In episode 125, Kestrel welcomes Laurinda Ndenzako, the cofounder of Collective Closets, to the show. A womenswear label based + made in Melbourne, Collective Closets is inspired by Laurinda + her sister Fatuma's African Australian identities.

"As far as Collective Closets go, we always say that we don't have all the answers, but we definitely want to be part of that conversation - we want to be part of that movement as well to leave a positive impact. And it all starts at home - and sometimes, just the smallest changes make the biggest impact."
-Laurinda Ndenzako, Cofounder of Collective Closets


In this episode, Laurinda shares more on the origins of Collective Closets, and how while she and her sister Fatuma were trained outside of fashion, both of their parents made clothing at home, and that was something that influenced them growing up. 

A large part of the spark that pushed Laurinda + Fatuma to build Collective Closets was a family trip to Nairobi. According to Laurinda, the brand blossomed out of she and her sister being really proud of their African Australian culture, and embracing the chance to have a voice to tell their own story.

Additionally, throughout this show, Kestrel + Laurinda talk more specifically about the way that Collective Closets always shares a thought provoking piece to outline the inspiration behind each collection. As Laurinda explains, this storytelling component is a massive part of their brand and the way they connect on a larger level with their shoppers, family, friends and beyond.

The below thoughts, ideas + organizations were brought up in this chat:

  • Grandma’s Finest Vintage, first company Laurinda + Fatima started (reworked vintage items

  • Masai shuka, traditional check fabric originating in East Africa, and worn by the Masai people (a staple used in each of Collective Closets' collections)

  • MPENZI WANGU/DEAR ME Collection (most recent collection)
    “This was her life. Not the life she had dreamed of, not a life her younger self would ever have imagined or desired, but the life she was living, with all it’s complexities. This was her life, built with care and attention, and it was good.” Kim Edwards
    The latest collection titled Mpenzi Wangu or Dear Me is inspired by the way in which our past's shape our personal evolution. If you had the opportunity to speak with your younger self what would you say? Have you shed your skin or does she still live within?

  • "I think people are not looking for cookie cutter fashion anymore."


illustration by Francesco Zorzi for NPR

illustration by Francesco Zorzi for NPR

"Why A Drop Of 4 Degrees Made A Big Difference For A Garment Maker's Bottom Line"

The researchers found that at those 26 factories, the mercury spiked above the heat stress threshold (roughly 85 degrees inside the factory) one quarter of the time. And once the temperature passed that tipping point, for every extra degree it got hotter, productivity went down by 3 percent and profits went down by 2.2 percent.

Check out the full story on NPR here >

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