So I have a bit of a problem. I am kinda, sorta, mildly obsessed with supporting and surfing Kickstarters. I always loved Kickstarter but not until recently have I really started, to love Kickstarter. I stumbled upon this incredible brand named Arkins. A company based in New York and made in Manhattan. They focus on practices such as: sustainability, well-made garments, dedicated craftsmanship, and avoiding mass-market trends. I couldn't help but immediately fall in love with them. Their garments were so simple, clean, and timeless. I wanted every piece from their collection. I had to reach out to them for an interview.
How was Arkins born?
G: We just went for it. My goal at a young age was to start clothing line, so when we moved to New York, we quickly started to meet people in all parts of the industry while starting designs for our first collection. We always had Arkins in mind, but once we had figured out all the moving parts, Arkins was truly real.
G: My grandmother’s maiden name was Arkins. She had been a seamstress in her day among other honorable things. I’ll never forget the way her eyes lit up when she learned that I had intuitively picked up sewing as a hobby. After she passed, that happiness and connectedness progressed onto our mutual hobby. The name just seemed perfectly fitting, not to mention she was the epitome of an Arkins girl in her day: fearless, empathetic, driven.
Can you tell me more about the Arkins girl?
G: I love Arkins girls because they know exactly what they want and go get it. She is interesting, creative, and highly educated and concerned about their environment and fellow mankind. She is self sufficient and fearless. I think she is a very modern, current woman.
G: I certainly did. I had created my first clothing line by 8th grade, started selling clothes by high school, and had my business plan written by the time I was 18. Niki always wanted to start and build something from the ground up too, but he definitely never thought it was going to be in the fashion industry. He was actually only supposed to build the website but slowly got more involved as he learned more about the industry.
Who are your personal style influences and how do they relate and influence your brand?
G: My personal style influences are the brave people of New York City who daily bare their souls via wardrobe decisions. I’m constantly inspired by their confidence and self-assurance and I try to bring that to each Arkins piece.
How do you think Arkins can help influence the fashion industry to promote sustainability?
G: Producing in Manhattan has always been an idea that was the foundation of our business. The ability to check into our factory anytime and be certain that workers are consistently well taken care of is the only way I could ever run a business and sleep at night. I read the news nearly obsessively and there are too many tragic stories to turn a blind eye just to make an extra buck. I think education, awareness and empathy for human rights and the environment are things that not only the fashion industry, but all industries and especially the end consumers should care deeply about. I truly believe the best way to influence all industries is not in my control, or any brands control, but in the power of the consumers to make educated decisions and to realize impact their purchases make on the world around them.
Is Kickstarter truly as nerve wrecking as it seems?
G: It’s definitely an intimidating situation at first but now that we’re more than halfway to our stretch goal it’s not nerve wrecking anymore! It’s actually been quite exciting to connect with people who buy into more than just clothing, but all of the motives and messages behind the brand that made the clothing. There have been some really generous people whose support adds such an intensity to our desire to make this big. It’s been a really fun way to expand our Arkins family.
Once fully funded what are you going to do that you couldn’t do before?
G: By reaching our goal, we will be able to order high quality, sustainable fabrics and produce our collection in a great factory in NYC’s Garment District. Producing in a reputable factory, our quality will rival top brands and our styles can have more practical details like hidden pockets, zippers and clasps.
What makes good design in your eyes?
G: Niki and I were viewing abstract art earlier and I kept saying how I like the paintings better after I know what the subject is. The full awareness of what you’re really looking at changes your perspective and gives you a different appreciation. Good design is a garment that is both comfortable and practical and makes me feel good to be in my skin. But it’s so much more than just great proportions, exquisite textiles and fun, practical detailing. The process of production must also be “good” for a product to be genuinely good in my eyes.
Thanks again to Arkins! I am so excited to see where Arkins goes and to be apart of the family!