The Kowtow Story, With Founder Gosia Piatek

by: Rosie Dalton | 1 month ago | Features

Image: Gosia Piatek. Image source.

When NZ-born designer Gosia Piatek launched Kowtow over a decade ago, she wanted to save the world. And, ambitious as this goal may have been, her ability to shed light on the importance of responsible production and sustainable fabrication has become a testament to her immense drive ever since. Here, Gosia shares her story with Well Made Clothes.

WMC: How did your ethical fashion journey begin?
Gosia
: I was really passionate and naïve about saving the world [laughs]. My partner at the time was a graphic designer [and we started with] printed T-shirts, which were really nice quality. He left the business a few years later and [then we started doing a] building block range in pared back, monochromatic colours and beautiful [sustainable] cotton. We basically made an eight-piece range and lost half our stockists. But the ones we picked up really kickstarted [Kowtow].

What drew you to the industry?
I started Kowtow because I wanted to do something meaningful. To do something that was sustainable from the moment it was planted. And then I wanted to make sure that the people growing the cotton were being rewarded fairly for what they do and weren’t being exploited.

Why do you think we’ve finally reached a point where people care about ethical fashion?
I think the negative side of the fashion industry is in the media a lot these days, especially since Rana Plaza – which has made it seem more real for people. [Climate change] conversations have really gained momentum recently [too].

When something is well-made, it encourages people to consider the longevity of the product as well, right?
Yes and it’s funny, because when you pay more money for something, you actually look after it better. There’s this kind of mentality where you treasure it.

More than ten years on, what are you most proud of with Kowtow?
Staying true to our original vision and hiring people who also care about sustainability, because they are the ones who keep you accountable to that vision. I also love that we haven’t tried to do too much. We’ve stayed true to what we feel comfortable with and what we know is transparent.



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