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Monkee Genes Establishes a Niche for Youthful Eco-Friendly Denim

Enticing consumers to buy sustainable jeans can be challenging at times, but Monkee Genes is cracking the code with its denim designed for both budget-savvy and eco-conscious millennials.

Launched by Phil Wildbore in 2006, the U.K.-based brand wants to clean up the fast fashion scene with its youthful, price conscious and sustainable apparel offering. The brand, which features skinny and slim fit jeans, chino pants, tees and jackets in men’s and women’s styles, retails from $28 to $127.

One of its most popular product lines is the Organic Flex collection, a line of organic cotton stretch denim tested by gymnasts and other athletes. According to Wildbore, this collection has been a hit among consumers that want a more environmentally friendly denim alternative for their wardrobes.

“This denim was set to show you can do anything in your jeans as well as a promotion to start buying quality over quantity,” Wildbore told RIVET. “We want to encourage our shoppers that although they might be spending a little more on our jeans they will be getting something that will stand the test of time—color, shape and style.”

Additionally, Monkee Genes is committed to reducing its carbon footprint, starting with its denim production processes.

The company is working to develop an “eco wash” that uses a very small percentage of water than that of normal denim production, Wildbore told Rivet. “It’s important to work on sustainability, and there are so many innovative ideas coming through at the moment it’s exciting to introduce them to our range and hopefully inspire others to do the same the way other brands inspire us,” he added.

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Monkee Gene’s stance on sustainability extends to the treatment of its workforce, too. The company’s facilities undergo frequent audits to enforce safe conditions and ensure fair labor practices. Factories are also encouraged to follow social compliance standards, including those from non-profit Worldwide Responsible Accredited Production (WRAP) and supply chain management systems like the Business Social Compliance Initiative (BSCI).

RIVET caught up with Wildbore to discuss Monkee Genes’ Fall ’18 line and why he believes sustainable denim could take cues from the young consumers that are breaking down style boundaries.

RIVET: What’s new for Fall ’18?
Wildbore: My favorite is the wonderful Organic Jumbo Cord. I’ve sourced this from the oldest mill in Europe. It’s taken over 10 years to persuade them to make it using organic cotton.

RIVET: Describe the inspiration for the fall collection.
Wildbore: The new and inspiring youth coming through, breaking away from the high-street and social constructs.

RIVET: What were some of your best-selling items from last season and how are you carrying over those successful styles?
Wildbore: The ’90s vibe is only getting stronger so pulling out some original blocks from that era, as well as carrying over styles from the past two seasons that also reflect the ’90s theme.

RIVET: What are some important pieces for the season besides jeans?
Wildbore: The Jumbo Cord and our new Twill Yard pants.

RIVET: Are there any new material innovations for Fall ’18?
Wildbore: We are working on introducing recycled polyester into our Organic Flex collection.

RIVET: What’s the status of rigid denim? How is it represented in your collection?
Wildbore: Rigid denim has always been a part of the range in some form or another. For the last few seasons nearly half of our offer is rigid.

RIVET: What’s your overall prediction for the denim market in 2018?
Wildbore: It’s much more relaxed, mixing not dictating.