Our Mission is to create quality, responsibly made garments that exemplify the possibilities of sustainable design. All collections are designed and produced in an ethical manner by designing garments that are not trend focused; by using natural, organic, and recycled textiles; and paying our workers a fair wage. We create clothing that's gentle on the environment, designed with intention and made to be lived in.
After studying fashion design in Cincinnati, Mandy moved to New York in 2009 to work in the studios of J.Crew and Doo.Ri before venturing out on her own to focus on ethical and sustainable knitwear. She launched her namesake line in 2012 which has since expanded into a full womenswear collection. On a typical day you can find her brainstorming new concepts with the design team, overseeing daily operations, working on the newsletter, or scheming new designs!
Jia Yee Ni
Production and Design Director
Jia Yee joined the team in 2018 as our very first hire. She comes from a background of designing for independent womenswear (and women-led!) brands by the likes of Shaina Mote and Nomia, and is now Kordal Studio’s in-house patternmaker as well as managing woven development and production, e-commerce, and running our Fort Greene shop! On an average day you can find her drafting patterns, coming up with exciting marketing ideas, or geeking out over spreadsheets.
At Kordal, all our materials are chosen with care. We utilize natural fibers, meaning they are plant or animal-based instead of synthetic, and stay away from harsh chemicals and toxins. We also seek out textiles that are certified under leading standards with social and environmental criteria, such as the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS). By emphasizing natural and ethical, we are standing behind renewable resources, which do not contribute to environmental degradation or human harm.
A naturally soft and durable fiber sourced from the mammal of the same name, alpaca is a cozy favorite. We work with ethical alpaca yarn suppliers and factories in Peru to create top quality knitwear pieces. You can learn more about why we ❤ alpaca in our journal.
INCA TOPS is our alpaca supplier. Since its founding in Peru 1965, INCA TOPS has developed, with great success, the production of top quality alpaca tops and yarns. This has been achieved through fusing innovative concepts with the ancient and noble tradition of knitting in Peru.
INCA TOPS take great pride in supporting their local community. They provide local jobs, directly benefiting more than one thousand families. They further help the region through their Social Responsibility Programs, which assist small knitting companies, entrepreneurs, and rural families who make a living from alpaca farming. INCA TOPS is one of the founding companies of Patrulla Ecológica (Eco Patrol) a nonprofit organization dedicated to protect the environment in Arequipa city. In addition, they are certified by Pacomarca, the sustainable alpaca network.
Linen comes from the flax plant. We love this natural fiber because it's strong, absorbent and dries faster than most other textiles. It will quickly bio-degrade back into the earth quickly (approx. 2 weeks) if composted properly. We work with family run factories right here in NYC to make our linen pieces.
Wool is a textile fiber that comes from the sheep. A multifunctional fiber, wool is known for its insulation and durability. A primary source of our wool comes from the Peruvian Highlands, the wool fiber is processed without the use of harsh chemicals, leaving it soft and pure. All the yarns are OEKO-TEX certified.
Cotton fiber originates from the cotton plant. Its breathability and softness has made it the world’s most popular natural fiber. In 2017, we began a partnership with The New Denim Project, a family run factory based in Guatemala that manufactures cotton yarn and fabric made from upcycled denim and cotton fiber. You can learn more about The New Denim Project and their 100% closed loop manufacturing process on the journal.
Another partner, Panoco Trading, is a supplier based in Tokyo producing all organic cotton. It is bioRe certified, which is a complementary standard to Global Organic Textile Standard. In addition to the use of GOTS-certified fibers, this certification includes social and environmental standards to ensure the well-being of the people producing them.
Instead of plastic, we store and sell our garments in reusable mesh bags. These bags serve as an excellent way to store your beloved piece or can be repurposed (i.e. produce bags at the grocery store, laundering delicates or shell collecting.)
Our yarns and fabrics are sourced from top quality mills in Guatemala, Peru, and Japan. Our mission is to keep the materials and corresponding production as local as possible. By removing unnecessary shipping in the manufacturing process, we are reducing our carbon footprint, working to provide jobs in the local communities, and building long term relationships with suppliers and artisans.
Our knitwear is created using both handloom flatbed machines and Shima Seiki whole-garment knitting machines. Both processes create a fully fashioned product, meaning each piece is knit to the exact shape and there is no left over material waste. By creating a high quality garment with impeccable craftsmanship, our hope is that you will keep your Kordal pieces for many years and when it reaches its end of life it can be recycled back into the earth. To increase the lifespan of our knitwear, we offer mending services for all of your Kordal knitwear purchases.
