‘Kodama’ is an ancient Japanese word, translating to ‘tree spirit’. When you call out across the mountains you can hear your voice echoing back. Back in the old days, people used to say it was because there were spirits living in the trees.
Brainchild of Kodama Apparel – a Japan-born, Melbourne-based fashion designer, Natsuko Kondo’s work emulates her vision of sustainable fashion. After working for many years as product developer for offshore productions in various apparel companies, she realised how wasteful the industry was. But she always dreamed of having her own label.
“I was looking for cool streetwear that was also environmentally friendly but didn’t have much luck. So, I decided to create my own brand, Kodama Apparel.”
Fast fashion giants are introducing ‘organic cotton’ clothing as a ‘sustainable’ range, however Natsuko has a different opinion.
“If you buy a shirt made in ‘organic cotton’ does that mean it’s sustainable clothing? I think there’s more than that,” Natsuko argues. “For me sustainability is about keeping your supply chain healthy and harmless to the environment and the people. It’s about creating a synergy. It’s common sense.”
Natsuko’s goal is to establish Kodama Apparel and continue to implement sustainable and ethical practices in the business, creating a zero-waste supply chain.
With a range of unisex styles, first half of transeasonal collection is on early-bird offer at Kickstarter, an online crowd-funding platform supporting emerging creatives to help start their projects.
“I focus on using hemp as much as possible,” Natsuko describes. Hemp is a very low impact fibre to grow with little water, requiring no pesticides, durable, naturally anti-bacterial with many more benefits.
Samurai-inspired overcoats, pants, and shirts are made locally – supporting Australian businesses, using hemp/organic cotton and hemp/recycled polyester fabrics.
“Shogun unisex overcoat is my favourite piece out of the range. I was inspired by the samurai era and created a piece that’s fun to layer with other style of clothing,” Natsuko says.
Natsuko refuses to waste. Off-cut fabrics from production will be up-cycled to create a range of handmade bags and purses.
Long unisex t-shirts are also available in 100% GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) certified organic cotton. Grown using rainwater from monsoon season and were manufactured using renewable energy - reducing carbon footprint dramatically.
The offer is open until 4th October 2019 AEST 4:52pm, orders to be delivered by January 2020.