Based in Wellington, New Zealand, Kowtow is a designer brand that combines fashion with ethical and sustainable values. The name Kowtow comes from the Chinese word meaning an act of deep respect shown by kneeling and bowing so low as to have your head touching the ground. Founder, Gosia Piatek, launched Kowtow out of a genuine desire to see people thrive and be happy, she says, and not as a marketing ploy.
From small beginnings, especially as someone with no formal training in the fashion industry, the refining of her sustainable business model has taken years of daunting research, late nights and hard work to ensure that her supply chain is ethical throughout. She closely monitors each stage, from how the cotton is grown, woven and manufactured, how the buttons, zippers, and trims are made, through the production of the garments and their delivery to the store.
"Basically I wanted to start a business that was first and foremost ethical and sustainable. I went on a 6 month research mission to find a factory that worked with certified fair trade organic cotton and ended up finding the right place in India. The factory only works with organic yarn and, from the cotton seed to the finished garment, their chain is completely transparent. All factory workers receive holiday pay, subsidized lunches, free schooling for their children as well as working regular hours with little overtime. On top of this the quality is really amazing, the cotton is super soft & people are really starting to catch on about the benefits!"
Inspired by architecture, typography, street style and travel, Kowtow produces a result that is simple, minimalist and clever, with an effortless aesthetic that appeals to all ages and body types.