*Produced by SilverKris for Jo Kilda*
Embracing the growing global commitment to sustainably made garments has always been an essential value for Singapore-based fashion brand Jo Kilda, something that has seen them develop new practices and even new fabrics. Established in 2016 by Fijian-born, Australia-raised designer Jyoti Singh, Jo Kilda is a slow-fashion specialist, using natural fibre and vegetable-dyed textiles to create small-batch collections of “feminine yet structured” apparel for every season and body type.
Going green with leather
In 2017, it launched a line of vegan leather apparel, which became its flagship collection. “I’m a huge animal lover. As a child, most of my weekends were spent at my grandparents’ farm,” Jyoti shares. “Animal cruelty for the sake of fashion is something that really bothers me.”
With a mission to focus on more sustainable garments, the award-winning designer sought out a specialised craftsman in China to create high-grade vegan leather that lasts longer and feels more comfortable than pleather. What’s also unique about Jo Kilda’s eco-friendly fabric is that its base layer is made of paper, instead of plastic. Even more impressively, Jyoti found a method that allows the fabric to be pleated.
“My vastly experienced pattern-maker said there was no way to do this, but I found a small company that makes moulds for various garments,” she recalls. “I got them to make a pleating mould, which took a long time, because it’s so easy to burn the fabric.”
Each piece in the collection is individually cut and pleated. Among the best-sellers are the Pleated Vegan Leather Gown, an edgy number for a night out, and the Green Vegan Leather Dress, which offers clean, sophisticated lines.
A new line of silk masks
As Jyoti delved further into more sustainable practices, she learnt about the unethical processes involved in obtaining silk, a material she used to work with when she was a student at the Melbourne School of Fashion. “I stopped using silk in 2018, but I had a lot of material left over in my archive,” she says. “I’m not one for letting fabric go to waste, so I decided during this trying time to use the bits and pieces I have left to make face masks.”
Set to launch in June 2020, the face masks – made entirely of silk, including the cross-stitching – will be sold in limited quantities. The soft fabric of the stylish, reusable masks helps the skin breathe and reduces the chance of acne. Any remaining fabric will be used to make silk scrunchies. On top of that, 10% of all sales from these silk accessories will go to Dayspring, a home for teenage girls who have undergone emotional and physical abuse.
Since participating in New York Fashion Week 2018, Jo Kilda has dressed various high-profile personalities, from former radio DJ Rosalyn Lee to author Paige Parker. Stocked in Singapore and New York, the affordable luxury label features monochromatic, 1920s-inspired looks, as well as more playful pieces such as the metallic chiffon Lola dress.