My ECO STORIES with Krisha Kotak
Updated: Jul 11, 2022
Welcome to My ECO STORIES, our interview series, where we chat to different fashion and textile industry practitioners about their thoughts on sustainability and the future of fashion.
Krisha Kotak is the founder of tūla + tye, a boutique slow fashion and lifestyle brand with sustainability at its core. After being made redundant from her role as a travel PR due to the pandemic. She used her experience and family history in the textiles industry to start her own brand. Kotak, who is based in the United Kingdom, spotted a demand for loungewear as the country went into lockdown and home working went hand-in-hand with comfort attire.
Can you talk a bit about your practice?
My brand, tūla + tye, is about slow fashion and giving new life to waste resources by creating something from them. Sustainability is at the brand's core, and the first collection is all tie-dye loungewear made from recycled and organic materials, hand-dyed in the UK using eco-friendly pigments. I wanted to create something comfortable, inclusive and fun whilst giving people a conscious option for the popular tie-dye trend.
What does sustainability mean to you?
Sustainability is still a work in progress, and there is much to consider. There will always be counter-arguments as to why recycled clothing isn't as great for the planet as we think...how much energy was used in regenerating the yarn? How much water was used for organic cotton? What's the carbon footprint of importing goods that can't be sourced in the UK? The main thing for me is that individuals and companies should do what we can to minimise damage, and while there may still be parts of the process which need work, I firmly believe that making a conscious purchase is far better than not.
How do you make your practice sustainable?
tūla + tye products are made with high-quality, sustainable materials from a mixture of pre-and post-consumer textiles, organic cotton, and recycled plastic bottles that have been transformed into polyester. These are hand-dyed in the UK using non-toxic pigments - some of which are even obtained from local factories that were prepared to let them go to waste.
The labels, tags and packaging are all made from organic and recycled materials, are recyclable or reusable, and our mailing bags are biodegradable. To minimise waste, I make everything in small quantities and have carefully chosen to work with suppliers who share my values and have a strong commitment to both people and the planet. I've also been trying to support other small businesses where possible!
What advice would you give to someone starting a responsible brand?
Do your research, and don't rush! Transparency is key, and when making a sustainable purchase, consumers want to know exactly what makes this product sustainable, what the benefit of the purchase will be to them, and therefore why they should be buying it instead of a less responsible alternative.
Which item of clothing in your wardrobe is the most important to you?
It's very cliché, but an alpaca wool jumper I bought whilst travelling in Bolivia six years ago. It is something I will never be able to get rid of! It's been everywhere with me, and I always feel so nostalgic about that trip whenever I put it on.
Which small businesses are you loving at the moment, and would like to give a shout out to?
Milly Grace is a gorgeous jewellery company that makes all their (very fashionable) pieces out of recycled 925 sterling silver. I think the jewellery industry is sometimes overlooked in terms of its impact on the planet. Milly Grace has stepped up in making themselves as eco-conscious as possible, with recyclable packaging and an ethical work practice.
In light of the current COVID-19 pandemic, what issue has been highlighted in the industry to you?
The impact of fast fashion on the environment is no revelation, and while some consumers would still prefer to spend less and buy more, I think there has been a considerable shift in perceptions. During the pandemic, the world has been forced to reflect upon its relationship with the planet and seeing the environmental consequences of our lifestyle and how 'slowing down' has had such a positive effect. It is exactly what inspired me to start a sustainable brand.
What is your hope for the future of fashion and textiles?
I hope the industry's future can be more sustainable, ethical and responsible across all parts of its supply chain. It's great to see that finally, big brands are starting to implement more conscious practices and being more open about their manufacturing and workforce, but there's still a long way to go!
Written by Bethan and Krisha @theecostories