It’s easy to figure out where your mass-market clothing comes from—“Made in India” or “Made in Bangladesh” is printed right next to the care directions. But have you ever wondered who exactly is
sewing these garments?
The direct-to-consumer clothing brand Known Supply answers that question by placing the signature of the woman who made your clothing right there on the label. “We want to bring names and faces back to the forefront of the conversation about who makes our products and how that informs and influences the way we shop,” says cofounder Kohl Crecelius. “That’s something we’re really passionate about, and it’s something we really don’t think is happening. Nobody’s really championing the people.”
Crecelius and his cofounders, Travis Hartanov and Stewart Ramsey, first journeyed into the fashion industry in 2007, when they launched the headwear brand Krochet Kids intl. after traveling abroad and volunteering with communities in developing countries. “We were always asking, ‘What could we do to help?’” Crecelius recalls. “There’s abject poverty everywhere. What do people in poverty really need? They want jobs. They want to be able to provide for themselves.”
The three men started Known Supply, which has partnered with factories in Uganda, Peru, and India to provide workers with fair wages and educational services. The company produces simple, stylish cotton tees and sweatshirts for men and women, plus joggers, skirts, and dresses for women. The founders have personally gotten to know the women they employ, and they invite shoppers to do the same. On Known Supply’s website, a customer can search the name of the woman whose signature is on a garment, learn about her life, and send her a thank-you note.
“One of the most powerful things we as human beings need in our lives is positive words of affirmation,” Crecelius says. “We need people rooting us on and cheering for us. When we [first] delivered those notes to the women, it gave them an overwhelming sense of pride for their work.”