Innovative Knitwear, founded in 2009 by Eunice Moran, is a fair trade knitwear development and production company based in Lima, Peru. They combine the traditional creativity and technique of Peruvian artisanship with innovative designs. The result is the finest knitted garments in natural fibers like Baby Alpaca, Alpaca, Cotton, and wool.
Revolution Knitwear, founded in 2018 by Carolina Grau, is a fair trade knitwear development and production company based in Lima, Peru. Their main focus is working with local mills to source dead-stock yarn and low impact natural fibers. They produce garments and accessories using zero-waste methods, working with local artisans and weavers to create consciously made textiles.
Our first sweater samples wouldn’t have come to life if not for Ellen Ygwo of Lucci Yarn. She introduced us to a cottage industry of knitters working on handloom knitting machines in her Queens, NY neighborhood. All of our sweaters made using locally sourced or deadstock yarn are produced on the handloom machines under Ellen’s careful eye.
NY Urban Fashion
A family owned factory based in New York City’s garment district. They have been operating for over a decade, providing jobs for NYC’s historic garment industry.
Our newest partner, LA Workshop was established in 2017, they are a Fair Trade Certified manufacturer based in Guatemala City. In addition to working towards a zero emissions goal, they’re mission is to “build a bridge between the ideas of designers and production. Create a socially conscious place, where you can feel the construction of your designs are aligned with your ideals.” - Factory Owner Sergio Kozina
Located in Cincinnati OH, Sew Valley is a place very close to our hearts, established in 2017 by a fellow designer and friend Rosie Kovacs, it provides the growing fashion community with resources and technology to build scalable, sustainable and responsible brands. Sew Valley has officially moved into their permanent home in Cincinnati's West End neighborhood. Find us on the first floor of the National Flag Company's building, where they have been sewing and manufacturing flags for almost 150 years!
Over the past year our team has been working to more intentionally center anti-racism as a core tenet of our work, a process of learning and unlearning that we will continue to build upon. We started Kordal in 2012 as our way of centering people in an industry focused on things, and to build upon that in 2022 we are redefining what it means for us to be anti-racist as a company. First and foremost this means taking a holistic and thorough look at equity practices in regards to hiring, manufacturing processes, partnerships, strategic communications, store collaborations, and vendor relationships. Last year, with the support and guidance of Tabii Just Strategies, we created tangible and measurable goals for our internal and external practices concerning racial equity and justice. We've defined areas of both short and long term accountability to which we're committed, and which we’d like to share with you here with the goal of creating an environment that is inclusive, kind and actively anti-racist. As always we encourage any feedback, this is an ongoing process and we are here to learn, listen and work towards an equitable society, together.
Kordal Studio is an equal opportunity employer. Women, people of color, veterans, members of the LGBTQ+ community and others are strongly encouraged to apply for open positions.
Our goal is to extend our employment opportunities to a diverse group of candidates, and to do this we post job opportunities on Handshake, Indeed, our newsletter, and social media. Our current team of four is 50% white 25% Asian 25% Black, all female identifying.
In addition to carefully choosing our materials and working with fair trade organizations, creating an inclusive and positive environment in our brick and mortar shop begins with our vendor partnerships.
In our Fort Greene store we actively source our offerings from a range of female identifying designers and artists, with a goal of representing 75% BIPOC creatives by end of year 2022. We currently carry goods from 6 Latine-owned, 3 Asian-owned, 2 Black-owned and 9 white-owned businesses. We are proud to support designers such as MAAARI, a curated brand committed to honoring and empowering cultural identity by supporting artisans in the Philippines, run by two Filipina-American women; Mixed Color, a Hudson Valley based textile artist that creates textile DIY kits and hand embroidered talismans; and Even Keel, a Brooklyn-based bath and body brand creating all natural, hand-crafted soaps, candles, and essentially anything to propel you into state of calm.
For special events and holidays we partner with the florist ASMITE Gherezgiher, the daughter of an Eritrean topiarist, currently flowering in NYC.
In the summer, Kordal hosts a monthly Summer Music Series at the shop, an evening of funk, soul and jazz, a free event for our local community to gather and enjoy the arts. What started as a one time event to share live music with our community safely during the pandemic has now become a regular part of our programming. The talented musicians who have joined us for this series include Ben Hoffman (our founder's piano teacher!) Cinque Kemp, Davy Levitan, Attis Clopton, David Frazier and Jed Lingat.
Representation matters. Since our launch we have featured a diverse group of models and will continue to do so alongside our longtime partner WeSpeak Models. This past year WeSpeak put forth a Pledge that was created from the contribution of models’ collective thoughts on how a truly inclusive industry should operate.
Here are some ways we are actively working to keep our pledge:
-Offering extended sizing and working with models that represent a range of body types.
