Back in 1988 Komodo grew out of an epic travel adventure story.
Inspired by the culture and colours of Asia and passionate about creating an eclectic mix out of Eastern and Western design ideas, Komodo became the label to watch at fashion shows in London, Paris, Florence and Tokyo.
Joe Komodo says.. "It's a privilege of our civilization to dress up in comfort and style, but it's also the responsibility of todays fashion designers to make that style fairly and sustainable for those who work on it - otherwise, you can only pretend it's cool !"
Komodo has been a pioneer brand, promoting the use and development of Organic Cotton, Hemp, Bamboo, Tencel and other natural fibres since the early 90s. Equally important was the welfare of the suppliers and people who work in the small factory units that make our clothes. There needs to be loyalty and respect to make a good deal for all and we still visit our factories for at least 2 months+ each year to ensure that any problems are solved together.
Today we design beautiful collections in our studio with the best available eco fabrics and carefully tailored using traditional skills in clean and fair factories. We also try to fund good projects we believe in with sustainable support and we promote good practice to all those we can reach.
- Joe Komodo
Their mission is to support and promote sustainable practices, facilitate collaboration, raise awareness and provide the tools and resources needed to reduce poverty, reduce environmental damage and raise standards in the fashion industry.
More information can be found here: www.ethicalfashionforum.com
Komodo has reduced its CO2 emissions to net zero in accordance with The CarbonNeutral Protocol. As a result, our London office has CarbonNeutral® status as verified by an independent organisation.
The CarbonNeutral Company is a world-leading provider of carbon reduction solutions. It works with over 300 businesses in 32 countries to develop offset inclusive carbon reduction programmes which enable companies to increase revenue, manage costs and engage stakeholders. Since 1997, The CarbonNeutral Company has purchased carbon credits from more than 200 projects in 24 countries.
CarbonNeutral® is the registered trademark of The CarbonNeutral Company and is a global standard to certify that businesses
have measured and reduced their CO2 emissions to net zero for their company, products, operations or services in accordance with The CarbonNeutral Protocol. The CarbonNeutral Company has offices in London, New York and Singapore and is a founding member of The International Carbon Reduction and Offset Alliance (ICROA), which provides leadership and a unified voice in advocating for rigorous offset industry standards.
More information can be found here: www.carbonneutral.com
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 non. It's better for the land, the water and the people... All our Organic Cotton is GOTS certified - 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 GOTS certified. Joe Komodo says... Hemp Works !
Bamboo - Smooth and luxurious to the touch, bamboo fabric keeps you cool in high temperatures, 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 - Joe Komodo says... Grow baby grow !
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 !
Soya fibre is made from the waste that comes from Soya bean cake after Tofu and other foods are made,
it's the only plant protein fibre, so it's healthy to wear. It dyes, washes and dries more easily than other
natural fabrics and it doesn't shrink or crease - Joe Komodo says... Try it... you'll feel delicious !
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 - Joe Komodo says - Perfect with a cup of tea !
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 !
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 of this one - whoever it is, might be your sole mate! - Joe Komodo says... Eat, Pray, Love... Go for a walk!
Wool - Komodo does not use man made substitues or blended yarns. Our wool is 100% pure and is sourced from countries that do not practise Muesling. Please note however, our wool is not currently certified organic - this is something we are working on and hope to have in production in the very near future. 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!
ABOUT OUR SUPPLIERS - Factory Code of Conduct...
We produce our garments in factories in Kathmandu, Nepal and Bali in Indonesia. We have been working with many of these factories since the early days of the brand in the late 80s. They are medium-sized family-run businesses that have grown with us over the years, in turn helping each other to shape the business that we are today. Generally it is very rare that we see workers from any of our factories leave their jobs.
Since the beginning the business ethics of Komodo have always been a priority and it’s always been important that the way in which we manufacture our products be sensitive to the environment and that the people involved at every step of the process are treated with respect, receive a fair wage, and are not expected to work in uncomfortable or hazardous conditions.
In addition to any certifications held we also closely monitor all facilities we use through regular visits - at least twice a year for up to 6 weeks at a time. This way we can see at first hand how these facilities are run and meet the people that we are indirectly employing. In addition to this we ask that factories make available to us relevant certificates issued to them by local government.
Below is a list of requirements, which we expect the factories we use to follow and an explanation of what these mean.
