inspiration2021/10/06

KOMODO X Jodie Burrage

Photographs by Wolf & Badger

Komodo have been dedicated to creating clothes without leaving a negative impact on the environment since 1988. Recently the brand, based between London, Bali and Kathmandu, has collaborated with rising tennis star, Jodie Burrage, to share their joint passion for creating a more sustainable world. Following the UK’s recent win at the US Open, we spoke with Mark Bloom, founder of Komodo, and Jodie to learn more about the collaboration.

Mark, tell us a bit about the background of Komodo - what is the brand's ethos?

Komodo fashion was born out of the extraordinary Summer of Love in 1988 and within a year was one of the best known British street and club wear brands of that time, serving some of the most iconic stores around the world. Working out of Bali and Kathmandu as I rekindled relationships made during my backpacking days, our ethos was rooted in the spirit of co-operation between the handicraft skills and techniques of local artisans and our quest for exotic, flamboyant fashion for clubbers.

The Komodo designs use a number of innovative fabrics, can you please tell us a bit more about these?

We were always looking for something different more eco-friendly. From our early days experimenting with hemp, tree bark and yak wool to the arrival of organic cottons and bamboo, tencel, modal, we've used rice stalk mats, up-cycled tyres in our shoes and recycled all sorts of things. This season we have just added a fabric made from corn! 

As well as this, Komodo has a long history of working with a number of charities and social projects - tell us about some areas you're currently supporting. 

After spending so much time with our producers in Bali, Nepal and India, we became aware of the needs of local people and their environment. Some of my friends were working in NGOs and set up charitable projects too. As Komodo started to make money from our goods created in these places, I felt it was only right to give something back by donating to local causes. 

We have a long history of planting trees, regenerating the forests in Bali and Nepal and mostly in Sumatra with SOS who are engaged in vital rehabilitation of orphaned orangutans. We have built schools in Tibet and in Nepal and Sumatra, and these projects are ongoing - we all need to do what we can!

The brand recently started sponsoring up and coming tennis player, Jodie Burrage - how exciting! How did this relationship come about?

We were approached by Jodie's manager who was looking for sponsorship. I explained we don’t sponsor sports people as it's not our field, but as we learnt more about Jodie, we rethought our original response!

How do you feel that Komodo and Jodie align, are there shared values that you can please talk us through?

Jodie has a positive attitude towards the environment and cares about the impact her sport will have. She is keen to raise awareness of pressing environmental issues and hopes to influence others who follow her example. We feel the same and so it felt like a perfect match to support her!

What will this relationship look like and how will Komodo be supporting Jodie?

We have sponsored Jodie's electric BMW 3-i car, along with Midstream Lighting, because Jodie needs to travel often for competitions and we both acknowledge the negative environmental impacts of fuel. Jodie also looks great in the pieces from our collection! We enjoyed her visit to our showroom and her achievements in reaching Wimbledon and the US open are terrific. We are so glad to support women's sport and we hope Jodie will continue to shine on the tennis court! 

Jodie, how would you say you approach your career with an eco mind?

Being honest, it’s not easy to be environmentally friendly as a tennis player. I do have to travel, there is no getting around that, and often the use of plastic bottles at tournaments is beyond my control. That said, I do try and control the things I can and make decisions to be more eco-conscious in my day to day life. From thinking about how I travel to how I use or reuse products, those decisions all play an important part in working towards the protection of the environment. 

Might you have any tips for our readers as to how to live more sustainably day to day?

I make a conscious effort to recycle whenever I can. I use a reusable bottle when I train and compete, when I don’t have that option, for example at an event, I’m conscious to recycle or reuse plastic bottles as well. I base myself in London and have been lucky to receive the support of Komodo in getting an electric car. I use that to get to and from the national tennis centre - they also have charging stations there which is very useful. I realise that these are not revolutionary changes but if we all make the small changes, cumulatively we can make a big difference.  

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