres with a low environmental impact. The process recycles water and reuses solvents for over 99%. TENCEL™ Lyocell feels soft on the skin, doesn’t crease, is durable and compostable. We only use Lenzing TENCEL™ Lyocell. We see them as the leader in the development of sustainable man-made fibres, with high environmental and social standards.
Another product by the hands of Lenzing. TENCEL™ Modal is a super soft fabric that uses finer fibres compared to normal modal. It is made from mainly beech wood, sourced from sustainably managed forests in Austria and other European countries, harvested from certified and controlled forests. TENCEL™ Modal is produced in an eco-responsible way at the Lenzing sites in Austria. These fibres have a low environmental footprint and are both biodegradable and compostable. This means that they can fully revert back to nature.
REFIBRA™ technology is the first step for Lenzing towards a circular textile industry. These cellulosic fibres are made with the same award-winning closed-loop process as TENCEL Lyocell™ fibre. The REFIBRA™ technology upcycles cotton scraps from garment production and post-consumer cotton textiles into renewed fibres. The recycled cotton pulp - up to one third - is added to certified wood pulp and used to produce new TENCEL™ Lyocell fibres. Lenzing pushes to increase the amount of recycled cotton for the TENCEL™ x REFIBRA™ fibres to at least 50% in 2024.
Linen is made from the strong fibres in the stems of the flax plant. Flax is a low demanding plant, growing well in more mediate climates. The flax plant needs few to none pesticides. It’s one of the strongest - and oldest - fibres out there with a high durability. Linen gives your clothing a nice fresh, crisp and richly-textured feeling. All our linen is farmed in Europe, in France and Belgium to be exact.
T400 ecomade is an innovation fibre from Lycra. It’s composed from one part recycled PET polyester, one part plant-based polymers and one part virgin polyester. The different components react differently to your body warmth, creating the stretch while keeping the shape of the fibre. This means your denim literally needs to warm up to you to give a comfortable stretch for your body. The biggest benefit of T400 ecomade is the recovery, it turns back to it’s original shape after cooling down, creating a lasting fit of your denim.
Hemp is a fast-growing plant made from stem fibers of the cannabis sativa plant. This plant captures carbon from the air faster than trees and most other plants. Which means, using more hemp for clothing could help lower our carbon emissions! Hemp is perfect for crop rotation as it enriches the soil but it can also be grown season after season as it enriches the soil. Because hemp grows so fast, it uses less land and water compared to other crops like cotton or trees, creating less environmental impact. We love hemp because it makes our pure goods stronger, more absorbent and more durable!
We strictly only use vegetable-tanned leather. Using vegetable tanning reduces chemical risks like heavy metals and other harmful susbstances used in the production of the leather, protecting both the environment and the workers. Vegetable tanning is an old craftmanship that keeps nature in mind. Combine this with new environmental practices and you’ve got yourself a clean process. All leather we use comes from European cows that are primarily farmed for their meat and is therefor a by-product of this industry. More about our leather suppliers here.
LOW IMPACT WASHES
There are a lot of different ways to create a more sustainable wash on your denim. Every style has it’s unique wash recipe to get to the ideal ‘worn-in’ look. You can use different technologies like laser, ozone and e-flow machines or substitute harmful chemicals for better low-impact ones. We constantly work on improving our washes through incorporating these options in our wash recipes. Read more about low impact wash techniques here. Water saving techniques are not only used during washing, also in our dyeing processes our suppliers limit the consumption of water. Besides they take care that the wastewater that comes out of the processes is cleaned and filtered and recycled as much as possible. The best options are our undyed denim items.
EIM stands for Environmental Impact Measuring. This tool is developed by Jeanologia, a company which develops machines and sustainable technologies for the fabric and garment finishing industry. EIM makes it possible to calculate the exact water, energy, chemicals and worker impact of our pure goods! In our sustainability report we dive deeper into the numbers behind our denim washes and the results that we have booked this far. You can find the report on the top of this page.
In our dyeing and washing processes we focus on using new techniques and better chemicals with a lower environmental impact. These chemicals comply with ór the certification the product or fabric has or our (M)RSL. Part of this document is the Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals MRSL, which restricts hazardous inputs throughout the chain. Certification with chemical restrictions we often used on our products or fabrics are GOTS, GRS and OEKO-TEX 100.
Since 2016 we’ve replaced the leather patches with jacron patches on the back of our jeans. Jacron is a washable and resistant material made from - in our case recycled - paper and glue. By using jacron patches, our jeans became vegan-proof. From 2020 we’ll gradually change to the Viridis patch from Panama trimmings. These green PU patches are made from 48% corn polyols, 26% cotton and 26% normal PU. Not only are our patches a vegan substitute for leather ones on denim, it also has a lower environmental and worker impact.
RECYCLED POLYESTER SEWING THREAD
We were the first denim brand using Ecoverde recycled polyester sewing threads by Coats. These recycled threads have exactly the same performance and durability as the non-recycled threads that are conventionally used but bring the benefit that no new resources are needed to produce the yarn. Coats, as a global leader in sewing threads, is working on improving their own sustainability and the ecoverde thread is one of the outcomes of this process.
