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Mapping Kowtow's Transparent Supply Chain

by: Rosie Dalton | 1 year ago | Features

Image: behnd the scenes at Kowtow’s fairtrade factory. Image source

Founded in 2007 by Gosia Piatek, Kowtow is committed to sustainability and transparency, as well as providing fair labour conditions for its workers. This means for the cutters, machinists and finishers at their partner factories in India, as well as for the people working across Kowtow’s Wellington head office and Melbourne showroom. Here, we go behind the scenes of how a Kowtow garment is made.

Rosie Dalton: Whereabouts is the Kowtow production facility located?
: We source all our fairtrade organic cotton from India so it felt natural to work with fairtrade certified manufactures in Kolkata and Mumbai.

Rosie: Can you run us through some of the different roles that exist within the overall operation?
: There are many people involved in the process of making a Kowtow garment – from Gosia’s creative direction for design, patternmaking and sampling in New Zealand, through to our partner manufacturers in India. We see all jobs at our manufacturers as important, including the cook who feeds the workers. Once our garments leave the factory our sales and marketing team works with agents and showrooms around the world.

Rosie: How would you describe the atmosphere in and around the Kowtow production facility?
: What really stands out at the factories is the high level of order and organisation – they are run by and employ people who share our passion for organic, sustainable fabrics, fair working conditions and pride in their work. Every six months we visit these factories, wander anywhere, ask questions and really enjoy the energetic atmosphere.

Rosie: Why are fair labour conditions so important for the brand?
Kowtow: We care about all people who are involved in making our clothes, from the organic cotton farmer to the packers. Fair labour conditions are at the ethical core of Kowtow and, although this has its challenges, we believe working with suppliers that have internationally recognised certifications and regular auditing is important to our sustainability.

Rosie: And how does Kowtow approach this?
: We have a set of fair labour certifications, which we require of every new supplier before we start a relationship with them; so this is a given.

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