KOHR was founded by Amy Joanne Kohl a designer with a vision for a better industry.
“So, let me introduce myself, I am Amy I was born in Austria and live in the UK. Quick time line, I graduated in 2018 studying Fashion design, I worked in the industry for a year, started my MA studying Fashion promotion and Lifestyle focussing on sustainability in 2019 and am due to graduate at the end of 2020, I launched KOHR in June 2020.
I haven’t always wanted my own business, actually I was rather against it in the beginning, because the fashion industry is such an overcrowded market. I kind of started to get the ick for fashion during my 3rd year of university, I soon realised that it didn’t have much meaning or substance and I wasn’t really taught how toxic the industry was. I didn’t even make much of a break into the industry, until I realised this isn’t something I wanted to do. It was boring, repetitive and funnily enough not really creative. However, I still loved fashion itself and wanted to create something that I enjoyed doing, whilst bringing some good into the industry. This was when I first started exploring sustainability. I watched lots of documentaries such as ‘The True Cost’, read books and researched into anything I could find. I finally decided there is a place for me in the industry with my own brand fitting into a gap in the market I discovered.
I found after I learnt all of this new information about how toxic the industry is, I didn’t want to shop anywhere on the high street. But I still had my passion for styling and creating outfits, so I was stuck in the middle. Lots of the sustainable brands out there at the time had that sustainable, earthy aesthetic which I was never really into, and they were also completely out of my price range. This was when I came up with my brand. I’ll let you into a secret, it was originally named Ya Basic back in April 2018.
This was because I wanted to create a brand that consisted of basic sustainable clothing. I even got to the sampling stage where I sent my designs off to a manufacturer over seas to get them made. As soon as I got my samples back (which is wasn’t happy with) I realised this isn’t right.
I had done no research into the manufacture, I didn’t know whether they were paid or treated fairly, I didn’t know where the fabric came from. I really had to slow down and think about the choices I was making. So, I decided to start my MA, which is the best decision I’ve made. It gave me a time and a place to sit and reflect, research, test and rectify all the mistakes I made previously. It allowed me to grow my business in the direction I wanted it to go. This was where KOHR was born. KOHR’s starting point still came from the same vision Ya Basic did, but it has grown and developed into something I could’ve never imagined in the beginning. I have found a niche and I have become a master of that niche through my MA. I guess that’s the amazing thing about research, you can only manifest certain things, but the beauty lies in the unexpected findings that you never even thought of until now and it’s these things that have taken KOHR to the next level.