Founder’s Letter: Transformers Foundation Built on Independence & Expertise

Its Kingpins Show time and my calendar is happily packed with appointments and meetings while excitement is bubbling inside me in anticipation of seeing everyone again — and, of course, being in the one and only Amsterdam. 

Friends of Kingpins (who I lovingly call “FOKS”) always laugh because the weather, which in Amsterdam is generally  “great/horrible/rainy/lovely,” has been from our first show in 2014,  bright, sunny, positive and rather dry. I hope admitting this is not putting a hex on the next 5 years of weather, but it’s the truth. Kingpins always has great weather.

Transformers Foundation

Son of Kingpins

In early September, Miguel Sanchez (member of the Transformers Foundation board) and I were invited to the Bluezone Show by the proprietors. It was the first time I’d been at a show other than ours since 2003 and I loved it.  Great show, great weather (of course) and great time to meet people and wallow in the enormous luxury of having time to sit and chat with people I always wanted to talk to. 

The reason we were invited to Bluezone was that they agreed to have the Transformers Foundation speak at their event. This was a great opportunity for Transformers to share their information and programs and we are grateful for their kind collaboration. They are true ‘FOKS”.

While Transformers Foundation was born from the Kingpin’s Transformers, it now operates entirely separately from Kingpins. The Kingpins team has no idea what Transformers are doing or knows anything more than what the public knows. It’s more or less like Kingpins having a baby that goes on to do great things and never shares its work with their parents unless they ask.

Intelligence Team: Emily Olah/Executive Director, Miguel Sanchez/Technology Director,

Kim van der Weerd/Intelligence Director, Ani Wells/Communications Director

The Transformers Foundation started in 2020 and it was funded and is still funded by members of the supply chain.  It is the supply chain that has the most experience in the production of fiber (synthetic or natural); chemistry; denim manufacturing; and or machinery — and it’s that experience from producing and investing that gives the supply chain the gravity to express seriously important information.

The mission of the Foundation is to:

  • -Commit to the open sharing of best practices
  • -Encourage and give visibility and support sustainable progress
  • -Challenge unclear and non solid marketing claims
  • -Transparently celebrate best-in-class and innovation

We believe our industry needs experts to share their valuable know-how and while I am no real technical expert, I know a lot of them and am grateful for their contributions.

As founder of this foundation, there is no point to starting an organization like this unless there are people to carry it out and make it pertinent and of serious use.  Our team works tirelessly to accomplish our goals.

In 2022, Transformers ED will have completed four educational events targeted to students who aspire to be in our  beloved denim industry, one each in Amsterdam, England, Pakistan, and Turkey.  For industry members who have a desire to continue to learn,  we will have completed  Season 2 of The Truth Series by the end  of the year. The series consists of four episodes that you might not wish to miss:

  • -Chemical Terms You Need to Know in Fashion,
  • -Waste & Circularity in Denim,
  • -Carbon & Decarbonization in Denim
  • -The Truth About Indigo.

The Truth Series is focused on discovering the “truth” about pressing topics in our industry and relies on top experts in each field to discuss and debate them.

In 2021 — in case you missed it — we kicked off the Truth series with a special edition about words that we all hear in the industry that don’t necessarily express what we think.  We followed that valuable edition with these three episodes:

  • -Greenwashing
  • -Cotton Claims
  • -Regenerative Agriculture

Transformers also have its “to do list.” Before December arrives, we’ll share our Chemistry Report, which is about the complexity in our industry, the waste of time and money chemistry testing costs. Along the same lines as last year’s cotton report, it is a deep dive into what’s going on, and put in a way that ensures you won’t fall asleep reading it.  At least we hope so.  And as a Transformers hallmark, we suggest solutions for consideration.

Another “to do” (which will not be ready this year) is a scientific tool that evaluates (module by module) the environmental impact of the entire supply chain. This will be called the Transformers Transparency Tool and there will be a lot more to say when the baby is born.

Lastly, and not least importantly, we do in-person conferences or did them pre-Covid when digital versions were created.  Mark your calendars.  We will conduct the next conference in-person on April 18, 2023.  The subject is not decided yet but we will definitely prepare something memorable.

This is the first time I’ve ever written about the Foundation in this newsletter.  It’s an organization hell-bent on changing things that are changeable and focused on letting experts tell you what are best practices. It’s a place of enormous sharing, of a lot of people’s life learnings.  It’s there for you

Enjoy Kingpins.

-Andrew Olah

About Transformers Foundation:

Transformers Foundation is the unified voice representing the denim industry and its ideas for positive change. It was founded to provide a thus-far missing platform to the jeans and denim supply chain, and a central point of contact for consumers, brands, NGOs, and media who want to learn more about ethics and sustainable innovation in the industry.

We represent the denim supply chain: from farmers and chemical suppliers to denim mills and jeans factories.


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