Know the Origin is a fair trade and organic fashion brand for both men and women. KTO is fully transparent and really passionate about doing fashion right. On their website, they have a really interesting, informative section where you can learn more about each stage of a garment’s journey from seed to the finished garment. Check out that information here | Seed to Garment
They sell both men’s and women’s basics.
Luke is featuring their Charcoal Pocket Zip Hoodie in X-L
Jill is featuring their Khaki Slub Pocket Tee in Medium
We asked Charlotte the founder of Know The Origin a few questions to get to know her and KTO a little bit better, check out the full interview below.
Tell us a bit about your brand!
Know The Origin is a fashion brand that celebrates goodness. Our garments are fairtrade and organic whilst also being stylish and affordable (they are pretty wonderful!) We are passionate about bringing fairness into the fashion industry and ensure that the people and environment involved in making our clothing are supported, from seed to garment.
We believe in brands that are doing good and are making an impact on the world. What is the good that you promote and support through your brand?
We use incredible producers that are not only fair trade and organic but use their workshops and factories to impact their communities! Our producers run amazing projects from supporting women who have left the Kolkata sex trade to using waste products for local agriculture – goodness all round! As we grow we are keen to support people more and more – it’s been exciting to find different projects and ways that can happen (we are always open to suggestions too!)
What was your first job?
My first job was at New Look, a typical high street fashion brand in the UK, whilst I was studying at high school – folding clothes, managing stock, operating the tills! My first taste of the fashion world wasn’t as glamorous as I would have hoped!
Tell us a bit about who YOU are?
Well, currently I live and work in London which is a huge contrast to my childhood. I grew up in a village in the North of England with the classic cobbled streets, a local butchers and greengrocers, and a pub every two steps! Then for university, I moved to London to study at the London College of Fashion. It took me a little while to acclimatize to the hustle and bustle of London, but once I did, I would never want to live anywhere else – I’m definitely a city girl! Especially when you have 24-hour access to the essentials – coffee, cake, and cocktails!
Where were you five years ago and what were you doing?
Studying at college! Wow. That feels like a lifetime ago! I was probably in the library panicking about a Further Maths exam and convincing myself that the exam was the end of the world (it wasn’t).
What inspired you to start your business/ brand?
In 2013 a factory in Bangladesh, called Rana Plaza, collapsed. It was this huge, physical symbol of how the fashion industry had fallen into a cycle of promoting profit over people. Know The Origin was my way of pursuing my desire to create awesome clothing whilst simultaneously challenging and changing a system that currently exploits people and the environment.
What has been the greatest difficulty you’ve faced so far, and how are you dealing with it?
Honestly, the greatest difficulty of running a start-up is… running a start-up! There is this huge pressure for it to become your entire life and every little decision can feel like make or break.
I think I am trying to learn the art of relaxing. So many people that run start-ups somehow are at their office 25 hours a day and feel guilty whenever they take a moment to breathe. At Know The Origin I’ve decided to mark out clear boundaries of work and life – weekends and evenings away from the office are a must. Having time, and a life, outside of the office just makes me even more passionate to get in and work!
What was the greatest day you can remember and why was it so great?
One of the greatest days was receiving our first round of investment. Laura and I were so encouraged to have someone else believe in KTO and what we are trying to create as much as we did.
Who is your greatest inspiration and why?
One of my greatest inspirations is some of the pioneers of fair trade fashion, I am so inspired by Safia Minney who started People Tree. She stuck to her principles, in a time when no-one even knew what fairtrade was or that there was a problem. She has gone on to create an awesome brand and support thousands of incredible producers in the process.
What’s your favorite tv/movie/animated character and why?
I’m a Leo fan, but not for his dashing good looks, more for the kickass environmental activism. You should check out his film Before The Flood – one of the most incredible films I’ve seen in awhile. You can find it here: BEFORE THE FLOOD
Anything that you want to add?
You can find us hanging here: www.instagram.com/knowtheorigin
Check out transparency week next week and visit us at | KTO
This post was sponsored by Know the Origin. All opinions are our own and written honestly. At Sutton + Grove we feature brands and businesses that we truly love and believe fit within a conscious lifestyle. Read More HERE