Krochet Kids intl. is a non-profit lifestyle brand working in Uganda and Peru to fulfill its mission statement – to empower people to rise above poverty. Every product is hand-signed by the woman who made it so supporters can know who and how they are helping. We sat down with Co-Founder Kohl Crecelius to learn more about why he is passionate about ethical fashion being a vehicle for change.
Kohl Crecelius and his team of close friends are on a mission to revolutionize what it means to do business and to do good. As the CEO & Co-founder of the non-profit lifestyle brand KK intl. his passions drive him to connect people around the world through great product. Hats, accessories, and apparel are made in developing countries and hand-signed by the person who made them. A passionate communicator, Kohl’s innovative approach to business and caring for those less fortunate have garnered him opportunities to write for Forbes, Chronicle of Philanthropy, Cool Hunting and more.
What excites or intrigues you most about the conscious fashion movement?
We have been working in this space actively for over 10 years, and what's most exciting to me is the exponentially rapid awareness that has been taking place over recent years. It makes me so happy to see the conversation growing and more people considering the impact of their clothing purchases on the environment and the people who make them.
What was the catalyst that led you to start your venture?
For us, it had very little to do with being a part of a "conscious fashion movement" (a term that wasn't even on people's radar at that point). My friends and I had traveled quite a bit internationally and we wanted to start a new kind of organization, one that empowered people through skills training and education as opposed to handouts. We started by training women in Uganda how to crochet (a skill we had) as a means for them to begin earning an income.
Where do you feel is the biggest need to push the conscious fashion movement forward?
I believe that this movement will grow from the bottom up. Larger fashion companies aren't going to change unless it is being demanded by their customers. That being said, it's going to take all of us being more vocal and continuing to ask questions of the brands we like.
What is the most important thing to look for when shopping ethical?
In my opinion, you need to look to whether the "ethical" or "conscious" component of a brand is something that is clearly a marketing gimmick or whether their commitment to creating change is woven into the fabric of who the organization is. I believe ethical products should lead with their impact, as opposed to creating a cause and effect type transaction -- (i.e.) when we sell X we give Y to people in need.
What conscious brands do you love to wear?
What I do most of all is purchase nearly all of my clothing second hand. I love shopping at consignment shops and thrifts stores because you are able to find some really great brands, as well as completely unique product, at great prices. My wardrobe is pretty minimal so outside of second hand clothes, I only wear KK intl. and I have a few pieces from USA made brand Almond Surfboards.
Be sure to check out Krochet Kids and support their mission to build economy in Uganda and Peru by buying some cool hand-signed merch. If you send 3 of your friends a $25 Krochet Kids credit by the end of March, you will receive $25 for yourself to go shopping! Love reading behind the scenes? For weekly inspiration, subscribe to our email list!