KAIA - Planet-Friendly Clothing

by Karen Adams in Buckingham, England, United Kingdom

KAIA  - Planet-Friendly Clothing
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Beautiful, planet-friendly and ethical women's wear brand. Look good. Do good.

by Karen Adams in Buckingham, England, United Kingdom

New stretch target

This additional funding target will go towards production and securing fabric for the Autumn/Winter 2020 collection.


Once Upon A Time...

I remember making my first garment at the age of 7, on the grass in my back yard in North London. It was a green halter neck top. I couldn't understand why it gaped widely under each armpit, so I used sellotape to preserve my modesty! Though I sewed my green halter-neck by hand, I also had a little toy sewing machine, a little like this one below. My joy at possessing it was brutally cut down one day when my younger brother (engineer that he was), learned how to use the machine's screwdriver, and painstakingly dismantled the entire machine into a pile of small parts. 

I grew up with a black and gold singer sewing machine in the house, and from an early age, watched fabric come to life in my Mother's hands and transform into 3d clothes worn by my siblings and I.

 

Re-discovery

I have a deep love of creating clothing. It came and went over the years. At 19, I made and sold clothes to my friends. I studied fashion design and took fashion drawing classes at London's Central St Martin's School of Art, however, I chose the predictability and dependability of corporate retail, immersing my geekish side into a function called merchandising (profits, forecasting and analysis of inventory data).

I left corporate retail behind just before starting my family, hoping to change course, and do more with my life to impact and improve the lives of others.

My life took an unpredictable turn one day after arriving home with my son from the school run. I learned that my then husband was walking out on my 6 year old son and I, giving us less than 24 hours notice, and he'd been having an affair. He quit his job not long afterwards. This marked the start of my journey of recovery and re-discovery.

KAIA Clothing represents a return to one of my earliest passions; designing and making clothes. This journey has also re-connected me to my earlier desire to impact the lives of others, in particular, vulnerable women and children. The name KAIA is made up of the initials of myself and my son.

The world is very different now to when I made my first halter neck top, and by now, many of us are discovering the awful truth about the fashion industry:

  • One wash-load of polyester clothes can release 700,000 microplastic fibres into the environment. 
  • It is estimated that half a million tonnes of these microfibres end up in the sea each year. 
  • Polyester, made from fossil fuels, is non-biodegradable. 
  • Microfibres from synthetics are a major contributor to microplastic pollution – a 2019 Bangor University survey of UK rivers, reservoirs and lakes found micro-plastic pollution at all locations tested.
  • According to the Pulse of Fashion report in 2015 the industry was responsible for 1,715 million tonnes of CO2 emissions. 
  • The UN states that the fashion industry consumes more energy than the aviation and shipping industry combined. The Pulse report forecast fashion emissions to grow by 63% by 2030.
  • According to the 2017 Wrap report, the average water footprint for a kilo of cotton (equivalent to pair of jeans and a shirt) is 10,000-20,000 litres. India and Pakistan are major suppliers of cotton to the UK, but both countries suffer from high levels of water scarcity.

There was no other option for me, than to make sustainable and planet-friendly choices for the KAIA brand. This video shows why we should all care about the true cost of clothing;

Environmental  Damage caused by the Textile Industry

The Makers and Creators Behind the KAIA Brand

I've always loved working with natural fabrics because of their many inherent properties, for example fine wool can be cooling or insulating depending on when you need it to be, and linen has inherent anti-bacterial properties. 

I'm really pleased to be working with other artists/creators to deliver the first KAIA collection.

Designs by Karen Adams

One of my favourite aspects of design is draping. A full or half-size tailor's dummy is used to pin, craft and mould new shapes and designs in a way that is easier to visualise, than if you cut a flat paper pattern. I've always loved unusual and 'engineered' yet wearable shapes, and draping allows me to experiment. I want the collections to be inclusive of a variety of shapes, sizes and comfort is a high priority as well as elegance. In fact, one of the main reasons for this crowdfunding campaign is so that I can offer a wide enough range of inclusive sizes in this collection.

Cathy Read Art

I met Cathy through a local business network in Buckingham, where we both live. During our first conversation, we quickly spotted an opportunity where Cathy would allow me to print her stunning artwork onto fabric for my collection. We experimented by cropping out a section of one of Cathy's paintings and repeating it to see how it would re-produce onto fabric. The image above is of the railings at London's iconic Charing Cross station, and this is how it could look, printed on fabric;

 

We saw some stunning results. I'm very proud to offer these very special pieces and we're already planning to include some of Cathy's iconic architectural landmarks on future collections.

I would use part of the proceeds of this crowdfunding to order and print the fabric for the collection. 

 Garment and fabric design prototyping

Corinne Milan - Woolly Wizzard

Corinne is based in Kent and is a master knitter and spinner of wool fleeces. It's been really great working with Corinne. She has good relationships with local farms and selects and washes fleeces that come from specially reared  Wensleydale slaughter-free flocks of British sheep (not slaughtered for meat, but reared for the quality of their curly wool). We've been prototyping some designs and I would use part of the proceeds of this crowdfunding to order wool from Corinne to make pieces for the collection.


Launch Party

KAIA is all about women gathering together, to network, talk & support each other. 

KAIA is all about women gathering to talk, share and try on clothes together. All gift voucher holders will receive an invitation to the launch party, which I'd like to host at one of my favourite locations...but first, we need to succeed with this campaign, so please do share the campaign link and help drive support so that the women of Buckingham and beyond can make planet-friendly choices from the KAIA collection. 


Standards and Supply Chain

The KAIA collection will include pieces made with fabrics that carry the following quality and environmental assurances;

Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) 

The Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) is recognised as the world's leading processing standard for textiles made from organic fibres. It defines high-level environmental criteria along the entire organic textiles supply chain and requires compliance with social criteria as well.

OEKO-TEX® 

OEKO-TEX® labels support you in acting responsibly and making sustainable purchasing decisions. The product labels STANDARD 100 by OEKO-TEX® and LEATHER STANDARD by OEKO-TEX® are available for textile and leather products that have been tested for harmful substances and which are thus safe from a human-ecological perspective. 


My Vision

We all need to adopt new habits and choices in order that we avert the looming climate catastrophe. I want KAIA to be one of the brands that leads this change, by helping women to make better choices when purchasing clothing. 

I want to help others along the way, especially women survivors of domestic abuse and children living in extreme poverty or fragile states. Therefore, the KAIA business model donates a percentage of profits to two charities that support these causes;

 

  


In the longer-term, KAIA could potentially create skilled, flexible and creative jobs that allow women to  re-build their lives. I have had early discussions with an agency that provides work and new opportunities for ex-offenders, some of whom have been victims of sexual violence.  KAIA could potentially offer both creative-therapeutic sessions and/or work for women that seek to re-build their lives following traumatic events, hardship or danger.

I'm looking for supporters who will make a pledge to this campaign and help fight the climate emergency.

Will you help save the planet and change lives?

Let's make 'KAIA - Planet-Friendly Clothing' happen

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