Our home base is the city of Porvenir in Tierra del Fuego, Patagonia. The word Porvenir means “a future yet to come,” and that is what we are striving for today.
Our founder Felipe Jadue spent more than a decade as an executive in two apparel companies. When the Rana Plaza building in Bangladesh collapsed in 2013, killing 1,134 people and injuring more than 2,500, he asked himself this question: Are we, as businesses that procure our products from factories like the Dhaka garment factory, responsible for the loss of life and suffering of others?
As he searched for the answer, he began to realize that the industry that he loved so much was so harmful. What Felipe learned was that while the price of clothing has been decreasing for decades, the human and environmental costs have grown dramatically.
He decided that he could not be a part of the problem of fast fashion and questionable supply chains anymore. Instead, he would be part of the solution. It was at that moment that he decided to start an apparel brand that would be a force of good, and he would start at home in Chile.
We set up the Karukinka Workshop in Tierra del Fuego, Patagonia, where all of our pieces are handmade by our local partners and the strongest arm of our brand.
The process consists of several logistic steps that make it possible to manufacture here.
It is a five-part procedure that includes shearing, yarn production, knitting, chalking and cutting, and assembling.
We start our process in collaboration with local breeders who supply us with the raw material for our spinning mill. It’s there that we transform the hairs and fibers of merino, alpaca, llama, and guanaco into the vital threads of our products.
The wool fibers are then sent to our factory to be woven into the knitwear that we pair with high-performance Polartec fabric. Seventeen local workers between the ages of 20 and 70 spin, weave, sew, and create Karukinka apparel in the city of Porvenir, which has a population of about 4,000 people and is often overlooked by tourists to the region. Ninety percent of our employees in our workshop are women.
The “End of the World,” as Patagonia was nicknamed long ago, is a hard region to make a living in. Chile has one of the lowest rates of female employment in South America, but the women of Tierra del Fuego, where Karukinka’s factory is located, are the lifeblood of this company.
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