My name is Kristin (in the center of the photo) and I am head of sustainability and customer experience at The New Blak. I have worked in the service industry since I was 15 years old, ranging from restaurants to boutiques. I am an Indiana University alumni with a B.S. degree in Apparel Merchandising and a minor in Business from the Kelley School of Business. Once I got my foot in the door of the apparel industry and experienced the detrimental effects of fast-fashion first-hand, I knew that I wanted, and needed, to help better it. My heart lies in sustainability and it is my dream to help the apparel industry reduce its fashion footprint. I have the knowledge, the persistence, the passion, and the perfect partners to begin a fashion evolution with The New Blak. I couldn’t imagine working for a company whose mission and values didn’t align with my own and I’m so thankful that I can stay true to myself and my beliefs within our company.
My name is Oksana (on the right in the photo) and although I was born in Ukraine, I consider myself a Louisville native. I attended duPont Manual High School and from there I went on to obtain my B.S. in Finance from the University of Louisville. I was able to continue my finance skills and experiences through working at General Electric and Schneider Electric in their finance departments. However, I was so moved by the idea of owning my own business that I went on for an M.B.A. in Entrepreneurship and I also own another company, Highland Realty. I never knew that I would end up in the fashion industry but I wouldn’t change it for the world now! I have learned so much about sustainable and ethical fashion practices since joining The New Blak team and my fast-fashion awareness has broadened drastically. My strengths in finance, business planning, and entrepreneurship have allowed me to become the Chief of Finances for The New Blak. I am so excited to be a co-owner of such a forward-thinking company.
My name is Amanda (on the left in the photo) and I attended the University of Louisville where I received my B.S. and B.A. While receiving my B.A. in Theatre I was the Wardrobe Master of the theatre program and I was invited to work in costuming at Walt Disney World. Upon graduation, I owned a custom clothing business, the Hanger, in the Highlands neighborhood of Louisville, Kentucky. I personally designed and created every garment from my brand to ensure that it was ethically made. Recently, I was a retail sales manager for over two years where I was able to increase sales and create customer loyalty utilizing my strengths in styling. I am using my years of clothing construction, design, and styling in my role as Fashion Designer and Creative Director for The New Blak.
The New Blak is an ethical and sustainable little black dress company!
It is our mission to create clothing in which people, the planet, and fashion can all coexist. Fast-fashion has unfortunately become the heart of the apparel industry, wrecking havoc along the way. Fast-fashion exists through cheap and blind outsourcing, sweatshops, dangerous working conditions, child labor, and bottom-of-the-barrel wages. Furthermore, it has produced immense waste and severe environmental degradation from poor manufacturing processes. At The New Blak, we are taking a stand to challenge these fast-fashion processes and their negative consequences. We embrace slow-fashion and consider each garment we make to be a high-quality piece of art. We currently only use 100% organic cotton fabric (which is super soft and comfortable!) and The New Blak clothing is designed and sewn with love right here in Louisville, Kentucky.
Our company believes in honesty and transparency. Our customers are able to know exactly where and how their little black dresses are made, from seed to garment. Every part of the process is accomplished with a considerable amount of thought and we do everything that we can to produce better apparel, including shipping the final product in environmentally conscious, biodegradable packaging.
Our plans for the future include a possible retail space here in Louisville, a mobile boutique, the completion of the remaining two styles of our dress line, expanding our dress line to include plus sizes, and the eventual release of 5 more dress colors (only a timeless palette consisting of neutral colors: navy, ivory, grey, green, and burgundy).
We believe that it’s not too late for the apparel industry to evolve to a more sustainable and ethical industry. Our hopes are to educate others on these issues as well as the solutions so that they can evolve with us…one little black dress at a time!
In order for us to expand and systemize our apparel production, we need to be able to order fabric in greater quantities on a consistent monthly basis, print professional and environmentally-conscious hang tags, and hire an additional seamstress for much-needed sewing help.
To be able to complete our mobile boutique renovations on our re-purposed church bus, we will need to re-build the interior of the bus to convey a store front and we will need to finish and paint the exterior to represent our brand.
Fabric – $3000
Hang Tags – $200
Seamstress Budget – $1000
Other Production Materials (thread, sewing machine maintenance, pins, fabric scissors, etc.) – $300
Mobile Boutique Renovations:
Interior Remodeling (flooring, clothing racks, storage, shelving, lighting, fitting room, and paint) – $1500
Exterior (minor body work, paint supplies, paint, and vinyl decals) – $3000
Legality and Liability (registration, insurance, and vendor permits) – $1000
It is our mission to create clothing in which people, the planet, and fashion can all coexist. Fast-fashion has unfortunately become the heart of the apparel industry, wrecking havoc along the way. Fast-fashion exists through cheap and blind outsourcing, sweatshops, dangerous working conditions, child labor, and bottom-of-the-barrel wages.
See Campaign: https://zip.kiva.org/loans/16795
Kristin, Oksana, and Amanda