When British designer Stella Mccartney joined a panel discussion at the London College of Fashion last year she had a simple point to make: “Fashion really is getting away with murder.” It’s a sentiment echoed by Kiwi designer Kelly du Toit, who started holistic outerwear brand holi two years ago. “The price of fashion is finally coming more into the mainstream media and it’s a killer,” says du Toit. “Quite literally on our environment and the people behind the scenes in factories overseas.”
The designer, who lists child labour, extreme poverty and poor working conditions as blights on the industry, aims to challenge the status quo by educating consumers about where their clothes come from. She sources organic bamboo from Fairtrade factories in China and local merino wool for her trans-seasonal designs. She knows each Hawke’s Bay-based seamstress personally and ensures price tags and packaging are made from recycled paper.
For du Toit, being sustainable means producing high-quality, timeless designs. “For a customer to open their closet in 10 years and still have a holi garment is something I dream of,” she says.