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Dutch Denim Brand Kings of Indigo Is Bankrupt

KOI International B.V., the owner of pioneering sustainable Dutch jeanswear brand Kings of Indigo, has filed for bankruptcy with the hope that it can find a “restart” for label with a new investor.

Its shareholders and team revealed the news Thursday in a letter that was posted on LinkedIn. “With everything going on in the world today, it was not possible to realize a new investment round in time. The shareholders have made every effort in recent months to arrange a refinancing, but unfortunately did not succeed in this,” the letter said.

The brand survived the bankruptcy of its previous owner, Varova Fashion Holding, in 2018 through a management buyout but said the combined factors of a challenging business transition, pandemic-related problems, late deliveries and inflation were responsible for the current insolvency.

“It absolutely hurts to leave behind everything we’ve worked so hard for. But I also feel genuine pride and appreciation for everything we have achieved with the team,” said founder Tony Tonnaer, a Rivet 50 honoree in 2020. “With Kings of Indigo we’re able to contribute to making the fashion industry more sustainable, showing other brands how to work cleaner and with more care for the people involved in this industry, without compromising on quality.”

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Tonnaer founded the Amsterdam-based brand in 2011 and launched it in 2012.

Based on its Instagram, the decision to declare bankruptcy was a sudden one. The label’s second-to-last post, published earlier this week, showed a branded Kings of Indigo mug and water bottle with the caption, “Cheers! Let us drink to ten years of sustainable innovation…. Raise your bottle and your mug and let’s be thankful for every step forward, towards a brighter future.” Another one, posted six days before, said, “The season for dark denim has arrived and we have everything you need.”

The brand exhibited at Amsterdam Denim Days last month.

The label was a sustainability forerunner with its use of biodegradable stretch denim, waterless washes and blockchain technology to trace material back to its source to exclude greenwashing. The latter was a key part of its traceable denim collection that it launched with Calik in 2021.

“Pioneering requires time, money and perseverance and we were more than willing to put the effort in, together with our partners in the supply chain and distribution,” the letter continued. “We hope that brands and retailers will continue the development to make the fashion industry a bit more friendly for our planet and those we share it with.”

The Kings of Indigo online shop is “currently unavailable” according to the website.

The company has appointed a bankruptcy trustee, D. Cohen Tervaert, who is said to be “investigating the possibilities for a restart.”