Name: Dion Vijgeboom
Instagram ID: @figtori
Daily work: Co-Owner MUD Jeans
Who are you and what are you doing within the (denim) industry?
I am Dion Vijgeboom – Co-Owner and Denim Expert at MUD Jeans. My background is in product development and sourcing and this has evolved into a mission to make the denim industry clean and circular.
What are you currently working on?
Our aim is to make fabrics that consist of 100% post consumer cotton, while this cotton comes completely from worn out jeans. Although there are many claims of 100% recycled fabrics; they always contain pre-consumer waste; this is not bad, but far from the ultimate objective of circular jeans. Besides that we are working on an exciting collaboration with the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam.
What is the biggest achievement so far in your career?
I would say that must be the relationships with our supply partners. Especially with Yousstex International in Tunisia the collaboration goes way deeper than that of a regular supplier. Also Tejidos Royo and Recover/Ferre in Spain are true partners.
In terms of professional achievements the collaboration we did with IKEA has been awesome. For us as a small company to be working with such an enormous institute is quite an experience. And lastly of course the way we have been able to build MUD Jeans; from basically a good idea – to the established company that we are today makes me very proud.
What is/are your favorite denim brand(s), and why?
MUD Jeans – no explanation needed :-) What we do comes from the DNA of the brand, and is not something imposed by others. This makes it fun, rewarding and meaningful.
Besides that; Studio D’artisan and Orslow from Japan. The combination of materials, fits and quality represent the Japanese Denim Industry at its best.
What is your favorite denim store, and why?
Benny’s Store in Hong Kong. My good friend Lau Sau Nam took me there many years ago. I have only been there a few times, but the type of product they have is in the category I described earlier. I cannot imagine they make a lot of money; but the love for the product is amazing.
What do you think we can expect in the (near) future of denim developments as it comes to sustainability?
Hopefully (and probably) a lot; the percentage of post consumer recycled cotton in new fabrics will go up. The challenge will be to set up the reverse logistics.
Another development will be in the way fabrics are dyed; water and chemical use will decrease.
Near-shoring and regional production will become a hot topic. Cotton from Europe, manufacturing within Europe will allow for hi-tech solutions with great efficiency and high quality. This will impact the footprint of a pair of jeans drastically in many ways.
What is the most valuable lesson your have learned during your work?
Relationships within the industry are priceless. I can’t judge how this works in other industries because I don’t know them that well, but in the denim world I have learnt that relationships can last very, very long and are extremely valuable. Nothing that I personally, or we at MUD Jeans as brand have achieved would have been possible without the support and trust of peers within our circle.
If you could be someone else for one day, who would you be, and why?
In today’s world I would want to be Putin for one day and put an immediate end to shit he has started in Ukraine and consequently the rest of the world. Like many others I find it so hard to believe this is happening in 2022. It makes me sad, angry and scared all at the same time.
Can you describe your ultimate pair of jeans?
The ultimate pair of jeans is made out of 100% post consumer recycled cotton, 12Oz, non-stretch and dyed with natural indigo but in a technique that is yet to be invented. Manufactured for 75% by automated machines, all in Europe. If it needs to be washed; this is done already before stitching by laser on the pattern parts. Might sound geeky, but not impossible. Candiani and C&A are already moving in this direction in Europe and Saitex and Artistic (Star Fades) in the US.
Do you have a life slogan, or one that inspires you?
Don’t wait till tomorrow.
My biggest decisions in life were impulsive and I don’t regret a single one of them