How To Shop Responsibly With Kowtow’s Head Designer Adrienne Marsh

by: Rosie Dalton | 11 months ago | Features

Image: Kowtow’s Head Designer Adrienne Marsh.

Kowtow is one of those brands that never cease to amaze us. Founded ten years ago by New Zealand native Gosia Piatek, Kowtow has always been fiercely dedicated to sustainability, as well as fair labour and fostering transparency between brand and customer. In fact, the label checks five of our eight values and also produces clothes that are timeless, yet unique — which makes them perfect for anyone looking to reduce their cost per wear. Since making clothing responsibly is kind of the modus operandi for Kowtow, we asked the brand’s Head Designer Adrienne Marsh for her tips on how to shop responsibly and reflect your values.

All of this coincided perfectly with the much-anticipated launch of Kowtow’s new collection on Well Made Clothes too — and suffice to say that it’s a range we simply can’t get enough of right now. Filled with romantic prints, bold pops of colour and a whole host of timeworn staples, we are pleased to announce that, in the quest for brands that really get us, Kowtow pretty much ticks all the boxes. And if that doesn’t give you enough of an excuse to shop (stylishly and) responsibly this summer, we don’t know what will.

Rosie Dalton: Can you tell us a bit about the latest Kowtow collection and what you were inspired by design-wise?
Adrienne Marsh: Pace Forward is a playful and rebellious collection, which combines sophistication with spontaneity. I wanted to explore feminine details, shown with gathered panels, pressed flower fabric print and sherbet inspired colours like rose and mint, contrasted with rich olive, marigold and evergreen. There is a little nostalgic nod in the names of our garments — some of these are songs by my favourite musicians from my teenage years.

Rosie: In what ways do you feel the collection is a reflection of what you want to wear right now?
Adrienne: No fear of colour! We styled evergreen and rose together, powder and marigold, I'm excited to wear these combos this summer. I am really proud of our ethical organic cotton denim – it’s going to be my everyday go to.

Rosie: Can you take us through the Kowtow design process, from concept to creation? 
Adrienne: Everything is made from ethical organic cotton, which is sourced every season from fair trade certified farmers. Our design process starts 16 months before we launch the collection. At the start of each season, our creative team meet and pull common threads of inspiration together, something as subtle as a repetitive colour in a movie can set me off onto a tangent to design an entire collection. We develop every detail of our ethical organic cotton fabrics: textures, colours, stripes, checks and melanges. They're all purposefully chosen to ensure a unique Kowtow fabric. After our extensive sampling process, we shoot the collection over several days. This is one of my favourite parts of the job - I love being on set and seeing it all come together.

Rosie: What does 'ethical fashion' mean to you personally?
Adrienne: Ethical fashion is being mindful of the social and environmental impacts that your clothing purchases have. 

Rosie: Do you have a favourite piece (or pieces) from the new collection?
Adrienne: I will be wearing our Playback Top in mint and Turnaround Denim Pant all Summer. As a classic, I can't go past our oversized Just Love Shirt in white. And I'm also really excited about the Remember Me Dress in pastel check — it is the perfect Summer dress to wear to a wedding.

Rosie: How would you recommend that customers care for their Kowtow garments in order to promote longevity? 
Adrienne: Be gentle with your clothes. I always air out garments in the shade before resorting to gentle machine washing.  

Rosie: And finally, what are your main tips for women that are looking to shop more responsibly?
Adrienne: From workplace standards to sustainable fabrics, responsible brands have a lot of information readily available on their websites. One of the first things I do is read the "about" section. And if you can't find the information you are looking for there, just ask.

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