Words by Genevieve Putter

As part of the ‘slow fashion’ movement, new Cape Town based women’s clothing brand, Jota-Kena is all about an ethical approach to fashion. The vision of sisters, Tanith and Keziah Swinford, the brand’s core is comprised of a lot of love, respect, and all round awesomeness for each other, their employees, what they do and the beautiful pieces they make. Describing the Jota-Kena woman, the sisters say, ‘She cares about processes and people, not just the piece of clothing and she appreciates quality’. Jota-Kena is the real deal and fast populating the wardrobes of the city’s fashionista jet-set, here’s why.


  1. What’s it like working with family?


Keziah: I love working with family. I believe it is a rare privilege that should not be taken for granted. We have always been very close-knit so it has been easy to work with each other. Open communication is also something our family has been very good at and this has definitely made working together easy as we have an inherent understanding of each other and the way we work, it just feels natural. We take what we do seriously, but we don’t take ourselves too seriously. There’s always fun, laughter (and coffee) in Jota-Kena’s work environment, which we believe is very important.


  1. Tell us about your fabrics?


Tanith: All Jota-Kena garments are made from natural fabrics such as tencel, rayon and cotton, which are biodegradable and planet-friendly. To us, planet-friendly refers to sustainability… So fabrics derived from eco-friendly resources, such as sustainably grown fiber crops or recycled materials (for example, tencel is made from recycled wood pulp). In starting out, we purchased everything from local suppliers however, when it came to the origin and conditions of production, these were not always traceable. For this reason, we are now very intentional about our fabrics being ethical and sustainable from farm to finish, which is why they are sourced from Europe, India and some local mills.


  1. You use the term Slow Fashion, please elaborate?

K: Slow fashion is about being intentional and focusing on quality rather than quantity. Instead of being driven by fleeting trends, slow-fashion is more focused on being ethically and environmentally conscious.

Garments are crafted and designed to be quality, timeless investment pieces. It’s a concept that ties in perfectly with our mantra “comfortable, conscious, intentional”.


  1. Tell us about the new denim range?


Tanith: We’ve been working on it for six months – testing different washes, visiting our supplier, perfecting the patterns and hand-drawing artworks for embroidery customization, so it’s very much a passion project and we’re really excited to launch it! Our denim is made with eco-friendly cotton and is very much slow-fashion focused, with a turnaround time of 4-6 weeks due to all the processes involved. Jota-Kena’s bespoke denim customization is an exciting journey whereby clients get to be part of the process. We start with a consultation, walking you through the different steps: starting with a choice of fit then the wash and finally the exciting part of personalized embroidery and buttons. We have four embroidery categories, all done in natural threads, with many possibilities and combinations.


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Web: www.jotakena.com



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