Two boys and a girl meet in New York. The gentlemen are from Waterloo and the lady is from Toronto. They strike a friendship. While this may sound like the beginning plot lines of a new sitcom coming to CBS this fall, this is the premise of the beginnings of the brand KOTN. Mackenzie, Rami and Ben became friends who decided to start up a clothing brand and Rami immediately suggested something close to his roots; Egyptian cotton. When investigating the fabric option, they realized that Egyptian cotton was in danger of extinction due to the issues faced by the producers in the country. Thus KOTN became a brand with an unintentional cause.
Fast forward to the present and KOTN changed a bit. Mackenzie and Ben are now married and Rami was their best man at the wedding. Their cumulative professional backgrounds (Mackenzie in branding, Ben in digital and Rami in finance) makes them an organization where everything is done in house by its co-owners. The brand expanded their offerings in the form of long sleeved tee-shirts, sweatshirts, sweat pants, polo shirts, underwear and a pyjama set with even more options in the works. Taking their business from online to offline, KOTN opened up a successful pop-up store on Ossington last year, followed by a permanent location at Queen and Bellwoods Avenue.
The shiny new headquarters of the brand feature a beautiful store front and a small studio in the back where the three co-owners gather each day to tackle their daily work load. At the door steps of KOTN, you will find a mosaic of honeycombed tiles forming the word “Ordinary”. In a way, KOTN deals with ordinary products that were crafted in extraordinary quality. I bumped into the brand early last year while perusing the offerings at Park & Province, a neighbouring store showcasing a fantastic selection of products for the distinguished gentleman. Gray and Chris, the owners of the store, have always had a great eye for quality products and as such I decided to give KOTN a try. I have not looked back since. KOTN offers some of the softest cotton products I have encountered and they resist shrinkage quite well during the wash.
The store is quite similar to the product itself: simple and effective. The white room is furnished tastefully with lighter tones and catches the afternoon light beautifully. The shop-able shelves feature interesting reads, beautiful ceramics and other trinkets that will add beauty to your daily life without encouraging unnecessary clutter. Vases filled with bouquets of seasonal tulips adorn some of the table and freshen up the space while allowing the customers to browse through the pieces available at KOTN.
In a way, one could say that KOTN is beginning a micro revolution of its own. The change that they are bringing forward isn't tied to the common belief that fashion should be all about dazzles, sequins and a constant flow of new products each week. Rather, they are educating their customers about the importance of good fabric and the impact that globalization and fast fashion has had on smaller industries like Egyptian cotton. I can’t wait to see their progression and what else they have up their sleeves but one thing that is certain is that they will always remain 100% KOTN.
Jacket: Rains Journal/ Teeshirt: Saint James X Monocle/ Jeans: ACNE studios/ Shoes: Reebok