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2015-02_dc

D+C Vol.42.2015:2 29 Slow fashion When Kuyichi started in 2001, it was the first brand to sell fair and ecologically produced jeans. What was the motive? Kuyichi was founded by the non-governmental or- ganisation (NGO) Solidaridad, which wanted to in- troduce organic cotton in the clothing industry. Ear- lier, the NGO had focussed on fairtrade organic coffee and fruits, and it was known that the cotton industry caused a lot of problems. At the time, brands like Patagonia had started to use organic cotton for out- door clothing, but the fashion industry hardly used organic cotton at all. Solidaridad tried to convince big players in the denim industry of organic cotton, but they were not interested. So Solidaridad started a new fashion brand to improve matters in develop- ing countries both in regard to the natural environ- ment and the labour situation. Organic jeans production is known to be especially challenging. Why did the brand not start with T-shirts? Kuyichi wanted an entire collection. If you only sell T-shirts, you do not have a brand. In what sense are Kuyichi jeans cleaner than others? There are numerous certification and accreditation systems for organic clothing at national and interna- tional levels. Some of them indicate what share of the fibres was grown organically; others indicate that the fabric was made in an eco-friendly way. Most of our denim fabrics are GOTS certified. The acronym stands for Global Organic Content Standard. GOTS covers both aspects. The standard is meant to protect the environment and all workers, from the fields to the factories. Obviously, GOTS also serves consumer health. Fabrics that comply with GOTS have at least 95 % organic content and are treated with certified dye stuff. Do you rely on other standards too? Yes, some Kuyichi jeans comply with the Organic Content Standard 100, which also requires a mini- mum of 95 % organic material. A small part of our collection contains recycled cotton or recycled poly- ester; for these garments we use OCS Blended and Global Recycle Standard certification. Our particular strength is that we almost only use certified organic cotton and other sustainably produced materials in our collection. Kuyichi also aspires to improve work con­ ditions. How do you define fair conditions? We appreciate the work done by the Fair Wear Foun- dation (FWF), an independent, non-profit organisa- tion dedicated to improving labour conditions for garment workers around the world. We have pledged to live up to the eight labour standards of the FWF’s Code of Labour Practices – or CoLP for short: freely chosen employment, freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining, no discrimination in employment, no child labour, payment of a living wage, reasonable working hours, Interview with Monique Voorneman Jeans production is known to severely harm the environment and the health of factory workers. Some brands are improving production methods and labour conditions. Eva-Maria Verfürth talked to Monique Voorneman of the Dutch brand Kuyichi, a pioneer in organic jeans production. Kuyichi Interwashing in Tuni- sia, employing more than 300 workers, is one of Kuyichi’s main laundries: production processes include washing, special ef- fects like denim shad- ing and 3D effect (like wrinkling).

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