It has been three years now since I decided to stop making purchases with any fast fashion retailers. What I've discovered is that it is actually very easy to find fashion companies that I am more than happy to support. There is a growing number of brands that have one or more elements of sustainability to their mission and product, and that is incredibly exciting! In an attempt to help you find cool new clothing while voting for better products and better business practices with your almighty consumer's dollar, I will be sharing one of these companies with you every week.
If you would like these "Good Fashion" articles sent to your inbox each week, please leave your email address in the comment section below!
This week my Good Fashion company is Kowtow Clothing. Kowtow is based in New Zealand and it's mission is all in the name - in the context of Chinese history, the word "kowtow" means "to kneel and touch the ground with the forehead in worship or submission." This sustainable brand dedicates itself to making beautiful clothing with a deep respect for the complex process that is garment making.
Kowtow proves its dedication simply by being transparent. Transparency means that we, the consumers, are able to see the process behind the clothing for ourselves. Kowtow's website includes a page titled "From Seed to Garment" where it showcases the production process from beginning to end in this beautifully honest documentary.
Kowtow clothing uses organic cotton to create it's simple yet bold clothing. In a world where conventional cotton accounts for 25% of the worlds insecticide use and 10% of global pesticide use, this is hugely important. Farmers who work with organic cotton are saved from daily exposure to these toxic substances as well as from being forced into debt by purchasing incredibly expensive GMO (Monsanto) cotton seeds.
All of Kowtow cotton is grown on small farms throughout India. The cotton is then shipped to Kolkata where it is milled and manufactured into gorgeous Kowtow products. The people who work at the manufacturing facility in Kolkata all receive living wages, paid holiday and sick leave, overtime pay and health insurance. The workers are allowed to unionize and take advantage of free schooling for their children. Kowtow's manufacturing facility is equipped with proper lighting, ventilation and workspace. These working conditions are, unfortunately, rare in todays garment industry.
In addition to being dedicated to protecting the environment and its workers, Kowtow Clothing does not fail to provide a unique point of view in an industry full of trends and copycats. I love the powerful silhouettes, bold colors and clean lines of Kowtow's designs. This "Good Fashion" company makes clothing for both men and women, and I enjoy the androgyny that is present in a lot of their designs. Kowtow's "Identity Pant" comes in black, white and an awesome rusty red for both men and women!
I am excited to see what Kowtow will have in store for their Spring 2015 collection. They have already released an incredible "Performance Cape" that comes in black as well as in a striking, canary yellow. I absolutely love this piece for a rainy spring day - and I appreciate the attention to detail that they show in the back.
Another thing that I love about Kowtow is that they keep a line of "building blocks" constantly in stock. The t-shirts are perfectly slouchy and the leggings look luxuriously cozy. Check out some of my favorite pieces from their fashion and basics lines below! And the next time that you are looking for something that is bold and modern, look to Kowtow and feel good that you are supporting the environment and human rights around the world.