Both experienced entrepreneurs and fashion-tech experts, Eva and Bory discuss their core circular fashion marketplace, how ImpaktID turned from an innovative idea to stand-alone product, and their revolutionary NOT A VIRGIN swimsuit.
1. Where did the idea for Kool And Konscious come from?
Eva: Kool And Konscious was destiny calling. In 2018, Bory was living in Hong Kong and just coming out of a successful project on perfect-fit-on-demand-production. Driven by her passion for sustainability, she invested herself in a sustainable fashion project, which we now know as Kool And Konscious.
After the successful launch in Asia, Bory wanted to bring the project to Europe and was looking for someone to help bring the idea to life. And, at the time, I was looking for a project that could actually deliver change in the industry. So, this is where we came together as co-founders.
Bory: Using Eva’s fashion experience and business development expertise, we knew we wanted to build something more than just a platform. So, the aim of Kool And Konscious is to help empower choice and eliminate fashion’s moral and environmental footprint. We hope to redefine the industry by providing actual sustainable solutions.
In order to do this, we’ve focused our efforts in 3 main workflows: sourcing, tech and growth. During these past months the tech aspect has seen incredible development. This is mostly due to the strategic game at play and our approach: everything which is not our core tech, we use off-the-shelf technology. It allows us to move extremely quickly at the fraction of the cost. And it also allows us to invest time and money in the technology that actually makes a difference – ImpaktID.
Eva: ImpaktID is a pioneering sustainability measuring algorithm, which we developed in-house. It is a plug-and-play solution that evaluates the impact of production and reflects the conscious practices of brands, accounting for the environmental impact, and providing the action framework to produce and consume better. We created ImpaktID because we want to offer consumers and businesses a solution for their environmental footprint that is easy to use and understand.
Although it took a while to build the model and conduct the research, we believe that this is a piece of tech that can actually move the needle in consumer demand and understanding of the issue. We felt this technology has potential beyond our own platform at a much bigger scale and this is why we are launching it as a stand-alone product.
2. Can you tell us a bit more about the ‘Not a Virgin’ swimsuit, and what makes it so special?
Eva: Creating a brand-item was in the works since the start of the year. Being exposed to so many cool and sustainable brands on our platform, we were inspired to create a circularity-enabled product, which empowers consumers to understand the impact of their purchases, and also gives them, and ourselves, the tools to act. We believe that circular production is one of the strongest solutions for the fashion industry going forward.
However, the birth of the NOT A VIRGIN swimsuit coincided with the outbreak of Covid-19, and although, like so many others, the pandemic hit us hard, we chose to look at it as a blessing in disguise. Quarantine gave us the time we needed to buckle down and invest more of our time and efforts into the product’s execution.
Bory: The swimsuit is composed of 100% regenerated yarn from discarded fishing nets and natural fibre degradable elastics. All materials are sourced from dead-stock resulting in a zero-waste product. It is packaged and delivered in entirely biodegradable packaging, part of which is made from 100% up-cycled table linen cloths.
The NOT A VIRGIN swimsuit also serves as a proof-of-concept for ImpaktID and helped leverage the algorithm’s potential and increased its competitive advantages. With its help, we were able to build a strong framework of accountability, which will serve us on our way to fully circular production.
With ImpaktID and NOT A VIRGIN we believe we’re advancing the cause for sustainability further, proving that circularity-enabled production and transparency in fashion are, indeed, achievable.
3. What makes Kool and Konscious different from its competitors?
Eva: What we believe sets us apart from the rest is our different approach to sustainability. Our understanding is that changing consumers’ habits is a lengthy endeavour. We all know that smoking is bad and yet it took us half a century and a lot of government regulations to take it down a notch. So we stay clear from greenwashing messages and instead embrace a more sympathetic approach towards the issue. We believe a change in consumer behaviour can only happen through free choice. So our ultimate goal is to empower that choice. To make it easy for both consumers and big-name fashion players to make the first steps towards sustainability.
Bory: Our team has extensive experience in fashion and fashion tech, and therefore knows first hand the impact of fast fashion. So with this expertise from both the consumer and production side, we have set out to build the Planet’s first truly circular fashion platform – a place where we empower brands to design and produce circular items; we offer consumers transparency and the tools they need to understand the impact of their purchases as well as ways to close the loop; and offer easy to understand and impactful solutions to businesses through the sustainable measuring algorithm – ImpaktID.
4. Where do you see the company in 5 years time?
Eva: In 5 years, we envision our ImpaktID tool to be part of the customer’s decision-making process when choosing fashion products. We hope to empower smart choices and help build new consumption habits which will shift our industry towards better, more transparent and accountable practices.
Even now, Kool And Konscious is the largest platform for sustainable fashion in terms of variety, but this is only the beginning. We are working towards delivering the circular marketplace where you can not only find great fashion, but you can also be sure that there is transparency to each product’s lifecycle – from inception to disposal.
For our Planet’s future, we need to redefine the rules, and this is exactly what we are doing with our work.
*This article has been posted as part of the Sustainable Start-up Series run by WeWhoDo: building a community of world-leading experts to help sustainable businesses thrive. For more information about KOOL & KONSCIOUS, check out their site here: https://koolandkonscious.com/ *