Kitx Spring 2022 Ready-to-Wear Collection

Australia recently emerged from a multi-month lockdown. “It’s been another challenging year,” Kit Willow said from her home in Melbourne. “No travel, all the stores are closed and we were homeschooling.” You can’t say Willow didn’t make the most of it, though.

Its Kitx brand is built on sustainable principles. The principles and practices are not always the same, as a quick Google search on the topic of greenwashing will show. But after the lockdown, the Willows are better aligned than most. In June, during Short Sydney Fashion Week, she announced a new pre-order strategy. “We produce what you buy, which reduces waste and is better for the planet,” she told her followers.

In the meantime and now, as an industry accustomed to moving at high speed has been hampered by labor shortages and freight issues, Willow has set up a Future From Waste Lab. At the Melbourne plant, the landfilled denim is sorted, washed, hung to dry and cut open, then stitched up, photographed and sold, or packaged and shipped. “The whole process is transparent in one place,” she said.

Willow was approached by Australian property development company Beulah and asked to consider the future of retail. “All I know is we have a huge waste problem,” she explained. “If we can create a transparent environment where you see the waste coming in and seeing the production process and either selling it or shipping it, that sounds like the future of retail to me.” Best of all, she shares the facility with other Australian companies who recycle different materials and clothing. T-shirts, let’s say. “Kitx pedal, pedal, pedal, but for real change to go forward we need it to happen across the industry.”

The denim pieces in her new collection were all made from recycled materials at the Future From Waste Lab. Otherwise, and in keeping with her practice of sustainability, Willow began to research the possibilities of the mycelium. There is no mushroom leather, but mushrooms make appearances as a digital print on silk or wool jersey dresses, and as tops hand-crocheted with organic cotton to look like with the frilly and lace skirts of a veiled lady, one of which shines on a t-shirt.

Willow said she plans to show her collection in Paris next March, as she did before COVID, but is skeptical of resuming business as usual. “Do we want normal? ” she asked. Willow doesn’t, and she’s doing something about it.

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