KRAIT London is a womenswear brand that defines itself as luxury, slow-fashion, with a focus on sustainability and female empowerment. The London-based label delivers avant-garde designs to the market, using luxury surplus and vintage fabrics from across the world. With a transparent supply chain and trackable clothing KRAIT is about story telling and creating touching bonds between women through clothing. KRAIT delivers fashion with an emotional significance and an honest story behind it.
It is KRAIT’s belief that the fashion industry can flourish without compromising the health and welfare of either the artisans or the planet. “I source the majority of the fabric we use from India and Uzbekistan,” explains founder, Alice Van Grutten. “However, I am hoping to find some treasures in Morocco as well. I spend a lot of time in Delhi finding surplus material and the trips to Kutch to source vintage fabrics and unbelievable traditional embroidery are always a highlight in my travel diary.”
“I have met every woman who creates clothes for KRAIT. I know the tailor master ji who teaches these wonder women how to pattern cut and sew. Madhu Vaishnav, who founded our Indian partner NGO Institute for Philanthropy and Humanitarian Development. I have been invited to the Doctor’s house that works at the women’s health clinic, shared chai with the education outreach team. I know them all, and it is truly an honour to know and work with such kind and inspiring women.
“Since starting KRAIT, I am much more aware of waste in general. The most obvious things I do are- I buy less and I keep it for longer. I try to purchase a lot of vintage pieces. I avoid excess and waste in all aspects of my life, be it food, clothes, cosmetics etc. I try and buy locally produced produce and I will nearly always support a small independent company over a large corporation. I am not perfect though, money plays a part in these decisions and there is always room for personal improvement.”
KRAIT’s latest collection was inspired Van Grutten’s time in Kashmir, “I was living there in 2017, among the ongoing Kashmir conflict, which is a territorial conflict primarily between India and Pakistan, which started just after the partition of India in 1947.
“This is still an unresolved conflict and clashes regularly occur. To be able to experience this and to see the violence was a real insight. Kashmir has the highest number of military personnel in the country – India has deployed more than 1 million troops in Indian- held kashmir. The Kashmiri people were speaking about how oppressed they were feeling. This collection, Bite your Tongue, is about the wider sense of oppression. Exploitation, Sexism, powerlessness, and cultural imperialism.
“The story behind the lifestyle shot was narrowed down to sexism. The boxing ring location was showing fight within females. Using a male model to wear female clothes was a representation of equality and the tailored collection was a play on power dressing and uniform. In some of the shots the female and male model come together in a show of unity. It was a tremendously fun shoot to direct, everyone involved in the creation of those images is a close friend of mine who really understood the significance of the story.”
“I really enjoy collaborating with the photographer Stuart Mack. He magically seems to understand my rather crazy visions and always delivers great images. On a creative level we seem to make a good team and I have really enjoyed working with him in the past. I collaborate with a lot of friends, which is always heartwarming and enjoyable because they are so emotionally invested in it working.”
As for highlights of the KRAIT journey, “It has to have been when a big celebrity stylist asked KRAIT for an outfit for the Grammy Awards 2018. Oh, being stocked by Wolf & Badger was also a milestone. Seeing our Indian partner NGO Institute for Philanthropy and Humanitarian Development open the female health clinic in Rajasthan was a massive moment. There are lots of little things that make it all feel worthwhile.
“I admire any brand that is making a conscious effort to be more sustainable. Stella McCartney has done exceptional things with her brand and found very innovative and responsible ways to produce desirable clothes. Rêve En Vert is also ticking boxes when it comes to fashionable ethical clothing.
“We are looking to expand the number of NGO’s and artisans that KRAIT work with,” says Van Grutten, speaking of things to come. “Towards mid 2018 I plan on venturing to Morocco, Uzbekistan and Mongolia to find fabrics and skillsets. There are discussions with a Berlin based documentary maker who is interested in featuring KRAIT’s story and supply chain in a short film and a few collaborations, which aren’t yet set in stone.”
Shop online and read more about Van Grutten’s travels at KRAIT London’s website. Also avilable at Wolf & Badger HERE.