No child labour or forced labour
In accordance with the International Labour Conventions (ILO) no child labour will be used in the production of our garments. The factories used by Komodo do not employ any underaged employees. Factories are required to keep an employee register and age certification is mandatory in order to sign a contract of employment.
NO Exploitation of Work Force
Exploitation of the local workforce still does occur in today's globalized economy. So it is important to be vigilant. Typically employees work a 42-hour week, their wages being paid regularly with overtime being voluntary and paid. Workers are entitled to a 1-hour break in every 8-hour shift. They also have one day a week off and are allowed to observe religious and cultural holidays of which there are many. Factories work with time cards systems in order to log hours worked by their staff. Almost all workers making Komodo receive more than average and more than minimum wages for their roll.
No-Discrimination Employment Policy
Our factories do no discriminate against employees based on race, colour, sex, religion, political affiliation or social origin.
Regular Meetings are held between the owners of the factories and their staff whereby any grievances or complaints the workforce might have is addressed and resolved.
Additional Employee Benefit
These differ between factories, but include programs like residential dormitories, food allowances and internal medical insurance programs.
We insist that all our suppliers pay their staff a decent living wage.
2. Work Place Conditions
Health and Safety
Staff receive training dependant on the nature of their work, so that any occupational hazards can be avoided. All machinery is regularly inspected; maintenance records kept and full operating instructions are available to employees. Only trained staff are allowed to handle any hazardous materials. First aid training is provided to managers.
Fires in garment factories have been all over the news in recent years and have led to too many deaths that could have been avoided if basic fire safety policies had been followed. We expect our CMT (cut make trim) factories to hold fire safety certificates issued by local government, subject to regular inspections.
Basic hygiene throughout factories is expected to be of a high standard, particularly in communal staff areas, for example sleeping dormitories and food preparation areas.
3. Environmental Policy
Our concern for our manufacturing partners is that they try to reduce waste and recycle as much as possible. However, when waste unavoidably arises as a by-product of the production process we make sure our factories dispose of it in clean, safe and environmentally friendly way. All factories sell their scrap waste to recycling units. Every factory does its best to conserve energy and run efficiently.
Photographs by Bibhas Suwal at our K1 factory - Kathmandu Nepal, May 2014
Social projects and charities we support...
Komodo have supported the wonderful Sunrise Orphanage for many years now. Since Joe first met their charming and inspiring founder Emma Taylor at the famous Upstairs Jazz bar in Kathmandu...
The problems of the Maoist insurrection and effective civil war that raged in Nepal for years caused many problems. For us and the garment industry it caused massive upheaval, but the disruption it gave us was nothing compared to the thousands of Orphans whose parents were victims of the bitter and twisted conflict.
Emma (from Adelaide, Australia) changed her life and dedicated her career to help give these kids a home. Having been out to visit her houses in recent years and seen how happy and well cared for those children are, I'm always glad to have the opportunity to make donations to support her projects.
We recently sponsored the Playground at their new house in the village of Gurje, about 20km north of Kathmandu in the Nuwakot District. Here's a photo of me in 2014 with some of the kids - they play a mean game of football !
More information on the children's village and other Sunrise projects can be found here : http://www.scai.org.au/
On my recent trip to Kathmandu I accompanied Emma from Sunrise Orphanage and two of her older kids from Sunrise to visit the Nepal Eco Fair. It was great to see so much practical innovation in action. One of the most interesting exhibits was an odd looking bike and we met a young American dude called Caleb Spear who had invented 'Portal Bikes '... He and his new wife had moved to Nepal from America and built a factory producing simple attachments and make modifyed bicycles which convert them into so much more than there primary function would suggest. From producing electricity to was clothes, pumping water to multi person transportation. All things which can have a huge impact on the livelihood of individuals and make important to contributions to communities in developing countries.
So, after a long discussion with Emma, we commissioned a heavy duty bicycle that will allow the kids at the Sunrise Orphanage to do their laundry via pedal power ! It’s a really cool idea and we hope to see it come to life this winter - We'll keep you posted... In the meantime you can find more information here : www.portalbikes.org
Komodo has been a proud supporter of S.O.S. (Sumatran Orangutan Society) since the early 90's when I met and became inspired by their founder, the Late and great Lucy Wisdom. We help out with some production and mostly shipping their merchandise back from Bali to London. We sponsor an Orangutan called Waikiki and meet up with their guys in Indonesia from time to time. We plan to do some sales promotions with them too to try to raise more funds for their vital work.
