kowtow – obsessive minimalist
I found Kowtow pretty much by accident. I knew the label existed, and I loved the ideology behind it as it is produced with both organic and fair-trade cotton. But it wasn’t until I bought two pieces, almost by accident from Maaike + Co in Auckland that I came to admire the label as much as I do. I have never been a cotton tee-shirt sort of a person. I am far more a ‘silk’ sort of an individual. I rarely dress down, in fact dressing up is pretty much a constant state for me. So the notion of ‘casual’ is not really one I aspire to, and cotton tee shirting often feel casual to me. I don’t like the way cotton is too thick, and never drapes the way I wish it to. If the fabric is badly manufactured, or put together – it twists and warps. It shrinks and never sits the way it should (to my mind anyway). It is never light enough in weight for me and I dislike the way the intensity of colour varies so widely with the dyeing process. For someone who wears/loves black, I dislike grey, washed out blacks. Fussy I am. So I have just not worn much for years. That was until I bought two tees from kowtow’s winter 11 collection. One short and one long-sleeved tee. Classically, simply cut, and both black. I was expecting to wear them a couple of times and that would be it. I have basically worn one or the other week in, week out since then. The cotton is light and washes beautifully. For the amount I have washed them, they still hang well and the colour has stayed. Coupled with the fact that the incredibly clever Gosia Piatek has created very simple, understated and beautifully designed pieces – it means I am a complete convert to cotton – but only kowtow cotton! Using various weights of cotton and sweat shirting (four currently I am told by Gosia), the collection is put together with the simplest of palettes, never straying too far from that splendid staple, black. This summer the accent colors are burgundy and mandarin. That said I have seen the winter collection – and there is a fabulous black and white design coming… Kowtow has two distinct halves, the Building Blocks – tees and tights, vests and briefs that can be worn year round, (I have the Building Block Long Sleeved Top $95 and the Scoop Necked Tee $85) and the seasonal collections.
I love the simple addition in the summer collection of the lines (inspired by Mondrian, hence the name obsessive minimalist), which is on my favorite piece, the Parallel Dress ($159 – also bought from Maaike + Co)). A very close second is the Modern Mania Dress ($219) and the Constructionist Dress ($219) with its contrasting front and back. The Autonomous Top with its diagonal hemline is simple but dramatic. I will definitely be adding the De Pant ($159) to my wardrobe – the perfect thing to add to my weekend wardrobe – relaxed but never dressed down (heaven forbid!).
Kowtow is stocked in 50 stores around New Zealand, Australia and the Netherlands, as well as on-line at kowtowclothing.com with an amazing interactive website that shows you how the garments can be worn and what they can be mixed with.