February 24, 2012 by Courtney.Wylie
For those of us interested in fashion, it is crucial to know where our wardrobe pieces are made, what fabric is used and theoverallquality of the brand. We rarely look into the impact that our purchases make on the rest of the community.
For those less fortunate, such as the homeless roaming the streets of Philadelphia, the option to sport the latest trend — or finding suitable clothes for that matter — is an uphill battle. Not surprisingly,there is a consistent struggle to find proper clothing items while living on the street.That is, until two business-savvy individuals named Anthony Thomas and Stephen Caldwell created online retailer KNO Clothing. KNO Clothing isn’t your average clothing brand. In fact, the driving force behind this brand is to demolish homelessness. According to Thomas, “Helping people and creating awareness about homelessness” is one of the most important aspects responsible for the brand’s success within the past year.
Incoordinationwith KNO’s partners, when you purchase an item from KNO Clothing, 50percentof the profit is distributed to help end homelessness. In other words, your purchase provides an article of clothing to someone in need and helps fund organizations that house individuals in need.
Since the birth of this unique brand in November 2010,more than 500 articles of clothing have been provided to organizations that have housed more than 11,000 people.
Thomas and Caldwell emphasized the greatest benefit for customers that purchase pieces from KNO Clothing: “Not only do our customers make a difference nationally, but they are able to see differences regionally and locally. Our brand name, KNO Clothing, is a play on words, derived from ‘knowing’ or being aware of homelessness across the country.”
Thomas and Caldwell graduated from Messiah College together with bachelor’s degrees in finance and computer science. Although their degrees do not directly reflect their KNO Clothing venture, the two go-getters have always had an interest in fashion. Thomas explained that after a few years apart, Thomas and Caldwell “kept going back to the idea of starting a clothing company together” and decided to join forces.
Theiridea of starting a fashioncompanytogether was sparked when Thomas noticed Caldwell’s impressive T-shirt design abilities. Today, with help from a current designer, both Thomas and Caldwell are very involved in the creations of the brand and aim to sell only fairly traded and organic fabric wardrobe pieces. Additionally, the brand’s target audience speaks to a younger demographic, ranging from students in middle school to post-college and can be described as “fun, trendy and meaningful.” Prices range from $25 to $40, depending on the item.
For the brand’sfirst anniversarythis past November, KNO launched the “Knovember Campaign.” This campaign included selling 500 items in order to give 500 items of clothing away before the new year. The KNO founders have labeled their giveaways as “delivery events,” which have taken place in Harrisburg, Philadelphia, New York, Las Vegas and Houston.
Aside from impactingover120 communities within the past year, KNO Clothing is lookingintoworking on collaborations with other designers and marketingtheirbrandininnovative ways.Theirlatest partnership is with The Mutual, a charity focused on rewarding membersthatdonate $10 per monthtowardthe organization. The Mutual held an event for KNO Clothing Feb. 16 at the Brooklyn Brewery in Brooklyn, N.Y.
KNO sells clothing through its website and at events. For more information about KNO Clothing, or to start shopping, visit www.knoclothing.com and be part of the fight against homelessness.