Copen’s Sustainable Approach Within The Denim Industry

Sustainability is key nowadays as we strive to protect our environment and planet. The evidence within the textile industry is clear as major brands lead the way to promote cleaner processes and fabrics, especially within the denim industry. We see new technologies as laser and Ozon are pioneering ways to give jeans a vintage or worn look and feel whilst respecting the environmental impact. These technologies reduce and eliminate water and chemicals used during the finish of jeans. Also, the production of denim fabrics is different than before, they are using more and more techniques to reduce water usage by using foam or other innovative ways to color the yarns with indigo.

Sustainability within the denim industry goes further. Not only the outer denim fabric itself, but also the pocketing of jeans are produced sustainably. Copen United Limited, as a global supplier to the major brands, has been leading the way for the development of sustainable pocketing and lining materials to complement the efforts being made by the denim producers and manufacturers. This with the vision to ensure they can make a difference to the final garment and contribute to the environmental drive in the denim industry. It is the mission of Copen United Limited to gradually convert the pocketing and lining products which they supply within the denim and textile industry to sustainable materials.


Copen have established their brand name “ENCORE” in the market and currently provide pocketing materials with BCI Certifications, Organic (GOTS) and recycled polyester generated from plastic bottles which are supported by Unifi, Contol Union and Copen United GRS Certifications.

As a pocketing and trim supplier, Copen is working hard to make a difference in the market and they’re extremely proud to inform the industry that they currently sell in excess of “10 MILLION YARDS” of pocketing with recycled polyester per annum, and they continue to grow significantly in this area as the market demands are increasing, and more more brands become aware of the sustainable goals within our industry.

Aqua Free Collection

Copen has recently launched their new “Aqua Free” collection at Milan Denim By PV Exhibition, they’re working with a reputable polyester filament yarn and fiber producer to produce a fiber which performs physically better than normal polyester fiber. Mixing this fiber with good quality cotton created a special yarn called: Vigor Yarn.

Within the production of 1 yard pocketing normally, they used 3.5 liters of water, but with Aqua Free no water is needed anymore. This new yarn is made with a hot air process and lets the new Copen fabric perform physically the same or even better than before. There’re several products made in this new collection which can be made available from the Copen global locations.

The Copen Experience By Kings Of Indigo

Next, to this new collection, Copen is working and offering more sustainable solutions to many of the leading denim brands and retailers. One company which has made a significant difference in the industry is KOI & KO. What’s better than to ask one of the most sustainable denim brands in the market, Tony Tonnaer, CEO and founder Kings of Indigo, about his experiences with Copen on this hot topic.

tony tonnaer longjohn

Tony Tonnaer, CEO and founder Kings of Indigo.

LJ: How important is sustainability for Kings of Indigo as a brand?

TT: It’s very important, it’s in our DNA since the launch in 2011 and I worked with this concept already with the Kuyichi brand since 2003 – 2010.

LJ: Does your end-consumers are aware of your sustainable approach?

TT: I think half of our end-consumers are aware of this as we did not over-communicate it on our product, but we do more so as the consumers are more interested in it and also ask for it.

LJ: And how do you communicate this?

TT: Quite subtle on the product, clear and short so regular consumers understand it and the focus is still on design, fit, quality, comfort, image, etc. On the website, we have more elongated stories about how we work for those who are more interested and critical on what they buy and from who.

LJ: How does Copen fit into your sustainable approach?

TT: As Kings of Indigo we’re only using quality fabrics for the next era, so we’re very critical on what pocketing we use and how sustainable this fabric is.

LJ: What makes Copen the perfect partner to accomplish your sustainable goals?

TT: Copen especially in the past 5 years been really pro-active on developing innovations in more sustainable pocketing. K.O.I. is always looking for the next step in circular working, so we need a committed partner for that, which is Copen.

Kings of Indigo pocketing by Copen.

LJ: Why is Copen different than other pocketing companies in your opinion/experience?

TT: For us, it’s innovation and stock service in the country we work in.

LJ: Do you think sustainability will be key, standard, in the future?

TT: Yes, there is no way back. The brands who do not work in this way will not make it in the end.

LJ: What do you think pocketing is a key factor in the denim world of sustainability?

TT: I think all the elements in jeans are key, so not only organic cotton or sustainable wash, but all elements of jean from cotton, weaving, dyeing, washing, trims, and finishing. From an ethical, economic and environmental point of view. So pocketing is also very important to have this circular.

LJ: Sustainability goes further than the production chain of fabrics within a company, so how does Copen jump on this issue in your experience?

TT: In the end, we should make and use as many as recycled fabrics in our collections, fabrics which also can be easily upcycled or recycled again so we use less new resources. By using part recycled polyester in the pocketing, that is a great step, of how we can have the organic cotton replace by recycled cotton to have a 100% recycled and recyclable pocketing and garment, we make huge steps for humanity.

Written by Wouter Munnichs
I'm the founder of Long John. Next to running this daily magazine, I'm working as a freelance denim specialist for the industry. Titled as 'Denim Influencer 2020' by Rivet 50. Celebrated my 10th anniversary with Long John in 2021.