Like its name suggests, Know The Origin focuses on supplying a completely transparent supply chain from seed to garment. Along with this, their clothes are at totally affordable prices (something I absolutely love as I’m still a student). I am so fascinated with their through transparency that i’ve supplied a summary of their process with you here. If you are looking for an ethical, sustainable fashionable alternative for basics and all round epic clothes then you really don’t need to look any further than KTO.
If their supply chain doesn’t convince you of how epic this company is, nothing will. I hope you end up loving this company as much as I do.
As for the supply chain overview:
Cotton Farming: Conventional cotton farming is the heaviest user of toxic chemical pesticides out of all crops in the world. Not only is this not good for the environment, it’s also not good for the farmers who breathe in these chemicals on a daily basis.
KTO have decided to ditch common cotton and have instead gone fair trade and organic. Their cotton is produced in Indore and Telegana, India. They make sure that their producers do not use child labour, synthetic fertiliser or GM seeds. Their producers also provide food training to their farmers, allowing them to improve their livelihoods all round through the use of sustainable agriculture.
GINNING: The process of separating cotton fibres from the seed, and they are then cleaned to transform it into a useable fabric.
For this process they only use producers who are specialists in Fairtrade and Organic cotton. On top of this, the seeds that cannot be used are either ground up to make industrial oil or they are used to make animal feed for surrounding farms.
No waste =another win for KTO in my books!
SPINNING: Turning the cotton fibres into yarn. KTO’s cotton is spun at Sara Spintex and Pratibha Syntex in central India.
KNITTING: Post being turned into yarn, it is sent to Tirupur and Kolkata where the cotton jersey is made. The knitting centre is FLO certified and providers worker benefits such as transport and a subsidised canteen, medical benefits and funding for their children’s education.
DYEING: This is one of the most controversial parts of any garments, as although plant based dyes are best they aren’t very comerically viable nor does the colour last very long. KTO uses low-impact dyes, meaning they don’t contain toxic metals and are azo-free -which is great as they don’t release carcinogens that otherwise many workers are exposed to.
One of the most important parts of this process is the what is done with the waste water. What makes me love KTO even more is that they address this and say that their wastewater from dyes is filtered to clean it of chemicals and is they used for agricultural irrigation. Their second factory in Tirupur called Shakthi Knitting has an even more extensive process for this filtration aspect. KTO says ‘95% of all the water used is then re-used for running the factory and continuing its production processes. The remaining 5% is evaporated and any remnants from the dye process are used to make bricks and for laying roads.’
I CANNOT EVEN BEGIN TO EXPLAIN HOW COOL THIS IS. UTILISING WASTE FROM DYING TO MAKE ROADS AND BRICKS. ABSOLUTELY UNREAL.
AND LASTLY: SEWING
KTO has two factories where all their clothes are made -Mila and Mandala.
Mila: GOTS and Fairtrade certified. They are in charge of making the jersey basics. What’s better is their 15 workers are paid a living wage, have medical insurance, retirement and pension funds.
Mandela: Based in Pondicherry, south east India. Mandela is a certified Fairtrade factory with 195 employees. Around 70% of the workforce are women. Mandela offers a high quality of training to ensure that their employees are not only empowered, but are able to achieve any future opportunities.
After looking further into the process behind the garments made by KTO, I cannot help but feeling more inspired by the possibility of the future of fashion. As long as we have such passionate companies around like KTO, I know we are going to be in good hands.
And to Charlotte and Laura, Thank you. The work you do is not only absolutely incredible, but it’s paving the way for the future of fashion.