Creating conscious, slow fashion amidst the buy-and-throw-away habits of the everyday consumer takes guts, purposeful direction, and a whole lot of creative innovation.
That’s what Singapore-based fashion label Jo Kilda aces in. Established in 2016, Jo Kilda uses natural materials, eco-friendly vegetable-dyed textiles, and innovative techniques on their small-batch fashion collections of timeless designer apparel for every woman.
Founded by Jyoti Singh, who is Fijian-born and Australian-raised, Jo Kilda led to her winning the 2019 Women Entrepreneur Awards (WEA) in recognition of her success. We spoke with Jyoti to pick her mind on what Jo Kilda is all about:
How did you discover your love for fashion design?
My love for fashion goes way back to my childhood, perhaps I was born to do this. I loved the sheer satisfaction that people got when I dressed them up. The origins of Jo Kilda, however, can be traced back to my global travels – living in Singapore, Australia and London.
The inflection point was in Melbourne, Australia – dubbed the Fashion Capital of the Pacific. It was there that I decided to pursue my dreams, graduating with my second degree — except this time it was in Fashion Design at the Melbourne School of Fashion.
Why did you decide to create Jo Kilda?
I discovered that women wanted to be classic, stylish with quality garments — priced at the right price point. Women don’t just need high-end clothes for formal occasions, but for everyday events too. Jo Kilda was born to fill that need for affordable luxury.
Where do you draw inspiration for your new designs?
My inspiration usually comes from an array of the most divine fabrics available around the world. A few times, I had taken the same fabric and turned it into something entirely different.
For instance, during our 2019 fashion collaboration with Jaguar Singapore, we initially wanted to use vegan leather and chiffon to showcase the sustainability, durability and elegance of both brands. Still not quite satisfied, we took the chiffon and added a layer of metallic lamé to the fabric. The entire collection truly reflected the essence of Jo Kilda and Jaguar…. Classic with an edge!
Give us a sneak peek into your typical creative design process!
As a creative, I believe in the natural flow of imagination and that’s what I teach my creative team too. I don’t like to restrict my imagination by giving the collection a firm theme. Instead, I prefer to create a narrative as we go, aligning the inspiration with the theme.
Could you tell us more about how Jo Kilda embraces sustainability?
Jo Kilda has long embarked on a sustainability journey. We won’t go as far as calling ourselves fully sustainable but surely we are a responsible brand. Jo Kilda uses vegan leather, faux fur, and rayon fabric, which go through eco-friendly dyeing processes. Most importantly, we believe in slow fashion, which gives us the flexibility not to over- or mass-produce, hence reducing wastage.
How would you describe the Jo Kilda aesthetic in a sentence?
Classic with an edge which allows one’s inner confidence to shine through.
If you had to choose, which is a must-rent piece from the pieces available on Style Theory?
I absolutely recommend each and every Jo Kilda design as they all have their own individual story and style. They’re versatile and can be styled for almost any occasion.
What is your favourite styling tip to transform a Jo Kilda outfit from day to night?
That’s where Jo Kilda outfits are so versatile. I would play with shoes to accessorise for different occasions and time of day. To add fire to your evening look, throw on a Jo Kilda sequin blazer. At Jo Kilda, we try not to be like everyone else. That’s a waste of a very good life.
‘Fast’ fashion over ‘slow’ fashion — what do you say to that?
I can simply write an entire series of books on why one should stop buying fast fashion — it’s the second largest contributor to the ecosystem. For now, I highly recommend people to make conscious decisions and buy slow fashion — it’s quality over quantity. Stop cluttering your home with unwanted items, and buy things that are meant to last you for a long time.
Rent a piece of Jo Kilda for yourself with our collection from the Infinite Wardrobe, with plans starting from $59 a month.