Tell us about yourself – family background, personal story, education, and previous professional capacities.
Hello everyone! My name is Kai Jonas and I am a co-founder of Brighton-based fashion brand, Lite Apparel. We launched just over three weeks ago with our 06.16 Collection and we are very grateful of the amazing welcome into the Fashion world!
I along with other members in the team are University students, I’m personally an International Business student (quite fittingly) though we are made up of an Economics student, Arts and Media students – so a good mix.
All of us were brought up in Brighton & Hove which is a small town (technically city) on the South Coast of the UK, and became friends at a very young age through our love of football.
Our journey into the fashion world perhaps wouldn’t be deemed conventional, in that we weren’t the types to be hand crafting garments, though we all had a gauge on popular or mainstream fashion and appreciated high quality garments.
What is the importance of ethical fashion?
Ethical Fashion covers a range of issues such as working conditions, exploitation, fair trade, the environment, and animal welfare. Unfortunately these issues although being addressed more and more are still existent.
To date, 250 million 5-14 year olds are being exploited in hundreds of thousands of sweat shops around the world.
It’s important to highlight that these sweatshops are not just based in third world or underdeveloped countries – they can be found much closer to home than you would expect!
I was lucky enough to have some experience with manufacturing and production through a recent internship in China and learnt the importance of not cutting corners when it comes to producing products. Along with this, and having exhausted hundreds of pages on Google Search, I have become more aware of the true implications of what would be considered fast fashion and it was one of the main reasons why we decided to launch an Ethical centered brand in Lite Apparel.
What is the importance of sustainable fashion?
Sustainable fashion in our view should be, and widely is, considered as important as that of ethical fashion.
This more so involves the physical processes of creating products, and more precisely relating to the effect production has on the environment.
One worrying statistic that I feel could do with some more circulation is that 25% of chemicals produced worldwide are used for textiles. With this, the fashion industry as a whole are widely branded as number 2 in the rankings of the highest polluters of clean water, just after agriculture!
This is an extremely alarming statistic that has been shown to lead to extremely detrimental effects on the environment.
Perhaps more relative to us as buyers – 16 out of 27 luxury fashion products, (59%) tested positive for one or more hazardous chemicals.
Its crucial to be conscious and take care when purchasing any type of product as you never know what effect it has had on the environment, or eventually the effect it may have on yourself!
What is LiteApparel?
Lite Apparel is a Brighton-based fashion brand trying to raise and share the importance of ethical & sustainable fashion whilst offering some pretty kick-ass high quality products (well at least we and our customers think so).
We have grown to understand that there is a need for a movement in the Fashion industry and we hope to inspire it.
What makes Lite Apparel unique?
So this is a question we needed to, and wanted to, raise right at the beginning when formulating the brand.
A lot of new start-ups in Fashion tend to innovate through design, which is awesome! Though, none of us really had any experience in fashion design so truthfully we shied away from delving into that approach.
Instead, we wanted to innovate through the processes and procedures that would eventually make up our products.
We were very lucky to discover and partner up with The Fair Wear Foundation who helped significantly with the creation of our 06.16 collection – ensuring that all materials and products were ethically sourced and imperatively personified with award-winning energy efficient sustainable methods of production.
It’s meant to offer innovative, high quality, sustainably manufactured, and environmentally friendly products, and affiliated with fair wear foundation group. What is the importance of the relationship with fair wear foundation group?
Like mentioned in the previous question, partnering up with Fair Wear was essential and largely the reason why we have found success with this initial collection.
Not only did they provide superb resources through the creation process they also offered incredible support that I’m sure all of us will cherish forever.
What other work are you involved in at this point in time?
We all agreed to solely focus on Lite over the Summer and it is seemingly paying off.
We are all pretty keen on sports, particular football, so most of us are continuing with coaching younger children and communities around Sussex which is very fun & fulfilling.
What meaning or personal fulfillment does this work bring for you?
For us we are just very honored to be in a position to be able to contribute to the Fashion industry in hopefully a positive way. We all understand and believe that there is a need for a change from both the creator and consumers perspective and we hope to contribute to this as much as we can.
With regard to ethical and sustainable fashion companies, what’s the importance of them to you?
We had the opportunity to meet with members from our absolute inspiration ethical-brands Patagonia and Braintree which was incredible! Both of whom provided unbelievable support and provided even more inspiration to keep on going with Lite.
Particularly with Patagonia what is extremely inspiring for us is the fact that they are now becoming extreme heavy-weights in urban streetwear which is really where we hope to position our brand in the future. It just shows that you don’t need to produce cheaply in order to get into the mainstream.
Overall its just great to see so many doing so well and it supports that consumers are becoming more conscious and there is a market for Ethical & Sustainable fashion.
Any feelings or thoughts in conclusion?
I would just like to remind all the consumers out there, including myself, that we have the power!
Although ethical or sustainably produced products tend to be a little more expensive, the reason generally speaking is because you are paying for a better quality product – and most importantly a wage of which the individual who produced it can, to put it bluntly, survive.
Be conscious people!