The Story of Know the Origin

Learn more about how the brand was born

In 2013 the Rana Plaza factory collapsed in Bangladesh, killing 1,143 people. There were 2400 additional non-fatal injuries. The reason for the factory collapse was because owners ignored huge cracks that had appeared in the building the day before. Garment workers were ordered to continue working and the building collapsed during the morning rush hour. The building was built on a filled in pond and additional floors were added without a permit. Outrage followed around the world as it came to light the horrific conditions that the workers were expected to produce first world clothing in. Many famous brands were in the spotlight for exploiting workers and human rights around the world - not just in Bangladesh.

Fast forward 2 weeks and the news became fish and chips wrapping, with consumers around the world continuing to buy their fast fashion clothing, the guilt forgotten, and the typical mindset
of “if we can’t see it, it can’t affect us”.

On the other side of the world, fashion students studying at university in the UK were unable to accept the complete lack of culpability, and the continued consumption in the UK, with
complete disregard of where our stuff was coming from. They wanted to take on the “Goliaths”, in bringing about positive change and making the true cost of our fast fashion visible. Know The Origin Limited was founded in 2015 by these two bright students and the brand soon became not just about fast fashion, but about addressing our whole unsustainable lifestyle. The ethos of Know The Origin was to provide modern, slow fashion items in both the clothing and sportswear market, as well as footwear, also offering accessories, jewellery, home wear, books etc. with each product having full traceability so the consumer would be able to see where each item was made, how it was made, and by whom.

An online shop was set up in 2016 and, in 2021, two physical popup shops were opened in London. The founders succeeded in obtaining significant investment for creating such a brilliant business model. Fast forward to August 2022 and unfortunately post-covid proved to be an incredibly tough trading period. Know The Origin hit sudden, unexpected financial difficulty. The remaining founder did everything in her power to keep Know The Origin going, but the odds were stacked against her, with the doors finally closing late August 2022.

Rachel Watkyn had watched these young entrepreneurs from afar on their journey and was incredibly impressed with the brand they had built. Seeing their hard work come to a sudden end was heart-breaking because Rachel believed strongly that the brand needs to be out there, to help raise public awareness that we all have some responsibility in our purchasing decisions. Rachel therefore bought the brand out of liquidation and is now on a mission to re-establish the brand as the leading online and in-store sustainable mini-department store.

Please wish us luck and support us on this exciting new journey.