Kiyuchu, Kichu – We’ve heard it all over the years. What is Kuyichi and what does our name mean? There’s a good reason why we chose it and to understand, we have to take a little dive into our heritage.
Our journey started in 2000, on the cotton fields of Oro Blanco, Peru. When one of our founders (Solidaridad, a Dutch NGO) visited the local cotton fields, they were shocked by the impact of the regular cotton industry on local farmers and the environment. There was a small group of organic cotton farmers, but at the time, not enough parties were interested in buying fair and organic fabrics and end products. Simply because there was no market for it. Nobody in the chain cared – both the supplier, the retailer and the end consumer – and therefore it was also too expensive.
This had to change. They decided to take matters into their own hands and started fair-trade and organic collaborations with local cotton farmers, rewarding them and everyone involved in the supply chain for their hard work. To give the farmers their fair share, a good life and a bring back a healthy soil.
The best way to create a market for fair and organic cotton was to start a brand. Our mission: to change the fashion industry from within, to inspire others to start using this cotton and give people the opportunity to choose for a more sustainable – and still stylish – alternative. Kuyichi was born. The most commonly worn product made of cotton is a pair of jeans, especially in our home country The Netherlands. The denim industry is also one of the most polluting ones in the entire fashion industry. That’s why we started making 100% organic denim as the first brand ever.
We named our brand after the Peruvian (Inca) God of the rainbow, K’uychi or Coichi, who brings colour and positivity to the earth and all living things. It’s a name that we can still identify with, almost 20 years later. It’s still what we’re here for in the fashion industry: to create a system that is good for everyone in the chain. The people who make our products, the planet, the people who wear our pure goods and the people who work at our brand.
A lot has changed over the years. Our production moved closer to our home base. We now mainly produce in Turkey, the same country where we get our cotton from. GOTS certified organic cotton, to be exact (read more about it here). We’re happy to see that fair and organic fashion has become more common over the past few years. The system is changing, slowly but surely. The world will always need colour and positivity and therefore Kuyichi (phonetically pronounced as koo-ee-chee) will always be a name that we’re proud of.