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Interview • Gosia Piatek of Kowtow

by Akosua Adasi
Imagine a woman heading a New York based startup, who never looks less than immaculate (even at the airport) and has her own vegetable garden. If you took a peek into her closet, it's sure to be filled with pieces from Kowtow, the New Zealand (and London!)based brand that specializes in elevated basics and makes classic pieces feel excitingly contemporary. Even better, Gosia Piatek, founder and designer is as sophisticated as you'd imagine and is mindful about the process of maintaining a sustainable and ethical brand, from the sourcing of materials to factory conditions and the output of collections. Scroll on to learn more about the designer and her wholesome approach to life.

What's your background?
I was born in Poland in 1985 and my family came to New Zealand as refugees. My parents fled with two kids, two hundred dollars and spoke no English. They are insanely brave and adventurous. I was seven years old when we arrived in New Zealand and my parents put a lot of focus on my studies. Practical subjects were their favourite. As an adult, I tried to do a normal job, but it didn't work out for me. Inside my heart I always wanted to start something that meant something, so Kowtow was born 11 years ago

When did you start designing clothing?
I guess I started when I was at high school, and would make A-line skirts from pillowcases!

How do you stay grounded amidst all the work and stress that comes with being a designer?
I try and eat healthy, do yoga and take baths. This can be tricky with a toddler in tow--I at least make the baths a must!

What is one crucial lesson you've learnt as a designer?
Always keep evolving and pushing ideas to their fullest potential

Why sustainability? What are the challenges of having a sustainable and ethical brand?
Because there is no other way! The challenges are that often you cannot find the right fabrics and trims that have a truly sustainable and ethical supply chain

How do you stay relevant in an ever-growing industry?
Keep inspired and the good ideas come flowing

How do you integrate sustainability into your day to day?
I eat wholesome and organic foods, use less packaging, buy local and spend time in nature every day to appreciate how amazing the natural world really is

Where do you find inspiration?
London street style, galleries, nature, architecture, interiors, design objects, travel, and in colour everywhere

Favourite thing about being a designer? Worst?
I love getting to restart each season, but find it had when having to rush for completion

Favourite city to visit?

Favourite book?
1984 by George Orwell

Pet peeve?
The amount of plastic packaging in UK supermarkets really makes me mad


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