Kinobi On Pushing For A Healthier Retail Pace

(Inside Outside by Kinobi)

Kinobi is known for being an advocate of the slow fashion movement, often working with independent designers who prioritise quality over quantity. In this issue, Ally Macrae (Founder of Kinobi) lets us in on the downsides of high street retail, consumers' motivation and creating a healthy space for designers to thrive in. 

Was it a deliberate decision to associate the Kinobi with Japanese philosophies, such as wabi-sabi and the act of balancing? 
I have been a fan of Leonard Koren, a writer, expert in aesthetics and author of what I think is the seminal text on Wabi-Sabi. It wasn’t a conscious decision when I was choosing the store name to reference this movement but I’m glad it comes through in the store. I am really drawn to this way of thinking. Balance is everything and that, to me, also means embracing imperfection.

What else contributed to your brand? 
I wanted a timeless, considered approach. Kinobi is not trend-driven in the traditional sense. Of course it’s always exciting to see the latest collections come into the store when the seasons change because I think it’s human nature to be drawn to things that are new. However, I wanted to resist the system of fashion that perpetuates the thrill of the new over all else.

(Mirador by Kinobi)

What do you think is the relationship consumers have with repurposing clothing?
For consumers, the difficulty with this lies in the practicality of repurposing materials and clothing. Shopping for vintage or secondhand items and remaking old items take time and knowledge. We need confidence to pick out items from the past and place them into new context that reflect our own styles. But this is also where the benefits lie.

Shopping for vintage, reworked, customised or on-off items allow for greater individual expression. You are more likely to craft styles that are unique, intuitive and personal. The digital age offers great opportunities to sell, buy and exchange clothing with like-minded people.

These days we rely on depreciation values instead of trying to make products last. Do you think the difference in values and beliefs across generations are major reasons as to why people are going for faster options?

I think we buy fast fashion because of the price. It appears affordable and attainable. It’s easy.
We can achieve a desired look that is aspirational without spending much or having to consider or commit because of the low price. It’s an illusion. These items don’t last and they look very different after they are worn and washed a few times (or even once!). They create an insatiable desire for newness that can never be fulfilled.

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