Have you heard? There’s a new ethical fashion brand coming to Chicago, and they’re debuting their line Monday night, November 14th, at Greenheart Shop! PINTL + KEYT was founded in 2015 by designers Shifra Whiteman, Leah Whiteman, and Katie Chappuis. We caught up with co-founders (and sisters!) Shifra and Leah Whiteman to talk about the brand, which Leah describes as “a designer collective first; [we] each [have] ...a very distinct style and direction. Through collaboration, we use inspiration from all across the spectrum to push us forward and tell a story.”
Read our interview below, then scroll down a bit more for the details of their event at our shop on Monday night. We hope to see you there!
Why was it important to you that PINTL + KEYT be a fair trade brand? How did that decision affect the way you run the business?
We focus on aesthetics and design first. All three of us are textile designers and we have wanted to share our creative expressions using garments as our canvas for some time now. After educating ourselves about the ethical, labor, and environmental issues that stem from the fashion industry, we decided that from the very beginning we would manufacture our products to avoid exploitation of people and planet as best as we can. The cotton we use for our garments is organic, for this first collection we focused on digital printing to produce less waste, and the women who sew our garments are paid a fair wage.
Why did you choose to produce your line in India?
India is already known for their rich and amazing history in textiles, from block printing, screen printing, dyeing and more. Also as a country that still produces fabric, they are able and eager to work with advancing technology in the field. Naturally, since PINTL+KEYT focuses on textile design, India seemed like the best place to manufacture our goods. Allowing women, who aren't always given the opportunity to work, a chance to make a living wage and produce for their families was something we felt strongly about. Once we found our manufacturers, met the ladies over Skype and heard about the difference producing PINTL+KEYT's garments makes in their lives, we knew we made the right choice.
The patterns on your textiles are so fun and unique! Can you tell us a bit about your design process?
Since all three of us at PINTL+KEYT are textile designers, we typically start by sharing our individual sketches and ideas, and then we find the designs that work together to expand on. Finding a color palette that works with the prints and playing with scale turns into a fun game. It really is a collaborative experience playing around with each other’s prints, choosing colors, and experimenting with scale to make sure that each print on a single garment looks amazing on its own, as well as together as a collection.
Tell us more about your first line. What do you think will draw consumers to the PINTL+KEYT look?
We designed this first collection with real women in mind. We know most women aren't the classic American Model standard - hourglass figure, size 2, 5"9’. We wanted to make sure our pieces look great on many types of women - women like us! The prints are bold and colorful while the garments are simple, soft, and breathable. The skirts and dresses even have pockets! (Because you can NEVER get enough pockets!) We believe that our prints and colors are fresh and somewhat new for the fair trade world. A PINTL+KEYT piece will definitely stand out in a wardrobe, while keeping you feeling super comfortable. Plus, every time someone asks where you got that sweet PINTL+KEYT garment, it allows you to share and educate about ethical fashion.
We’re excited for your line to launch! What can we expect from you guys in the future?
We are hoping to focus on our current garment collection and introduce new textiles to the mix come Summer 2017. Maybe adding a new style top or dress, or even introducing a tote bag - who knows? But we are very excited and eager to see how people respond to this first collection. What we do know is that we plan on growing creatively, designing new textiles, pushing ethical fashion education and spreading that PINTL+KEYT garment love!
We hope you'll be able to join Greenheart Shop & our friends at PINTL+KEYT for a preview of their premiere line of ethically-made apparel this Monday night. Attendees will get the chance to try on samples AND purchase pieces from PINTL+KEYT's first collection! Raise a glass and let's celebrate the future of fair trade fashion! Details & RSVP here.