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In Conversation - KIT + CLOGS

In Conversation - KIT + CLOGS

KIT + CLOGS are a sustainable, independent footwear and lifestyle brand based in the UK. Driven by a true love for beautiful, handmade items and the determination to keep traditional crafts and manufacturing methods alive, they've have been designing consciously crafted KIT + CLOGS since 2016. At Folk, we're lucky enough to stock some of their beautifully hand-crafted clogs in our Womenswear store at 53 Lambs Conduit Street. We caught up with the founders, Jess and Sacha, to talk about collaboration, sustainable practices, and the benefits of working with your mates. 

How did Kit+Clogs start? What is it about Clogs that you fell in love with? 

Sacha: I have always loved and worn clogs. I wore them as a kid and then came back to them as a teen in the 90’s (I had a dark blue classic-style clog that I wore to death!) and then again in my late 20’s. I love the natural materials and the comfort and the look that completed every outfit I wore.

The business started after a casual conversation with a friend who had a side hustle importing clogs in small quantities to sell at markets. She was ready to call it a day but a spark went off in my head. I learned more about the family in Sweden who were hand-making her clogs and I saw the quality and craftsmanship of the shoes. I began to wonder if I could continue the work she had started. I loved the idea of working with this family: helping them continue the tradition of their craft, creating this beautiful timeless footwear. I didn't really have a game plan, just ideas and a drive to do something really wonderful with this opportunity.  And so it began! I think it was about 6 months later Jess and I met. 

Jess: I was managing a vintage clothing shop in Brighton in 2016 when I met Sach. The first thing I saw was her shoes and I asked about them immediately. She told me the story and I just knew I had to sell them in the shop. I saw so much potential in that kind of pure, raw design that has such longevity it just doesn’t need to change over time. I went down a rabbit hole learning about the history and cultural significance of clogs, not just in Sweden but the whole of Europe and the world. It was fascinating and I was hooked.

I’m really interested in your KIT + 2ECONDS initiative, can you tell us a bit about it and why being anti-waste is important to you? 

All our products are made using natural materials whose appearance varies. Every pair is made by hand and so one pair will be subtly different to the next. It’s what makes all our clogs unique. Each pair carries the marks of its origin and the hands our makers. Any clogs that we produce that aren’t wearable go back into the heating of our Swedish workshop! Any clogs that have more aesthetic variation than usual but are totally wearable are made available through our KIT + 2ECONDS initiative. Celebrating the non-uniformity of natural materials is what we’re all about.

If you had one piece of advice for young people wanting to set up a business, what would it be? 

Try not to be too concerned with looking polished and professional all the time! You don’t have to fit into the mould that big corporates have set for businesses that dictate that you look well-established and perfectly successful from day one. Ask for help, reach out to small businesses you admire and create a community, start collaborations. Don’t be afraid to be new or inexperienced. And show your face and all the chaos behind the scenes as you grow. We also like to show the reality of what we’re doing - it’s not always beautiful and organised but it’s real and we love it!

What’s the best thing about what you do?

Working with your best mates is pretty special. If we weren’t running the business together we’d still be hanging out every day: stealing each others clothes, swimming in the sea and sharing our lunches! We inspire each other in so many different ways and that shapes everything that we do at KIT + CLOGS. It’s pretty empowering to be able to celebrate the ideas and determination of your favourite people every day.

Why do you think you and Folk are a good match? 

We were fans and customers of Folk long before we worked together. We share the same love of quality design - pieces that you return to season after season, year after year not just because they’ve lasted but because the style is totally timeless - and an emphasis on slow living, good basics and sustainable practices. Collaboration is such a powerful tool within the creative industries and Folk has always championed collaborations with businesses big and small. We love this so much. Artists and makers connecting with each other and supporting each other is what it should all be about. 

What’s next for you two? Do you have anything to plug? 

We’re excited to be going back to our roots and offering more in-person shopping experiences this year: Pop ups, markets and open studios. We love meeting our customers SO much and we’ve missed this side of the business over the last 3 years. Now our team is a tiny bit bigger we want to get out and see you all again! Keep your ears to our social and newsletter to hear where we’re popping up over the next year!

Thanks so much to Jess and Sacha for taking the time to talk. 

Find out more about KIT + CLOGS here

Or shop Folk's Clog collection

Photography by Rebecca Brooker