In honour of Fashion Revolution week, I’m interviewing the people behind some of my favourite responsible fashion brands. Since Fashion Revolution is all about asking who made my clothes lets get to know the people who make our clothes a little better. Today I’m talking to Adam from Kalopsia Collective which an Edinburgh based textiles company.
Could you introduce yourself and tell me about your brand?
Kalopsia Collective was established in 2012 in Edinburgh, Scotland, by myself and my business partner (and wife) Nina Falk and is run by an experienced team of makers, designers and “communicators”. Kalopsia is a forward thinking Textiles Micro-Manufacturing company which is pushing the boundaries of what and how Textiles production should look like.
We started by asking the question “What is Textiles?”. And now, four years later, we keep questioning our industry with goals to increase awareness and knowledge of ecological, ethical and sustainable Textiles.
It’s Fashion Revolution week right now, why do you think Fashion Revolution and the slow fashion movement are important?
We are today increasingly talking about sustainable fashion in the media and more and more clothing companies are switching their operations to reduce their overall environmental impact and to improve their social conditions in the factories. We are at the same time also seeing a growing awareness and a clearer stance on environmental and sustainability issues among consumers.
However, ethical and sustainable practices are still seen by many as a luxury rather than a necessity. What’s great about Fashion Rev and the slow fashion movement is they are driving this discussion into the mainstream, where it needs to be.
Could you tell me about how you ensure your brand remains ethical/sustainable?
We are woking in transparency, not only with our clients but also in our manufacturing space. With our clients, we are making sure that there is clear understandable evidence of how their products are being produced. We can assure our clients that every stitch in our production is made by a person who works in a safe environment, is paid a fair wage and treated with respect. This is the base of our company and there is no other way for us to operate. The way we have made this possible is to produce as much as we can in-house. We are a social enterprise and are run for the benefit of our staff and clients so we know if it’s done in-house it’s done right.
Price is often given as a barrier to ethical fashion. Could you tell me the average price of your pieces? (If they are £100+ please explain the higher cost eg fair wages, quality, materials etc)
This is one of the most difficult issues for an ethical fashion brand and manufacturer. Our pricing is a constant balancing act between giving our clients a price that is achievable and paying our staff a living wage. Depending on the item prices can arrange for 4 to 5 pounds to 150+.
We’ve found by talking about the reasons behind our pricing and being open and honest with our clients helps greatly to demonstrate why our pricing is what it is and we hope over time this will become the norm.
What are your top tips for consumers looking to make more ethical purchases?
By for a purpose, try to buy local, buy quality, buy the design for longevity and buy sustainable.
Is there anything else you would like to tell me?
We believe that everyone has the right to quality products, designed responsibly and without exploitation. We also believe that design and manufacturing links up with social issues and has the power to bring about a better quality of life both for those buying and those who are making. This month we are launching our Apparel service on Kickstarter. A service for printmakers, weavers and retailers and works as tested building blocks. Assemble was created to become a more efficient textiles production service. Assemble has been developed to help reduce waste, get accurate fabric estimations as well a quick turnaround time and reduced carbon emission.
*Photos published with permission from Kalopsia Collective