Dorris Bogus, founder of KaMIT Sport fitness and lifestyle wear focuses 30 percent of her line on eco-friendly fabrics like organic cotton and bamboo. Read more about her and Kamit Sport below!
Tell us about yourself – familial/personal story, education, and prior work.
I grew up in Knoxville Tennessee. as the middle child of 10 siblings. I can remember vividly shopping at thrift stores for clothes for school and special events. “New” was not a part of my upbringing. Perhaps that is where my affinity for recycling started. I graduated from Tennessee State University with a BS in Allied Health and minor in Chemistry. I worked in a clinical laboratory for 10 years in Texas and Hawaii.
After moving to Plano in 1991, I started a floral and gift basket business with a focus on corporate accounts. After the tragedy of 911, most of my corporate business dried up. I started my apparel business for two reasons. I like working out and wanted to inspire and address obesity in teenagers (I thought that apparel would be a way to reach them. It was not) and I like the creative-entrepreneurial process. Later I focused marketing efforts toward an older demographic.
I am currently married and have three children. We reside in Plano Texas.
After a 3rd grade student called my company and asked If we recycled I started to consider ways to incorporated eco-friendly fabrics into my line of active wear and also to find ways to recycle the everyday items associated with running a business.
What is the importance of ethical fashion to you?
The number one reason is Empathy.
Scott, I grew up working. I started working summer jobs at the age of 13. Some of the jobs were hard in terms of long hours with little pay. When I look at the age of the workers and the working conditions in some of these apparel factories it is dis-hearting. Many of the workers have no way to advance and to earn a decent wage. Right now, my company is able to hire local talent for design, and cut and sew when needed. I like being able to visit the companies associated with the production of my products. As my company grows I will continue to require the same fair labor standards.
What is the importance of sustainable fashion to you?
I want future generation to inherit a planet that is able to replenish itself without the use of harsh chemicals that pollute the air. To me it is all about the next generation. They need a legacy to build on not one that they constantly have to repair. Sustainable fabric in particular are well suited for the category of clothes that KaMIT makes. Active wear requires certain properties that fabrics like bamboo and organic cotton already possess. Bamboo is naturally antimicrobial, has moisture wicking properties. Bamboo is easy to maintain and holds up well under repeated washing. It is great to design with and feels great against the skin. Organic cotton requires less water and no harsh insecticides to grow abundantly.
What is KaMIT Sport?
KaMIT (pronounced Commit) because whatever you do you have to commit to it.
KaMIT is women active/casual wear brand. KaMIT (fit for your lifestyle) allows a woman to transition through her day in comfort and style.
KaMIT the brand takes into account the many roles that women have during the course of 24 hours. As a mother of three children I wore many hats; mom, wife, PTA board member, entrepreneur, I struggled to find balance and a wardrobe that was functional and stylish.
The pieces in the line can do double duty.
What makes the company unique?
The company’s culture is one thing that makes it unique. I learned the industry from the ground up. I could not sew a pillowcase let alone use industrial sewing equipment, so the company likes to take chances on new hires and train them. I would not ask any employee, contract worker or anyone associated with my company to do anything that I would not do myself.
We are constantly searching for sustainable fabrics to incorporate into the brand. We design in ways to leave as little as possible fabric on the floor. When possible, we use recycled newsprint for cutting out patterns. We are looking at outfitting our sewing machines with motors that are quieter, (minimize noise pollution) and that shut down when the petal is not being pressed (energy efficient).
We mentor design students from the local high schools and University of North Texas.
We are able to design, make patterns, grade and sample sew in house. We can do small production runs in house.
What other work are you involved in at this point in time?
I am on the board of a non-profit J. B. Dondolo whose main effort is to provide services to impoverished areas worldwide. J B Dondolo is a member of Green Industry Platform.
What meaning or personal fulfillment does this work bring for you?
I remember the charitable organizations that helped my family and me. When I was growing up without the help of charities like the Salvation Army, I would not have had clothes and sometimes food to eat. The ability to give back to people who just need the necessities of life like food, health care, clean water, and shelter is rewarding. It feels like I am reaching back and helping and paying it forward as well.
With regard to ethical and sustainable fashion companies, what’s the importance of them now?
I think that with the global economy as well as global warming we have a real and immediate sense of connection with all groups of people and a responsibility to act consciously towards the ultimate good of all. Ethical and sustainable fashion is the industry’s opportunity to do just that.
Any feelings or thoughts in conclusion?
I urge all in the fashion industry to plan incorporate and actively monitor their efforts to make the planet cleaner, safer and sustainable for now and for future generations. Do what you can.
Thank you for your time, Dorris.