Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Conscious Consumer // Kowtow

Kowtow are a New Zealand based label that love fashion whilst loving the planet at the same time. They have a distinct classic and minimalistic aesthetic with some androgynous pieces thrown in for good measure. Their message is simple 'be a responsible consumer and look good doing it'.
For a long time, many of our consumer habits have appeared to have no consequence. It is now quite apparent that there is an imbalance in standards of living throughout the world which is fuelled by the Wests continuing short changing and exploitation of labour markets in the so called third world. We don’t believe anyone who is truly aware of what is going on in the world would want to turn their heads and support a slave trade economy. Being into clothes we decided to do something about it. Certified fair trade organic clothing that is ethically and sustainably made from seed to garment. Thank you for believing in what we do.
Their designs are made from 100% fair trade certified cotton, as certified by the Fairtrade labelling Organisation, and 100% organic certified cotton, as certified by SKAL International. Any fabric that needs dyeing  is done so using Global Organic Textiles Standard (GOTS) approved dyes, these are free of hazardous elements such as nickel, lead, formaldehyde, pesticides and heavy metals. There's a long list of benefits from using both Organic and Fairtrade cotton on their website here. It even goes on to reel off some of the amazing benefits that their employees working at the Kolkata factory in India have, such as ensuring that their employees receive a living wage,  paid holiday leave, sick pay, medical insurance, subsidies lunches and overtime pay. Employees work in a well lit, well ventilated and spacious working environment and that children of the employees receive free schooling. I mean...that's pretty impressive stuff! Kowtow also go on to show you how their designs are created right from the seed to the finished garment here through a beautifully shot, short documentary and a series of  24 images. 

Kowtow has a small collection a menswear items from such as a classic Breton style tee or minimalist tailored shirt to a relaxed fit blazer in a striking geometric print. Each piece can interact with another enabling you to create a capsule wardrobe. The women's pieces have an effortless minimalist style with geometric prints in soft pastel shades a midst classic styles in dark neutral tones. You can shop for basics with their 'building blocks' range and mix and match to your hearts content. There are so many beautifully made, effortlessly chic styles to shop from on Kowtow, most of which are wardrobe staples that you will be wearing for years to come. Here are a few of my favourites: 

Those striped low crotch trousers look so so comfy, throw on some fluffy socks and snuggly jumper and I'd be feeling rather happy in my cold English house right now. The last few pieces have got me longing for summer, especially the 'Between the lines dress' and 'LCD Jumpsuit'. I love the prints featured in both and they just look so comfortable and wearable.

The prices aren't too crazy expensive either, not when you consider all the the good stuff that's gone into making them. Some pieces are even comparable to UK high street offerings, although they like to charge the same without all the added good stuff. I mean they're not cheap but that's not what 'slow' fashion is about, you're investing in clothing as you would, say, furniture. I think what Kowtow is doing is great and if you're new to this whole 'conscious consumer' thing then there a good place to start as they offer a range of basics to help you on your way. They are definitely doing the slow fashion thing right, offering contemporary yet classic pieces that you can invest in to wear year after year.

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