Surrendering to Simplicity with Kowtow’s Summer 2012

Haiku dress from the “Obsessive Minimalist” collection from Kotow, a fairtrade and organic premium line from New Zealand.

New Zealand’s Kowtow label describes their clothing as building block pieces, designed to be the staple, the binder, the essential jigsaw piece to fit into an existing wardrobe. It’s a smart approach for the environmentally minded and for the fashion lover who’s overwhelmed by the deluge of micro trends each season.

Parallel dress and Building block legging.

Tapping into the precise minimalism that has kept the designs of Stella McCartney, Hanna MacGibbon at Chloé , and Phoebe Philo at Céline at the top of fashion’s most wanted lists, Kotow’s Gosia Piatek has created a line of clothing that is striking for it’s pared-down elegance. Made entirely from 100% certified fair trade and organic fabrics, the collection’s strict silhouettes, minimal surface design and muted color pallet stand out for their simplicity in an industry drowning in a sea of spend, spend, spend.

Sand garden top.

Their tenth collection,”Obsessive Minimalist,” for Summer 2012-13 was inspired by a series of Mondrian’s minimalist paintings. Derived from the idea of “an overanxious overachiever, a recovering consumer, and exhausted striver, a wanna-be idler,” it’s a familiar strain for those ambivalent about the consumer culture but still requiring clothing.

Autonomous top and Contrast piece.

The directional pieces feature bold color blocking and subtle prints in a variety of premium soft fabrics. Each piece works effortlessly as a separate thrown over their – or your own – building block basics, layered together they create a complex and individualistic look. The Mondrian influence is clearly felt in the new collection’s noticeable popping colors – a deep burgundy and a vibrant gold which are offset by a light powder blue and a variety of wearable neutral tones.

Check out our favorite pieces from the collection, as well as Kowtow’s thematic video for “Obsessive Minimalist,” below:

Rowena Ritchie

Rowena is EcoSalon’s West Coast Fashion Editor and currently resides in San Francisco, CA.