The color indigo has a rich history. Natural indigo is one of the oldest colors used for dyeing textiles. Blue pigments – from plants – were rare and therefore it was an expensive color. In the 19th century synthetic indigo was developed which made it cheaper to use. Unfortunately, synthetic pigments cause way more pollution, as these pigments don’t biodegrade and therefore the water needs to be filtered with care.
CERTIFICATES & INITIATIVES
GLOBAL ORGANIC TEXTILE STANDARD
GOTS stands for the Global Organic Textile Standard. This is a global textile standard for organic fibres, which also includes ecological and social criteria. The aim of the standard is to ensure organic standards – from the farming, through the manufacturing process to the labeling – proven by a chain of custody in order to offer a credible global certificate to the consumer, from materials to the end product. GOTS has different cetification levels, raw matetials, yarns, fabrics and products can be GOTS certified. All the organic cotton we use, some of our fabrics (even our pocket lining!) and some full products are GOTS certified. At product level you can see what certification applies to the product.
GLOBAL RECYCLED STANDARD
The Global Recycling Standard is the twin sister of GOTS brought to life by Textile Exchange. GRS proves verified recycled content and also includes social and environmental criteria and chemical restrictions in processing. With GRS the origin of recycled material is also confirmed as pre- or post-consumer of all kinds of fibres, from natural to synthetic. At least 20% of the fibres in a product need to be of recycled origin to apply for a GRS certificate. We use GRS on fabrics with recycled content.
ORGANIC CONTENT STANDARD
In our fabrics with recycled fibres we do of course also use organic fibres. OCS certification is a standard to claim this organic content. They do not have extra criteria when it comes to environmental, chemical or social standards. Instead they fully focus on the credibilty of organic content. If a product consists of 5% to 95% you can apply for OCS blended certification or if more than 95% of the fibres are organic, OCS 100 can be applied for. For our recycled fabrics we often use OCS blended certification as proof for the organic content.
OEKO-TEX STANDARD 100
OEKO-TEX 100 is a certification standard that focuses on quality and chemical safety of textile products and accessories. The standard works with a criteria catalogue to which all different components of a product need to comply. Independent parties perform tests to check on, for instance, substances that are harmful to our health. In practice this means that all of our zippers, buttons and sewing threads are tested and clear of harmful substances. Also some of our fabrics are OEKO-TEX 100 certified, which means that the dyeing process is within the chemical limitations of the standard.
We’re very proud that almost all of our Pure Goods are fully vegan! Almost all our products are fully free of any animal contents, if not we mention this in the info of a product. All vegan products are easily recognisable by reading the 'Certifications & Sustainability' info on the product page.
From the beginning Kuyichi has been opposed using fur, that is why we're both on Fur free retailer list and Bontvrijlijst.
FAIR WEAR FOUNDATION
Since the beginning of 2020 we're a member of the Fair Wear Foundation. Fair Wear is an international independent organisation that fights for better labour conditions in the fashion industry. Since the beginning of 2020 we are a proud Fair Wear member. Fair Wear works on the principals of their ‘Code of Labour Practice’ (their own code of conduct), based on 8 internationally agreed labour standards, such as no child labour and reasonable working hours. Fair wear has a lot of tools and (local) in-depth knowledge to help us do better. With their support, we will work relentlessly on improving working conditions.
TRANSPARENCY PLEDGE & OPEN APPAREL REGISTRY
With signing the Transparency Pledge last November we pledged to at least bi-annually publish on our site an updated supplier list, stating full name, address, parent company, type of products and worker numbers. We’ve also uploaded this list to the Open Apparel Registry, an online database with all publicly available supply chain data. This database uses publicly available supplier lists or brands can upload their own. The goal is that the database sparks collaboration between brands and NGO’s and between brands that share the same facility to improve the working conditions in these facilities.
DUTCH AGREEMENT ON GARMENTS AND TEXTILES
The Dutch Agreement on Sustainable Garments & Textiles (AGT) is a coalition of brands, branch organisations & NGO’s that aim to improve working conditions, prevent polution and promote animal welfare in the industry. Their approach is based on the OECD guidelines, based on a continuous circle of improvement with risk analyses. AGT brands need to do risk analyses to define the risks that occur or are likely to occur in their supply chain. Based on their severity, brands need to start taking short and long-term SMART actions to limit these risks. Kuyichi has been part of the agreement since January 2019.
Circle Economy works to accelerate the transition to a circular economy. As an impact organisation, they work to identify opportunities to turn circular economy principles into practical reality. We started their Switching Gear project to set up an innovative circular business model. This project is a journey of 2 years guided by a multidisciplinary team of circularity experts, design thinkers and researchers. The Circle Economy team, together with their partners, will support Kuyichi in the design and launch of a circular business model pilot, that takes back and resells used denim, and combines a strong environmental and business case.
WATER FOOTPRINT IMPLEMENTATION
Water footprints (developed by Arjen Hoekstra in 2002) can be calculated for different things, from an individual person to a product’s entire value chain or nation. The Water Footprint Implementation is part of the Water Footprint Network and provides powerful insights for businesses to understand their water-related business risks. These help drive strategic action toward sustainable, efficient and equitable water use. Together with Water Footprint Implementation we will calculate the water footprint of our jeans. Not just a general number, but divided into groundwater (blue), rainwater (green) and wastewater (grey). Stay tuned!