KA WA KEY Spring/Summer 2022

The KA WA KEY SS22 collection is inspired by a tale as old as time. But think less Beauty and the Beast, and more Romeo and Juliet. It is a modern-day fabrication of Butterfly Lovers a romantic tragedy and Chinese folktale. 

In the ancient story, the union of two young people is impeded by the cultural customs and belief systems of the society that encapsulates their lives. Following heartbreak and subsequent death, the two lovers transform and transcend their circumstances on Earth by becoming beautiful butterflies.

This literary metamorphosis illustrates the objective and mission of designers Key Chow and Jarno Leppanen of London-based KA WA KEY. Their gender-fluid label gives a deeply stirring and expressive voice to the beauty and necessity of innovative materials science as freedom, beauty, elegance, and a catalyst for change.

The discourse surrounding the topic of sustainability during fashion weeks has, until recently, not significantly included non-toxic recycling technology. With Finnish technology company Spinnova, KA WA KEY showcases a partnership that initiates the conversation about sustainable transformation within the fashion industry.

“Our edges are illusions.” This is an excerpt from a poem by Charles E. “Chuck” Roth, the father of environmental literacy, that aligns with the creative depictions of ebb, flow, and merge in KA WA KEY’s NYFW digital presentation short film.

Designers Key Chow and Jarno Leppanen of KA WA KEY used various fabrics and yarns from the sustainable textile material company in their ecologically considerate capsule collection at New York Fashion Week. The amazing versatility of Spinnova materials allowed them to be used in many ways. The textiles could be painted on, dyed, knitted with, and have digital prints added. This collection breaks the myth about there being restrictions in using sustainable materials.

Spinnova fibre that is non-toxic and fully circular is made out of wood or waste, produces notably less CO2 emissions than cotton production, and uses 1% of the water. KA WA KEY tested multiple textiles and yarns using in-house knitting, print, and design techniques. This experimentation and discovery process has resulted in products with greater meaning and value for the brand.

In October, the SS22 collection will be shown in Paris as well, but will not be accessible for purchase. Solutions exist beyond the considerations of old. The inspiration for the gradient hues, textures, and prints of KA WA KEY’s latest knits came from the beautiful and delicate wings of butterflies.