INTERVIEW: KOTA | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Image: KOTA’s Kaleidoscope collection

When it comes to fashion, I have to confess I’m a little behind the curve. Mainly because I never throw anything away but also because, like many others, I worry about the cost of fashion beyond my purse.

Chatting to Newcastle-based Finnish designer and stylist Krista Puranen Wilson, I was delighted to discover that the region’s eco fashion industry is on the up. “The scene is booming! There are some really interesting small fashion businesses in Newcastle, my personal favourites being: Trendlistr (vintage clothing), Darned Fine (repurposed and custom denim) and Ollthethings (contemporary jewellery).”

After many years in the industry selling award-winning Scandinavian design labels, in 2016 Krista founded KOTA with the aim of creating her own home ware and clothing collection outside of the current throw-away trends. “All of our products are made in the UK to keep the carbon footprint as short as possible. It’s a golden opportunity to tap into something the big giants can’t offer: local production and unique, small collections with a more custom made and ethical approach.”

As well as providing a selection of handpicked Scandinavian items from labels such as the iconic Marimekko and Finlayson, KOTA’s own collections focus on cutting edge contemporary design and draw inspiration from art, nature, films, music and history. Earlier this summer they launched Kaleidoscope, a strong print collection inspired by the opposite powers of the earth – hot volcanoes and icy waterfalls – featuring eye-catching swimwear, tank tops, 1990’s inspired slip dresses and luxurious dressing gowns (one of which is unisex).

Unlike mainstream fashion retailers who include an ethical range that is still mass-produced, KOTA takes a slow fashion approach to manufacture; designing, creating and buying garments for quality and longevity with slower production schedules, fair wages, a lower carbon footprint and ideally zero waste. “Eco conscious start-ups and more unique or custom made products should be the future of design.” Krista says. “All of our collections stay available as more pieces are added, so there will always be something new for our customers to discover. This planet has had enough of fast fashion.”

Krista’s designs are available from the KOTA shop at Ampersand Inventions, Commercial Union House, Newcastle and online.

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