The Komodo label began to the vibrant new soundtrack of House music in the heady summer of 1988 when the wind blew me back to Bali and I managed to rope in some friends from Bristol Poly to come and help out. Named after the dragon that had once tried to eat me in earlier backpacking days, the brand was born out of a sense of fun and travel, with a philosophy of fair trade for both the skillful people who made our clothes and also for the environmental effect of the materials we used - but mostly it was about living our own lifestyle and avoiding having to get a proper job !
Those were pioneering days for ethical fashion, only Katherine Hammnet was really making a point with it at the time and to be honest it wasn't as if we were campaigning for anything (except maybe Free Love!) it just seemed the right way to work. Now we have a whole world of ethical brands working with their own interpretations and that's great, 'cos you cant make a Scene on your own...
We are a Fashion Lifestyle brand first and do our best to be as ethical as we can in the process, rather than Eco-warriors trying to make fashion.
So, here we are more than 20 years on... still batting... still in London, Bali and Kathmnadu where it all began... still independent and true to our roots. We've seen some changes but still know it's quality that shines through and wins the day.
Joe Komodo says... "Get on the bus, always room for one more..."
ISO 14001 Registered
KOMODO is now an ISO 14001 registered company. ISO 14001 is the internationally recognised standard for the environmental management of businesses. It prescribes controls for those activities that have an effect on the environment. These include the use of natural resources, handling and treatment of waste, and energy consumption.
More information can be found here: ISO 14001 Explained
Click here to view current certification: Certificate No. EN1650 - Komodo
MADE-BY is an umbrella label used by fashion brands to indicate their clothes are okay: ie. they are produced in a sustainable manner. The brands affiliated to MADE-BY prefer using organic and eco friendly fabrics and working together with sewing factories that have a social code of conduct. MADE-BY is the first fashion initiative that focuses on environmental and working conditions throughout the entire production chain.
Komodo are proud to be a supporter and member of this organisation.
More information can be found here: www.made-by.org
Click here to view our scorecard: www.made-by.org/komodo
ABOUT OUR FACTORIES...
So, you wanna know where our stuff comes from? Here’s the story...
K is for KATHMANDU
K1 is our main No.1 factory… Whilst having tea during my latest visit in January we counted up and realized we’ve worked together without break for over 22 years (that’s 45 seasons!) – we wonder if any brand has worked so long and consistently with one factory. They have over the years molded the factory to suit our business and have now developed in-house laundry, placement and fabric printing, knitting and cut ‘n’ sew departments. They can make a huge variety of garments and have many hand skilled workers who’ve also been there for many years. We helped them attain the first ever SA8000 certification in Nepal - but unfortunately, due simply to lazy admin, they lost it recently. We are discussing ways to get it back as the factory practice hasn’t changed and their workers (aprox 200 staff) are very loyal and friendly. We spend nearly 3 months each year embedded in this factory developing new collections – luckily they make a good home made lunch !
K2 factory pre-dates even k1! They only make knitwear, have a lovely team of knitting ladies (aprox 50 staff) and also work for a Japanese craft brand.
K3 is a new one for us… A collaboration of 3 young owners; Indian, Nepali and Swedish ! – All very nice people, really concentrated and keen on getting up, running and sustainable. They have some other trendy European clients and we feel they can be a really good new supplier for us.
K4 is a young Nepali guy, Prayash, who set up in his own workshop a couple of years back when the factory he worked at was closed down by the Maoist protests (this has happened to more than half the garment factories in the country). He does a lot of our menswear and whilst he is still finding his feel, we feel it’s good to support him and hope he will establish himself for the long term.
K5 is a very old factory, that we once worked with through a friend back in the day and have started to use again recently for our big knits. Tibetan owned and run, they specialize in hand knitted garments. It’s pretty big, organized place with over 200 in the employees, mostly ladies, making beautiful quality specialist knits from big soft yarns. Don’t order too many as they are busy !
K6, K7 and K8 are established local eco handicraft factories. A market which we are dabbling with at the moment… lets see how it goes…
B is for BALI
Summer time see us down in Bali , where Komodo was born back in ’88.
