KRAKATAU: A BRAND AT THE CLIMATIC HUB OF THE WORLD

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The brand KRAKATAU is dedicated to a thing that inevitably comes closer to us, partly has already entered our world: The climate and the accompanying change, which continues to evolve more and more. Realistically, we have to look at our clothes with an increasingly high value of functionality and a certain security, adapt to our world and no longer the other way around.

We had a chance to talk with the brand about dealing openly with climate change, responsibility, and the merging of design and function.
The name of the brand KRAKATAU is named after a volcano, symbolizing the unpredictability and volatility of the elements of nature and your goal to provide protection from them when it matters. What was the trigger for you to dedicate your brand to the forces of nature?

The creators of KRAKATAU were born and raised in a world as unpredictable as a volcano. Their childhood came at a time of great change, where there was turbulence in everything: in living standards, in the mood of people and authorities, in the world of material and spiritual matters. Although the brand’s team has lived for a decade between Shanghai and Amsterdam, where the level of stability is immeasurably higher, in their hearts remains the restlessness that shaped them. They see the world as a place where you can only rely on yourself and your clothes. This is why a jacket should become a home for its owner: it should not let in outside aggression, serve as a repository for the bare necessities, but at the same time look relevant, speak of the owner’s taste. After all, we still live in big cities – awaiting the apocalypse.

Your Fall-Winter 2022/2023 Collection is called “DAMAGE SUPPRESSOR” and presents a series of designs created for survival under harsher conditions caused by climate change. This is a relatively clear statement on climate change. Can we still stop it or can we only adapt to the new conditions?

Humans may try to reduce their influence on nature, but even without human involvement, the balance of natural forces is changing all the time. Not all of these changes are pleasant for people living on Earth. Global warming sets in motion a chain of complex processes, and humans can often only be an observer, an analyst, and one who reacts quickly and intelligently to the changes. We will have to save our lives and our civilization from changes in air and water composition, from fires and soil movements. And, of course, we will need the right clothes to survive and resist.

KRAKATAU is one of the few brands that use climate change as an “advertising medium“, or even address it so openly. Why did you decide to incorporate this topic into the collection and to name it?

We talk about natural disasters all the time, but we don’t always mean the literal eruption of a volcano or the collapse of the permafrost. We are talking about what happens inside us as a result of what happens in the world. Pieces of our former selves are also chipping away and floating away into oblivion. A burning lava flows inside us, everything shakes, the fertile fields of yesterday become deserts. We dedicate the collection to the Tardigrades, a tiny creature capable of surviving in any condition, but at the same time we think about ourselves, about the mood of those who will wear our clothes.

We often read, hear and talk about climate change, but for many people it only becomes visible when it is. Is the open communication in this sense also your wake-up call to make people aware?

We must speak out as loud and as painfully as possible about the things that concern us. The phenomenon of silence is well known: people don’t like to talk about death and disease. But they will not magically disappear if they are not mentioned.

Something is going to change that will affect us and we will live in a future in a world where conditions are different. What responsibility do you see for brands in general to create a certain awareness for the topic?

Brands are like people. They have to talk about what they care about. Brand honesty is the best way to be friends with your customer. We gather people around us who are as excited as we are. You could say: we are an anxious, worried brand, we clearly see the dangers of what is coming and talk about them with our clothes. Each of our collections becomes a statement about a world that will change beyond recognition. It’s changing right now, right in front of our eyes.

Deserts cover more than 1/5 of the earth’s surface and that’s exactly where you presented your current collection. Down coats in the desert may seem controversial to some people – why did you choose this scenery?

This is the most frequent question lately: Why the desert? Isn’t it hot there? No, the desert is not hot at all in winter. The process of turning exhausted land into degraded land, turning land into dust, is everywhere. Deserts grow and become uninhabitable for humans. They can arise in cold regions, not just at the equator, as we were taught at school. The guy wandering through the desert in our jacket is an image of the protection of a man trapped in absolute emptiness.

What do you need to consider when creating designs that will adapt to many climate zones?

We chose to live and work in Shanghai because this is where all the new technologies in the clothing industry are born. Here we are constantly in direct dialogue with the creators of new fabrics, insulation, impregnation and materials made from recycled raw materials. This is the cutting edge of technological thinking. And we think technologically and ecologically. Part of our multinational company is based in the Netherlands. This enables us to get a better feel for trends and customer needs. Being in a constant dialogue, we come up with clothes that are useful in any weather. Clothes for difficult weather conditions should retain the natural human body heat generated from body movement, remove moisture from the body, but at the same time not to let wind and precipitation inside. The whole process of creating materials and products from them revolves around this concept. We have to make actual winter clothes that are easy to run in, to be physically active in without getting sweaty or cold.

What is, has been and will be your biggest challenge for a brand with this aspiration?

Clothing production is a dirty process that is detrimental to nature. All of us, not only our brand, the entire fashion industry is now trying to solving one problem: how to make fabrics without polluting the environment. We are waiting for new scientific discoveries, we really hope for them.

How to combine design and technology?

By a lot of trial and error. When we design the clothing, we make an effort to ensure that in a KRAKATAU jacket you can enter an expensive gallery opening or a club, the most elite party, and look and feel like yourself. But at the same time the jacket must be able to withstand the freezing rain and piercing wind. In your jacket you can stand still on the coldest day and enjoy the scenery – we believe that even after the apocalypse there will still be beautiful views on Earth, even if they do not look quite familiar.

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