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Fashion Revolution Week: KEMP GADEGAARD

As part of Fashion Revolution Week 2018, Gather & See interviewed KEMP GADEDÅRD. Read the interview to find out who’s working behind the scenes at KEMP GADEDÅRD to make your clothes, and who they’d prioritise showing ‘The True Cost’ documentary to. 

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Fashion Revolution Week is a chance for customers to ask brands 'Who made my Clothes?'. Can you talk us through some of the people involved in making your recent collection - Part III: Caves? 

Before we start to design a collection, we source our fabrics, which changes every season. It usually starts with us participating in a fabric fair where we meet the people producing the fabric. For the collection Part III: Caves, we are working with four different fabric manufacturers from different parts of the world. 

All of the cotton used across the different styles is organic - grown on a farm in Uganda (photos below from Kemp Gadegaard's cotton supplier, Cotonea) .  It is then spun in Turkey, knitted and finished in Germany. Most fabrics have quite a long supply chain, but we are lucky to work with accredited and trustworthy companies who also take pride in offering a transparent supply chain. Our silk is sourced from a supplier in Italy, whose production follows the ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at work. In essence, this makes sure that the workers who spun the fabric have freedom of association (can form unions), that there are no child workers, nor discrimination. For the season SS18, he imported the silk from certified ILO standard factories, with the SA8000 Standard (the social certification standard). We then digitally print this silk in the UK. 

The manufacturing of our collections—after we receive the fabrics—takes place in Spain with our trusted partner Carmen. She carries out the full production process, from the pattern making to the size scaling to the sewing of the labels!

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Why is it so important to the ethos of KEMP GADEGÅRD to know who's behind each item you sell?

At KEMP GADEGÅRD, we believe in the power of communicating the hidden structures behind clothes production. From the beginning of our collaboration (Eilis and Maya, the cofounders), we always wanted to design and create together. Once we decided this was to take the shape of a clothing label, and knowing the reality of the way the fashion industry operates, it just didn't make sense to do it any other way.

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Tell us about one of the members of your team that you're most proud of - from anywhere in the supply chain - and why their story makes you proud? 

Carmen is our Production Manager in Spain—she always ensures all our deadlines are met while working to the highest quality standards, which is not easy! She is amazingly supportive and an incredibly positive person. We have only been working together a few years, but she is like family now.

If you were given an hour with a buyer from a large clothing company that doesn't have a responsible supply chain, how would you spend that time and what one action would you try and get them to take on board? 

We would spend 25 minutes showing them highlights from The True Cost—the documentary that highlights the environmental and social costs of the fast fashion industry. We would then explain that it is a buyers responsibility to be at the forefront of social innovation—helping customers make conscious choices in their every day!

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What five words would you use to describe KEMP GADEGÅRD? 

Honest, sustainable, contemporary, long-lasting, timeless.

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