B1 is owned by a lady, Rose, who was our shipper and friend back at the very begining. We rent an office in her factory and they make prints and cut ‘n’ sew Tencel and rayon items for us. They have aprox 150 people in their team, but we are only a small client for them really…
B2 is near the airport, run by a lovely Chinese lady called Maggie (who also runs a laundry - really !). We are a bigger client for their small unit and they try very hard to make a variety of items for us. They are very flexible and helpful to our requirements and we hope to see her business grow up with us.
B3 is our shoe factory. As I’ve known the owner since I was 14 (we went to school together) I guess this one has the most history. It’s a small workshop, about 30 workers that mostly come from Java to work when the bulk orders are in. We’re always trying new things there - new ways to make eco shoes that work!
L is for LITHUANIA
L1 is a collaboration thru Swiss company BiOre. They’re a super green eco company who make some of the finest organic cotton money can buy! They’re new to us, but we hope to run with them with your support. Their garments carry a QR code in the content label that allow you to see exactly where and by whom that garment was made and where the cotton was ciltivated – cant get more transparent than that!
So that’s the line up of where it all comes from.
We’re always looking for ways to produce more ecologically and efficiently. We talk about it each season when we visit the factories and spend time with the owners, managers and often the workers down the chain of command. They are all open factories and we are free to wander and discuss with anyone there. It’s very rare indeed that people leave their jobs with any of these factories, as they all know they are much better off than in most other places they can work.
We are facing the challenge of having these facilities certified, which is no easy task as non are in large commercial areas of the world and consequently off the radar as far as certifying bodies are concerned. They are all keen to be seen as fair and progressive and doing the right thing by their employees. Something which we certainly vouch for - otherwise we wouldn’t work there!
We hope that gives you a better picture of how and where we make things, but if you want to know more, just ask us!
Onwards ‘n’ Upwards…
- Joe Komodo
ABOUT OUR FABRICS...
Cotton is the most pesticide dependent crop in the world. Every T-shirt uses a quarter-pounders worth of toxic chemicals.
Organic Cotton uses none - it’s better for the land, the water and the people... Our Organic Cotton products are certified by Textile Exchange or Global Standard. Joe Komodo says - Be Nice !
Hemp fibre comes from the cannabis sativa plant which grows densly and swiftly in poor soil to a height of 4 meters giving a yield 3 to 4 times more than most substitues (like cotton) without the need of agro-chemicals. The plants do this by capturing very high levels of carbon dioxide. It is also the most useful plant on the planet. All our Hemp fabrics are certified by Textile Exchange - click for further information. Joe Komodo says - Hemp Works !
Linen yarns come from Flax plants - it is a historically prestigious fabric taking many skills to process it. It’s very breathable, ideal in warm weather and has a distinguished natural look and feel. Our Linen fabrics are certified by Textile Exchange - click for further information. Joe Komodo says - Perfect with a cup of tea !
Bamboo - Smooth and luxurious to the touch, bamboo fabric keeps you cool in high tempratures, while warming you when it’s cold. The fastest growing plant in the world, it thrives naturally without need of fertilizers or pesticides and needs very little water. It’s yeild is 10 times that of a cotton crop, which is great news for the soil too. Click here for more info / Click here for OEKO certificate Joe Komodo says... Grow baby grow !
Tencel is an award winning Eco Fibre made from tree cellulose farmed on wasteland.
It is highly economical in its use of energy and natural resources, it is bio-degradable and it feels great. Click here for more info.
Joe Komodo says - Sell Tencel !
Rayon is made from sustainable tree cellulose - it is not synthetic !
Invented in Paris over 100 years ago, it’s name derives from a word meaning 'Rays of Light' because it’s so good at showing colours without needing hard dyes and softners. Click here for more info.
Joe Komodo says - Shine On !
Wool - 100% pure. Komodo does not use man made substitues or blended yarns. Most of the wool we use is from non-mulesed sources and is unbleached. Our wool garments are often hand knitted and always hand finished this means every piece can have minor variations which is a sign of it's individuality.... not an imperfection!
Joe Komodo says... Vive la difference !
Recycled Rubber is what we use for the sole units of our shoes. For every 2 pairs of Komodo's we save another old tyre, from the landfill or the bonfire. Makes you wonder who's wearing the other half og this one - whoever it is, might be your sole mate!
Joe Komodo says - Eat, Pray, Love... Go for a walk !