The Bangladesh Rana Plaza disaster in 2013 sent shockwaves through the fashion industry when more than 1,100 garment factory workers perished after the building collapsed and the poor working conditions of people supplying some of fashion’s biggest brands were exposed. For Kowtow designer Gosia Piatek, the disaster marked a shift in the sustainable fashion movement as the headlines made their way around the world.
Kowtow has long been ahead of the sustainability curve, however, having traced its clothing “from seed to garment” for more than 10 years to ensure the best environmental and ethical decisions are made. The label validates this claim with a number of environmental and social responsibility certificates, including Fairtrade.
According to the European Union, a quarter of the chemicals produced in the world are used in textiles. Kowtow seeks to minimise its impact on the environment by using Global Organic Textiles Standard-approved water-based ink for its prints and dyes and works with sustainability accredited suppliers for everything down to its trims. Although Piatek admits choices are limited when vetting sustainable suppliers, her commitment to asking the hard questions has earned the brand a keen following.
Gosia Piatek, designer at Kowtow.