From the unsuspecting city of Wellington, New Zealand, Kowtow Clothing is leading in sustainable fashion production and setting the bar high for its competitors.

Kowtow was founded in 2007 by designer Gosia Piatek, driven by her desire to create an ethical label that would be the example for a fashion forward, global thinking business.

With slow fashion values at its core, the modern day collections are a reflection of this.

Kowtow covers the basics with its dedicated Building Block range, but also branches into statement pieces with organic patterns and colours. The consistent feel throughout its collections is both wearable and modern – although Kowtow is known for its oversized, minimalist pieces.

Kowtow Winter Collection

Kowtow boasts ethical production with reference to its certification by Fairtrade Labelling Organisations International, garments made at SA8000 certified organisations, and ethical treatment of animals where relevant.

The brand is committed to sustainability throughout the supply chain, and for this reason chooses fabrics with minimal impact on people and the planet.

The collections are made from organic, renewable, biodegradable and regenerated fibres. These include organic cotton that is free from harmful chemicals, recycled materials that help to reduce waste, and Tencel – a biodegradable fibre made using wood pulp from Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified forests.

Kowtow also uses ethically sourced Merino Wool, and for its swimwear, an upcycled nylon yarn known as ECONYL®.

When it comes to garment production, the brand promotes having fair workplaces and says it is certified by non-profit internationally recognised organisations that support fair wages, no child labour, gender equality and freedom of association.

Kowtow also says it can trace its supply chain from the raw materials to the finished garment.

To extend the lifetime of its garments and reduce waste, Kowtow offers a mending service at its Wellington store, and a takeback service where the brand recuts and recycles its used swimwear and clothing.

You can find out more about Kowtow’s production and philosophy here.