In our From Our Founders series we give you a glimpse inside Karikunka. To start we asked Felipe Jadue to share why he started Karikunka. Here’s what he had to say.
I worked for 12 years in two apparel companies, both of which worked under a model of importing all of their goods from Asia—China and India mainly. In both, my position was a lot like being the CCO, so I was mostly negotiating prices. In that order I was very satisfied getting lower prices from our suppliers. Until I saw in the news the tragic accident of the Rana Plaza building in Bangladesh, India, that collapsed and killed at least 1,132 people and injured more than 2,500.
The building housed five garment factories, and in that moment I thought that what if they were doing clothes for my company, would we be responsible for that (at least indirectly)? So I started investigating more about these factories and their practices. I found out that only five months earlier, at least 112 workers had lost their lives in another tragic accident, trapped inside the burning Tazreen Fashions factory also in Bangladesh. As I kept looking for more information I realized the industry I liked so much was so harmful.
At that point I started to learn more, watching a couple of documentaries about this issue, and one of them was really shocking and moved me in a way I never expected:The True Cost. It was a story about clothing, about the clothes we wear, the people who make them, and the impact the industry is having on our world. The price of clothing has been decreasing for decades, while the human and environmental costs have grown dramatically.
That was when I decided not only not to be part of this problem any more, but to be part of the solution. So I had a kind of labour-emotional catharsis and decided to start an apparel brand that instead of extracting and damaging, would be a force of good for the people and planet. That’s how the idea of Karikunka was born.
What I hope for the future is to be an example for the industry and demonstrate that it is possible to do things in a reasonable and fair way. Putting people, animals, and the planet first and that profit is just a consequence of doing business the right way. But more on this later…
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