Tell us about some of the brands you admire. What particular qualities do these brands possess that inspired you to start Kinde co.?
MARY KOTTATIS: The apparel manufacturing industry has long been recognised with not being sustainable or ethical. However, as designers, we can no longer ignore the effects on local communities where our products are made and the long-term effects it has on our environment.
Our initial research led us to also discover great brands that were social and environmentally responsible. We love the vision and simplicity of women’s wear label, Kowtow.
Fashion-forward luxury label Stella McCartney is an inspirational active voice and leader for sustainable fashion.
Kids wear brands we admire include Spanish brand Mainio, who offer unique and fashion-forward pieces while being transparent with their supply chain, and Swedish-based brand Mini Rodini.
These brands have taught us that focusing on producing beautiful, high-quality wear can be done by adapting ethical and sustainable practices without overemphasizing the latter, letting their products’ designs and quality speak for themselves.
How were you influenced by current design trends in this season’s collection? Please tell us some of the innovations you have introduced in creating this season’s collection.
We love the relaxed silhouettes and athleisure details that came out of the SS16 fashion shows. We interpreted these trends the Kinde co. way, by creating the garments based on our brand’s 4 Elements of Comfort: fabric, easy fit and wear, inner garment and quality that lasts.
It can be a rarity to find handmade products, but it has always attracted me. It links designer with end wearer, making the garment a medium for sharing the designer’s story, and have the wearer relate to it-- making it their very own in the process. This season, I re-looked at my love for textile art and crafting, specifically applique and collage. I sourced remnant and reclaimed fabrics from local suppliers.
What are “reclaimed fabrics?”
Reclaimed fabrics are unused fabric rolls or pieces that are ‘left-overs’ from excess manufacturing. From these, I designed a range of fun motifs, mixing prints on prints and silks on cotton. It’s a slow process no doubt.
However through this process I had the opportunity to explore and experiment with traditional applique techniques in an updated, modern and wearable way.
The applique motifs resonate our SS16 concept ‘Going Places’, which referenced the love for travel and the underlying message of the season- Choose your adventure.
We’d like to know more about the specific materials you worked with and the overall design process behind the beautiful pieces you have produced for this season’s collection. What risks and creative challenges have you met during the design and production process?
When sourcing remnant and reclaimed fabric, I limited myself to natural and sustainable fabrics like cotton, silk and tencel.
Each have their limitations, but when it comes to creating applique motifs, they are manageable and easy to sew with. Mindful of the soft and stretchy nature of my base fabric, it was important, through careful selection, that I used suitable fabrics that did not warp or wear uncomfortably. I found a great range of fun and classic prints, including tropical florals, nautical stripes and abstract painterly prints.
With wash and wear, styles in the SS16 Collection with applique finish, the triple stretch stitch will reveal a raw edge, which over time, will add to the character of the garment.
What fuels your desire to move forward in making your business grow?
There is a growing awareness for sustainability and ethical practice in the fashion industry, as customers now recognize how important it is to know the who’s, what’s, where’s and how’s when it comes to how their clothes are made. My personal experience as a curious parent and customer on the hunt for topnotch products for my kids fuels my desire to continue with Kinde co. each day.
We recognize the dire need for producers and businesses to do right by the environment and the world at large for the sake of future generations. That propels us forward, and is the reason why we are consistently doing our part to push well-made, Eco-conscious clothing into the limelight by making it more accessible to parents and children, wherever they may be-- in the hopes of seeing sustainable and ethical practices in the garment industry as the norm in the near future.
How do you see Kinde co. in the next few years, and how do you see the brand making an impact in the kids’ apparel industry in the future?
I believe it is becoming less about which brands are competing in the industry, and that the new breed of entrepreneurs are more geared towards the goal of working together for a common purpose that would positively impact lives.
As we see it, good things will naturally fall into place if one works with his or her heart in the right place. We’re so excited to be on this journey. In the future, we’d love to be able to work alongside other sustainable brands that share our values and passion to promote kindness and goodness through the products as well as services we give to our valued clients.