Kooshoo is a family business, started by wife and husband team Rachel Evans and Jesse Schiller, along with Rachel's sister Leilani Evans. The three yoga teachers have built a company that's the opposite of fast fashion, creating versatile, sustainable and unique clothing.
They strive to make accessories and garments that aren't just more stuff. "We did wrestle with that decision," said Schiller, "does it make sense to create another company that's making stuff, as conscious as it may be?" They ultimately decided that they wanted to prove it's possible to make beautiful products with sustainable sourcing.
While the three founders are based in Canada, all their garments and accessories are made in Los Angeles, Calif. The fabric is hand-dyed at a solar-powered facility, giving each garment a unique look. "Having products that express people's unique individuality was always one of our biggest design parameters," said Schiller. They started with smaller accessories, like head bands and scarves. If you've ever wondered where to get eco-friendly hair-ties, Kooshoo has it covered.
Their latest design, the journey shawl, is more ambitious. It offers the wearer a new level of freedom to configure the garment as she pleases. This journey shawl can be worn as a dress, a scarf or styled as several different tops. As the name suggests, it's a great item for travel, but also for anyone who's looking to live with less and get a lot of utility out of a single item. Kooshoo is crowd-funding the garment's production with Kickstarter. A $75 pledge gets you a shawl and a bag if the campaign is successful. Smaller donations will receive other Kooshoo goodies.
The shawl is made from Tencel, a fiber derived from sustainably grown eucalyptus trees. "When it's turned from pulp into fiber, it's essentially closed loop," Schiller said. "The only two ingredients are a solvent, water and pulp, and 99.99 percent of the water and solvent are recycled batch to batch." The resulting fabric is soft like silk and drapes beautifully.
In addition to making an eco-conscious products, Kooshoo also donates 11 percent of all profits to Karma Teachers. The volunteer-run charity offers yoga and meditation classes to Canada's poorest neighborhood in Vancouver.
So what does "Kooshoo" mean? It means "feeling good" in Norfuk, a language spoken by the people of Norfolk Island, a small island in the South Pacific where Leilani and Rachel are from.