Meet the Founder

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I'm Karen Adams, the founder of KAIA Clothing, a sustainable clothing brand that offers relaxed and elegant designs in beautiful and sustainable fabrics, including GOTS certified organic jersey bamboo, 100% artisan linen made by members of the Linen Guild, Organic rubber, and cotton.

100 billion STOP is our range of organic Fairtrade t-shirts and leisure wear, made in purpose built wind-powered facilities. 

Our mission 

KAIA Clothing positions itself as a force for good in the world.

Love of people and planet are the drivers behind our business strategy and practices.

KAIA Clothing responds to the climate emergency with a range of sustainable clothing, carefully curated from environmentally friendly suppliers, made from 3rd party verified sustainable manufacturing. 

We believe that in order to interrupt the consumption of 100 billion polluting garments manufactured annually, urgent action is needed. Fast fashion emits 1 billion tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere every year and is a worse polluter than shipping and aviation combined.

There are currently 11,200 charity shops across the UK, which serve a population of 66 million. To advocates who adopt the position that everyone should cease buying new clothing altogether, this would mean that existing charity shops would each need the capacity to clothe 6,000 people. It's a flawed strategy, and so KAIA Clothing propose something that looks at the crisis with a somewhat wider lense.

 clothing protocol

In response to the emergency, KAIA Clothing's  4 step protocol urges the following guide to consumers of clothing;

  1. STOP. Consider whether you really should make the purchase

  2. BECOME THE 2ND OWNER. Repair, re-wear, re-use, re-purpose

  3. BECOME THE 1ST OWNER. Make your purchases sustainable ones. Buy certified products that are verified. Avoid greenwashing

  4. STOP BUYING FAST FASHION. It is polluting to the earth and sustained through supply chains that frequently exploit unprotected workers and pollute freshwater supplies.

KAIA Clothing's business model focuses on points 2 and 3 of our protocol. Each new sustainable purchase is posted in a compostable bag that has 2 adhesive strips, giving it two lives.  We enclose a free address label, allowing our customers to easily donate an equivalent pre-loved item to a UK based charity, for sale in their shops, keeping garments in circulation and out of landfill

Origin Story

I made my first garment at the age of 7, on the grass in my garden in North London. Having grown up with a black and gold singer sewing machine in the house, watching fabric come to life in my Mother's hands, I marvelled at how a flat piece of fabric could be transformed and engineered into 3d clothes worn by my siblings and I.

At 19, I started a small fashion business. I studied fashion design and fashion drawing at London's Central St Martin's School of Art, however, I chose the predictability and dependability of corporate retail, immersing my geekish side into a function called merchandising (profits, forecasting and analysis of inventory data).

KAIA Clothing represents a return to one of my earliest passions; designing and making clothes. I seek to impact the lives of others; vulnerable women and children who have been impacted by domestic violence, the people the live and work at the end of our supply chains, who make our clothes, often without due regard for worker's rights, and all of us, because we all face the threat from climate change. 

Why sustainable?

Clothing manufacture inflicts colossal damage upon the environment:

  • One wash-load of polyester clothes can release 700,000 microplastic fibres into the environment. 

  • It is estimated that half a million tonnes of these microfibres end up in the sea each year. 

  • Polyester, made from fossil fuels, is non-biodegradable. 

  • Microfibres from synthetics are a major contributor to microplastic pollution – a 2019 Bangor University survey of UK rivers, reservoirs and lakes found micro-plastic pollution at all locations tested.

  • According to the Pulse of Fashion report in 2015 the industry was responsible for 1,715 million tonnes of CO2 emissions. 

  • The UN states that the fashion industry consumes more energy than the aviation and shipping industry combined. The Pulse report forecast fashion emissions to grow by 63% by 2030.

  • According to the 2017 Wrap report, the average water footprint for a kilo of cotton (equivalent to pair of jeans and a shirt) is 10,000-20,000 litres. India and Pakistan are major suppliers of cotton to the UK, but both countries suffer from high levels of water scarcity.

This video shows why we should all care about the true cost of clothing;

design philosophy

Mostly, women's clothing is secured around our waists, which requires an exact fit.

Being fitted at the waist means that other ratios such as waist to crotch, and upper and lower hip measurements must also be calculated. 

The more exacting the measurements in the design, the higher likelihood that it just won't fit some people. 

Most items are returned due to poor fit and the return journey increases the carbon footprint of that garment by at least 100%

I bear this in mind when designing KAIA Clothing, often designing from the shoulder, as the hanging point of the garment.

I also design in order to maximise self-fastening of the garment where possible, eliminating the need for synthetic zips and fasters, which in turn, brings down the carbon footprint of the garment.

giving

Giving is built into the KAIA Clothing business model from the outset in the form of support for women and children, that are affected by domestic abuse.

 

In 2020, UK Police forces recorded more than a quarter of a million offences flagged as domestic abuse-related from April to June, the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

 

KAIA Clothing commits to donating a percentage  of each purchase to a nominated local domestic abuse charity; Eve.

Eve supports families that have been impacted by domestic abuse. The outcomes we hope to achieve through our support are;

a) Practical assistance and help with clothing needs. (Some women flee with just the clothes on their backs).

b)To clothe women not just practically, but with love and dignity, showing them knowing that they have been supported by other women who care.

c)KAIA Clothing has a longer term vision to create pathways for survivors, into employment, as the KAIA Clothing business grows sustainably.