Sustainable Fashion

The importance of sustainable fashion with Kodhai

Alisa Gantner describes herself as a “Thai-ish” graphic and sustainable fashion designer based in Chiang Mai, Thailand. She’s married her two passions of design and the environment and is currently working on her own brand of ethical clothing and homeware – Kodhai. As well as various graphic design projects for eco-conscious brands. Aim caught up with Alisa on her latest collection.

What motivated you to move towards sustainable fashion?

Alisa: I love design and I love nature. I have a degree in multimedia design and have worked in the development sector for five years before deciding to start Kodhai. It seemed like a natural combination of my two passions. 

Sustainable Fashion

Why is sustainability important for you?

Alisa: We can’t maintain our quality of life, the diversity of life on Earth and Earth’s ecosystems unless we embrace sustainability. We must address all scales of sustainability, from the smallest to largest. If we don’t make a change, our forests will be bare, millions of species will go extinct and our atmosphere will be damaged beyond repair if we don’t change.

We must all strive for sustainability in our own homes, our communities and advocate for systemic change at a national and global level.

What materials do you use?

Alisa: I work with natural materials like cotton, linen and Tencel. A lot of this is organically grown, however not all my suppliers have access to organic fabrics, but I am hoping to change that. 

I make sure to use buttons made from wood, clay, mother of pearl or reuse old ones from discarded clothing, as well as most of our items being naturally dyed. I always try to be as natural as possible.

What are the inspirations behind your collection?

Alisa: The most important thing for me is that all our pieces cause the least harm to the environment from the very start of its life cycle right to the end (using resources that are available to me, so it’s not always perfect). I spend a lot of time thinking about the decomposition of things and how they ultimately return to earth. In terms of design, I am inspired by traditional silhouettes and comfort.

How do you motivate yourself?

Alisa: I write down my specific tasks for the week ahead and I try to have productive mornings by meditating and exercising. It really helps my productivity to start the day on the right foot. Also, it is important to take breaks and refresh – travelling is great for that.

Do you have a favourite piece from your collection?

Alisa: Favourites are hard for me, but right now… probably all our wrap dresses because it always fits me nicely no matter how bloated I am, and I love anything with pockets! 

Anything coming up in 2020?

Alisa: I am working towards making Kodhai a custom-made label. That means I don’t have to worry as much about inventory and can cater to women of all shapes and sizes and ultimately it is more environmentally friendly to not have a bunch of stock that doesn’t sell. We are also launching our very own website in the next few months so stay tuned!

If you enjoyed reading about sustainable fashion and Thai designers, then you may also enjoy reading about how Rubber Killer is creating fashion out of old car tires.

Mia Hadrill
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