I have enjoyed watching Kit Willow Podgornik’s triumphant return to Australian fashion. It’s been 2 years since she was unceremoniously dumped from her namesake label, Willow, which was bought out by The Apparel Group (owners of Australian high-street retailers Saba, Sportscraft and JAG) in 2011. But now she’s back with a new label, KITX, and a new focus – a slow fashion business that is mindful of its impact (environmentally, socially and economically) on the world.
As she said to Wallpaper mag:
“KitX is the direction I wanted to take Willow in; to create beautiful clothes that have a deeper meaning,’ said Podgornik, who spent much of that break reseraching fashion’s environmental accountability. ‘I never realised the effect that the materials used in fashion have on the planet – even just the packaging,’ she continues. ‘It made my blood boil. I realised that fashion industry is the second biggest polluting industry in the world; many cotton farmers don’t live past the age of 45 because they die of cancers caused by all the chemicals they’re exposed to, which in turn pollute water supplies for villages. I had space to look around and think about what to do next, what women want and need, and it was so clear to me that the way forward was a brand with no negative effects on the planet or its people, right down to having happy salespeople.”
Despite the slow fashion mantra, success is coming quickly – she is stocking at many boutiques and department stores including David Jones, is about to launch her third collection with a lookbook shot in Paris and has just opened a flagship store in Paddington, around the corner from the Willow boutique. How’s that for a comeback?