KINdom: An ethically Responsible & Sustainable Fashion Brand

KINdom - Photo: Dylan Perlot
Photo: Dylan Perlot

KINdom talks about the true intentions of sustainability, the importance of inclusivity and diversity. Support independent brands that lead by example.

According to Fibre2Fashion: “Ethical and sustainable fashion is an approach towards sourcing, manufacturing, and designing clothes that maximizes the benefits to the industry and society at large, at the same time minimizes the impacts on the environment. Ethical means something morally right and acceptable. 

Therefore, ethical and sustainable fashion does not start from manufacturing clothes. It starts from the cotton fields and ends in the consumer’s wardrobe. Conventional cotton farming cannot be termed as ethical and sustainable as harmful pesticides are used.”

KINdom opens up a transparent conversation about why the fashion industry should become more responsible for protecting the planet.

KINdom - Photo: PlanetFashion
Photo: Planet Fashion NYSFW

There are a lot of brands misrepresenting the ‘sustainability’ mission. What separates you from all of the noise? 

KINdom: Greenwashing is so rampant, and most consumers are still not aware of sustainability’s specifics and nuances. There are a few vital things that separate KINdom from many brands: 

First, my incredible Team and I are thankful and blessed to have extensive experience, a combined 60-70 years, in the fast fashion industry. 

We have heard it all and seen it all! Because of this, we know precisely what is not sustainable, what not to do, and what elements in the supply chain – from sourcing, product development, merchandising, etc. – need to be replaced with more sustainable practices. 

We try to communicate and educate the consumer as much as possible in our social media, blog, and newsletters. 

Second, as a small business, it’s a lot easier to make decisions and therefore easier to make an impact. This is especially difficult for other fashion brands with shareholders & stakeholders, whose bottom line often prioritizes profits over the planet or people. 

With KINdom, there have been decisions made where the bottom line was affected due to the focus on protecting our environment, for example, but in the long run, it’s more costly not to! 

Third, KINdom not only uses sustainable materials and produces them in ethical facilities, but I also try not to design styles with planned obsolescence. KINdom styles are timeless and ageless, and sometimes, genderless! 

Also, we have some convertible styles, which transform into different garments. It’s a lot more challenging to design one style for several markets, increasing its eco-friendly factor, than designing for one target market segment of the population. 

Fourth, and perhaps the most important one of all, is the mission. I began KINdom with some updated principles to abide by, fine-tuned from my first sustainable brand back in 2007 (the economy tanked in 2008, so it never had the chance to fully manifest). 

Those principles were validated with the creation of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, a more all-encompassing version of what I had. Guided by them, KINdom fulfills up to 15 out of the 17 Goals. 

You can’t be a brand and claim to be sustainable just because you just have recycled packaging or buy carbon offsets, for example. You need to check all the boxes of those goals with every aspect of your business to really be sustainable. 

KINdom - Photo: Dylan Perlot
Photo: Dylan Perlot

2020 has forced all of us to rethink our business practices. What changes did you implement to prepare you for 2021? 

KINdom: I am always looking for ways to improve, and specifically, to be more sustainable. We never had an office; we all worked remotely unless we had to meet or fulfill orders, for example. So when the pandemic happened, the logistics part of the business wasn’t affected. 

Additionally, during the last quarter of 2019, I decided not to continue using reclaimed fabrics from deadstock and focus on more indigenous textiles and upcycling, which scaled down the production and carbon footprint even more while increasing our sustainable impact. 

These helped the transition from the old normal to the new normal of the pandemic because they were planned before COVID. For 2021, we will continue to focus on our digital presence and collaborations, the latter of which is the UN Sustainable Development Goal 17, Partnership for the Goals. 

KINdom - Photo: Shawn Smith
Photo: Shawn Smith

Size-inclusive & gender-inclusive fashion has become very popular over the last few years. Why is inclusiveness important to the brand? 

KINdom: Inclusiveness is not only important to the brand; it’s important to life! I’ve been lucky to have grown-up in a *very diverse* family, where people are people no matter what color, gender, etc. I have four cousins who are LGBTQ. I have Aunts, Uncles, and cousins who range in color from light to dark. 

Many years ago, we had a family reunion, and my generation of cousins decided to go out clubbing one night. None of us look remotely alike, prompting other club-goers to say that they didn’t believe we were all related (prior to drinks!). Some looked more Asian, some Caucasian. One of my cousins married an African-American (their kids are gorgeous!). 

Size-inclusivity and age-inclusivity are also important. In KINdom, we try to make sure no one is left behind. Just a few days ago, we posted some pictures of our Jasmine convertible shirt dress-top on a Mother (a senior citizen) and her two daughters. Each styled it differently, and they are all beautiful! 

Who is the team behind the creative designs for the brand? 

KINdom: As a small business, we don’t have a huge team, so I’m the only one who designs for the brand. However, we do have design collaborations with other artists and artisans where we create some capsule styles. I believe in a sharing platform to elevate others who have something important to say or express, especially regarding sustainability and humanitarian efforts. 

Tell us what should we expect from your forthcoming Spring/Summer 2021 Collection. 

KINdom: As previously mentioned, we don’t do seasons. Still, our next capsule will focus more on upcycling, indigenous textiles, and collaborations, all of which have been on hiatus due to the pandemic. I am excited to continue working on these very specific projects because that will be more of a creative challenge than having access to all possible resources. 

KINdom - Photo: Dylan Perlot
Photo: Dylan Perlot

We are dedicating January/February to ‘Self-Love.’ As a brand, how do you incorporate this into your company and staff? 

KINdom: I created KINdom because of love: Love for my offspring, love for future generations, and love for the world they will one day grow up in. Self-love’s goal is to feel good about yourself – mentally, emotionally, and physically. 

There’s no other feel-good feeling than knowing you made a difference in others and/or the world. You help create a better environment for all living things, including humanity, and a better planet for future generations to come. 

We are all interconnected, made of the same elements of the universe, so we are KIN. That’s what KINdom is all about. Self-love is achieved in its highest form by the unconditional love of others; it’s this fulfilling feeling that drives the team and the mantra that is KINdom. 

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www.kindomshop.com
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