Canadian-Jamaican designer Kevin Allwood’s ethos is about modernizing our way of thinking and realizing the power we have as people, through our choices, to be agents of change every day.
By combining high-fashion design with human values and ethical practices, KEVIN ALLWOOD provides a way forward through a world in desperate need of evolution and growth; more love and more humanity. We believe that there is no need to compromise wearing luxury fashion to be socially responsible – KEVIN ALLWOOD brings both elements together in a seamless way.
We believe that each garment should be made with love, attention to detail and by people who are treated fairly and paid well. Life is about supporting each other – not profiting on other people’s misfortunes for the sake of fashion. Currently the KEVIN ALLWOOD collection is designed and made by our sewing team in our private Atelier in Toronto. We also work alongside the Ethical Fashion Initiative to produce bags and accessories in West Africa and Haiti. As we continue to evolve, our goal is to build our very own production house in Africa.
We believe in respecting the planet and our environment as well as the skin we live in. By continuing to source as many sustainable and natural materials as possible, we hope to not only to protect the environment – but also remove the toxins from the clothing we wear daily on our bodies.
As a vegan brand, we respect animals and believe in protecting them from any harm. We do not use any leather, fur or wool is our designs – we instead promote a cruelty-free philosophy and way of life – as we continue to look for new and exciting sustainable man-made materials.
We are committed to be a responsible business – with every decision we make – we put ethics above everything. It is all about feeling good – inside and out.
Kevin Allwood Interview :
Are you vegan? If so can you tell us about your path to veganism? If not why?
I am first and foremost a conscious person; what this means is that I daily try to reconnect to my higher vibes, source, god, inspiration: this is the reason why I choose to not put death into my body. It makes no sense to try and raise your vibrations and putting low vibrations in the form of dead animals flesh into your body. If the human biological machine required the best fuel then this is what I try to do with the choices that I make. I try not to get stuck on VEGAN as a term as this is still a step to something higher, not the destination. I am convinced that there is still higher vibration ways of nourishing the body, we have simply not found it yet.
How do you fight for fair wages and rights for laborers?
I do not fight for anything at all. The term fight is simply a way to create more problems. I offer zero resistance to this fair wage “issue”, what I do instead is focus on what we are doing and continue to elevate and create in a positive ethical way. Using all our energy on this instead of fighting against what is which will only create more resistance and not a solution. I truly think the solution is to create an alternative.
Tell us about your path as a creative individual- whether it be photography, fashion, curating…
Research has been done with babies where images that we as adults would consider ugly was placed in front of them and images that we would consider beautiful was also placed in front of these little cutie crawler explorers. Without fail the babies crawled towards the “beautiful ” images and away from the “ugly” images. I am like those babies but I am able to walk, talk and create. I am motivated by beauty and the expression of what makes me feel more connected to “source.” This is my path. What can I do today to express more of the unlimited potential that is in all of us? How can I be an example of an ethical and successful business person while creating beautiful and provocative “non-tree hugging” experiences in the art, fashion and design reality that I currently work in?
How/When did you decide to begin promoting and designing in an ethical manner? (What was the tipping point for you or inspiration)
We actually do not promote ethical. It is not a promotion, it is more like a signpost. We are an ethical business experimenting with a model that doesn’t really exist and doing it is a transparent manner. It really isn’t about promoting. It is more about chronicling. The journey started from 1989 when I wanted to go to Africa and “help”. At this point, I was told point blank that Africa does not need designers, it needs doctors and real professionals. I was convinced then; as I am now, that fashion is one of the biggest problems on this planet and one of the greatest solutions. The chronicle will continue with us using fashion as a solution in Africa.
How do you intend to continue to promote ethical fashion?
Once again we do not “promote” ethical fashion. Take as an example I am a black man. I do not intend to promote being a black man it is simply what I am and in the context of this lifetime and I wish to be and go beyond what it is meant to live and be a black man. The same will apply to our role in the ethical fashion reality we intend to be and go beyond 100% ethical to the point that we are also creating ethical models that do not currently exist. Until ethical becomes the new mainstream, one of the biggest things is to help take out the word CONSUMER from the dictionary.
What is the concept behind “Not Charity, Just Work.” ?
It is simple really Charity has not worked will not work and cannot work. This is the short answer. If it did it would have worked 10 times over already to create real solutions.
The “give the man fish” model is flawed fundamentally, as you will get fat lazy men as a result.
The “teach the man to fish” is also flawed as you will have men with too many rotten fish and nothing to do with it.
A better (not the full solution – still a work in progress) teaches a man to fish, then purchase his fish. This too is flawed, as it will create resentment on the part of the buyer of fish and it will create a lopsided dependence on the side of the fishermen.
Work not Charity, in its most elegant form would be as follows.
Teach a man/woman a skill: purchase the product that results: create a market for this product and sell to the public and then reorder from the newly skilled individuals at above market exchange rates.