What is ethical fashion? Most of us are used to shopping on the high-street or online, only concerned with looking for the best deals and the hottest trends. We think of fashion and clothing as a form of expression and with that comes a focus on the aesthetic rather than the origins of garments. The materials used in our clothing are just as important. We should feel good in what we wear but also feel good about wearing it, and Kotaka is a brand realising this very thing.
With an ever-increasing desire for consumers to know where their clothes are coming from its no wonder that there’s a growing interest in ethical fashion. Many clothing factories tend to be located in poorer countries that often use toxic chemicals and large amounts of water. And with an estimated 170 million working under child labour, many employed by the textile industry (UNICEF), this way of producing clothing is both harmful to the workers involved and the environment. Affordable, everyday brands such as Primark have been associated with the former and there is a desperation for change. Kotaka is the very thing we need to work towards achieving it.
The student run clothing brand aims to spread awareness and understanding of this type of fashion. Ethical fashion, characterised by sustainable methods of manufacturing, designing and sourcing clothing (Ethical Fashion Forum), puts the process behind producing garments at the forefront. When we think about large brands producing relatively cheap clothing one thing that lacks is a sense of transparency. Rarely do we know how under what condition their clothing is made but brands like Kotaka whole-heartedly take this into consideration, creating garments that are ethical.
With high quality and sustainability as core values of Kotaka, you may be wondering how they manage to pull it all off. They work with Teemill to produce products in the UK that are of a high quality and sustainable nature. Not only are garments made using ethically supplied organic cotton, their low-waste printing technology and renewable energy powered factory make their product cycle highly sustainable. The environment, well-being of the people needed in the process, and of those working to farm and source the required materials, are all taken into consideration. Kotaka stands for something concerned with more than just material success. They are a brand that have nothing to hide about their process; they’re honest and more of this is needed in the industry to ensure the prosperity of all people involved.
Events such as Fashion Revolution week and the recent UK enforced bottle deposit scheme are evidence of a constantly growing awareness. Fashion Revolution Week, taking place from the 23rd to the 29th April 2018, is a campaign calling to question the transparency of brand’s supply chains with the hashtag #imadeyourclothes. Like Kotaka, they believe in fashion that is environmentally and socially sustainable; proof that more than ever we are demanding an openness when it comes to manufacturing.
Clothes are more than just clothes. Yes, they allow us to express ourselves and feel good in our own skin but that’s not the only power they hold. The finer details that we tend to skirt over like the type of fabric used, the energy sources powering the technology and factories, and the location they’re made in all play a factor into the final piece. People’s lives are affected along the way and the environment is changed, things Katoka acknowledge through every garment. These impacts may be a little more important than the one your new Topshop piece has to your self-esteem.
If you’re interested in Kotaka and their products find them on their Instagram and website!