Get to know KNOWN SUPPLY through one of its founders, Kohl Crecelius.
The only thing unknown about KNOWN SUPPLY was what made the founders tick, but don’t worry, we got to the bottom of that. Kohl Crecelius is one of the original brains behind this incredibly transparent brand, and we discovered a little more about Kohl and KNOWN SUPPLY just for you.
What made you start KNOWN SUPPLY?
In 2007, I started my first brand focused on ethical fashion (although it wasn’t really called that 12 years ago… haha). We were utilizing crocheting as a tool to empower women and produce headwear and accessories in Uganda and Peru. As time went on and learned more about the global issues of the fashion industry at large we saw a need to use our experience to help provide a human perspective to the conversation surrounding ethical fashion. KNOWN SUPPLY was our response to create a fashion line that introduced shoppers directly to clothing producers, and to also create basics that others could customize for use at their own organizations.
Do you have a morning routine? If so, what is it you do to set yourself up for the day ahead?
I have two young boys (ages 4 and 1), so there is little normalcy to my morning routines. However, my mornings usually entail some sort of exercise — either surfing or pushing my sons in a double stroller on a run. And, coffee. Always coffee. Right now I make pour over every morning in a Chemex.
What’s the biggest barrier you’ve found to succeeding as a socially conscious business?
Educating consumers on the impact of their purchases. We all have been so conditioned to not think about our purchases or where they come from, and so the first thing we have to do as brands and advocates for social causes is to help people understand there is a problem in the first place. The trick is to do this in a way that empowers and equips shoppers in a positive way, inviting them into a powerful movement that they get to take part in.
Within the ethical fashion community, there’s a big question that we ask which is ‘who made my clothes?’. In the scope of KNOWN SUPPLY, who made the things you sell? Can you tell us a bit about them?
It was fun for us to see Fashion Revolution come onto the seen 5+ years ago with that bold campaign and question: “Who Made My Clothes?” Since starting our first brand in 2007 (Krochet Kids intl.) we had connected our customers to the makers of their clothing by way of a signed label that accompanied every product. We quite literally give the answer to that question, not generally, but specifically. We love to see other groups bringing attention to this cause that’s always been so close to our hearts. Currently, we work with communities in Uganda, Peru, and India to produce all of our clothing. Similar to the global statistics of fashion production, the population is predominantly female and living in lower socio-economic regions of the developing world. But we want you to meet the specific makers, so head to http://makers.knownsupply.com.
Why did you pick the fabrics you have chosen to work with?
All of our apparel is Fair Trade Certified and uses sustainable materials, predominantly organic cotton which is GOTS certified. We simply made the commitment to use sustainable materials in all our products. There is definitely more we can do in this department and we look forward to continue innovating our materials as the options continue to expand within the supply chain.
Best piece of advice you have ever received?
What we do and who we are are not the same thing. So many of us get our identity wrapped up in the work we do — particularly if that work is positive in nature — but this can be a negative thing over the longterm. Our self worth then feels tied to our success. Success in what you do comes and goes in many cycles throughout your life, but your value never changes as a friend, family member, and human. I have to remind myself of this constantly.
What’s next for you and KNOWN SUPPLY?
One of the things we are most excited about right now is helping to equip other brands, artists and organizations to join the ethical fashion movement. We believe that every brand should be an “ethical brand” and we seek to help others accomplish this by utilizing our experience and our products for other causes. We work with other brands to produce apparel lines for their purposes. More on that here: https://knownsupply.com/pages/bulk-orders
One book and/or documentary everyone should read/watch? Why?
Just one?! I would say the book Essentialism by Greg Mckeown. Great read to help you prioritize your life / work and it’s not industry specific. Everyone can take something valuable away from it.
Are there any other Movers & Shakers out there in your world that you think people should know about?
So many. I’m endlessly inspired by the company I keep, locally and online. Surf brand Almond Surfboards. Furniture maker Sean Woolsey. Fashion advocate Ayesha Barenblat. Photographer Adrian Octavius Walker. Magazine founder Sarah Dubbeldam.