You can find more information here : www.orangutans-sos.org
One of the most exciting projects we worked on with S.O.S. was in 2011 when Komodo donated a life sized orangutan sculpture decorated by artist Caz Haigh. Hati (as we decided to name our decorated jungle queen) formed part of the Edinburgh fringe "Jungle City" event. After the exhibition she was sold at auction, the proceeds going to S.O.S. helping them to continue their important work in Sumatra.
Here's a poem by Joe Komodo, in his own inimitable style, about the plight of our not-so-distant ginger cousins...
Orang-Utan means 'Jungle Man '... He's our closest Ape Relation,
Family ties? ...nope, Greed 'n' Lies and yet more de-forestation.
His Eviction - lets vote and choose...
Every which way but Loose !
For I 'n' I must protect one another.
Joe Komodo says... "S.O.S.! 'coz I'm a Jungle Brother !"
For Everyone, especially those of us who live and work in Bali, the memories of the infamous Kuta Bombings will linger forever... As devastatingly sad as the reality was, it’s hard to know what can be done about it...
We had some ideas but they didn’t really bear fruit - but for one man, Mark Weingard, who's fiancee was one of more than 200 lives lost to this madness, he found a way to create a positive legacy from this disaster. The Annika Linden Foundation recently re-branded as 'Inspirasia' is a brilliant organisation that has build a wonderful meeting centre and facility in Bali that supports dozens of charitable projects across Bali and Asia. We are proud to support their work and promote their values.
You can find more information here : www.inspirasia.org
HOME & LIFE FOUNDATION
This project was set up to support the too many thai orphans left from the Boxing Day Tsunami. I was introduced to it by my step brother, who has spent a season there as a volunteer. It’s a small NGO doing a great job which we felt we should contribute to and would like to do more for them in future. To date we have made a small start in supporting their work by sending some of our clothing. We hope you can join us in this endevour to improve the lives of these children.
You can find more information here : www.homelifethailand.com
In 2008 we collaborated with WaterAid UK and footwear retailer SCHUH to develop our "Water For Africa" shoe. The shoe was designed and sourced by Komodo and was manufactured in conjunction with Taiwanese ethical footwear sourcing specialst ShoeTec. A donation from the sale of every pair was made by Komodo to WaterAid, which was then distributed betwen a number of projects they were supporting in Africa at the time. These projects ranged from the supply of building materials to build proper waste water systems to supplies of safe water and sanitation and hygiene education in communities.
2009 saw Komodo collaborate with UK housing and homelessness charity Shelter. At the time, the charity were the official sponsor of Glastonbury Music Festival's John Peel stage. The late, great, DJ, radio presenter, record producer and journalist had been a life long supporter of the charity and left a substantial legacy to them in his will. Komodo's long standing relationship with Glastonbury Festival (having had a pitch there since 1988) made for the perfect project all round. The design was created by our in-house designer Tony Mountford and featured a typical Peel-esque quote that any fan of his show would recognise. Over 2000 t-shirts were sold during the summer of that year contributing a massive donation to the charity, helping them to continue their exemplary work which started back in the 1960's.
The above image show Kelly Okereke of the band Bloc Party on stage at Glastonbury 2009 - More photos of late 2000's celebrities showing their support for the project can be seen here : Shelter UK on Flickr
I knew almost nothing about Tibet untill I stumbled into Kumbun monastery as a wide eyed 18 year old back packer in 1983... I found that once you meet the Tibetan people it's hard not to fall in love with them and their story - I was hooked. Trying to get around the border controls, I read more about their plight under the brutal chinese occupation of their country and soon became a supporter of their cause. When I met Free Tibet Campaign founder Robbie Barnett we resolved to pledge our support to their noble quest. Komodo have been making donations now and again for the last 20 years, we only hope they can get bigger and more regular.
Joe Komodo says... "Don't Forget Tibet !"
Free Tibet Campaign stands for the Tibetans right to determine their own future. It campaigns for an end to China's occupation of Tibet and for Tibetans fundamental human rights to be respected. Founded in 1987, Free Tibet Campaign generates active support by educating people about the situation in Tibet. It is independent of all governments and is funded by its members and supporters. Further information can be found at : www.freetibet.org
Komodo donate 10% of every sale of Free Tibet Sneakers to the campaign to help them continue their important work.