-Hiring hair stylists and makeup artists trained and equipped for all textures of hair and all skin tones.
-Having an understanding of and respect for model requirements and making sure the whole set is aware in advance. This includes hair, wardrobe/modesty, gender pronouns, dietary restrictions, etc.
-Encouraging a safe space for models to speak up without judgment or backlash. To value, listen to, and act on their input.
As of June of 2021, we increased posts regarding racial equity and justice on our social media channels. It is important to our team that we use our platform in a way that centers the perspectives and voices closest to the problems of inequity and injustice. Amplifying the voices of others, sharing resources and acknowledging pivotal remembrances is integral to our racial equity work. On our instagram you can also find a guide we created which highlights some of our favorite Black-owned businesses in Brooklyn NY.
In 2021 we sought outside mentorship with Tabii Just Strategies to set clear and tangible goals towards racial equality. Through this support we were able to shift internal and external practices at the workplace concerning racial equity and racial justice.
This work included a thorough look at hiring practices, manufacturing processes, partnerships, strategic communications, store collaborations, and vendor relationships.
In October of 2021 our retail staff and design team participated in an Unconscious Bias in the Workplace training and we will continue to offer yearly training sessions for our staff.
The vision of Kordal is to create clothing that’s made to be lived in, gentle on the environment and designed with intention. We are of the “anti-growth” mindset with the focus, instead, on keeping impact on the environment small. We aim to tell the story of the artisans that make our clothing in a way that uplifts them and supports them for the long term.
Our yarns and fabrics are sourced from top quality mills in Guatemala, Peru, and Japan. Our mission is to keep the materials and corresponding production as local as possible. By reducing unnecessary shipping in the manufacturing process we are keeping our carbon footprint low, providing jobs in the local communities and building long term relationships with suppliers and artisans, many of those partnerships dating back to 2013. Four of the five vendors we work with are women-run businesses and fair-trade certified. On every Kordal garment you can find the initials of the knitter or seamstress on your clothing label, because it’s important to us that the artisans we support are given recognition for their craftsmanship. To learn more check out our Materials and Manufacturing pages.
At Kordal our goal is to foster an open and inclusive culture for our staff and community. While the company is white owned, our entire team’s input is encouraged and integrated into all of our decision making. We think of our company as more of an ecosystem rather than a hierarchical chain of command. To maintain this type of structure we have daily touch bases with our team, monthly deep dives and quarterly staff gatherings outside of the office. We work to amplify the voices of others on issues where we do not have direct experiences; by seeking outside mentors, highlighting individuals on our journal posts and social media and listening to the input of our team. Our team is paid a fair wage with health insurance benefits for full time staff members and $18/hour for all hourly employees. Our shop & studio is closed for all national holidays.
This past year we were proud to support various non-profit organizations that are closely aligned with our values. In 2021 we donated $7,015.82 to the following organizations as part of our 5 Weeks of Giving:
-FIG: FIG is a grassroots collective of people committed to transforming the food system.
-AAFE: Asian Americans for Equality is a non-profit organization based in New York City, founded in 1974 in Manhattan's Chinatown to advocate for equal rights.
-The Sunrise Movement: A youth movement to stop climate change and create millions of good jobs in the process.
-Sweet Freedom Farm: A BIPOC & abolitionist led farm feeding the incarcerated & communities persecuted by policing from Hudson to NYC.
-Heart of Dinner: A NYC based non-profit countering hunger and isolation for Asian-American homebound elderly by providing culturally thoughtful food paired with handwritten notes.
Keeping your Kordal pieces looking great requires the proper care. Mindful washing, storage and mending not only makes the garments last, it also protects the environment by conserving resources like water, energy and textile material.
Clean selectively. Only wash your garments when necessary. If you notice a small stain, often times you can spot clean with a bit of warm water and soap. This will conserve water and energy + avoid fiber degradation
Use cold water. Opting for cooler temperatures preserves energy and is gentler on the fibers
Air dry. Staying away from the dryer saves electricity and protects your garment from the harsh heat.
Repair. Often times you can repair minor damages like a loose button or snag at home
Get it tailored. Sometimes the fit just doesn’t quite work and it’s too much to do on your own -- no worries! Find a local tailor to adjust your garment as desired
Renew. Make the old into something fresh! Shorten, re-sew, over-dye -- the options are endless :)
As much as we hope you'll love your Kordal pieces for years to come, we know that occasionally there's a piece that sits in the back of your closet for a bit too long.
Our goal is to always find a home for our pre-loved garments, which is why we are now offering a space to resell your past Kordal purchases!
When you're ready to pass it on and trade in for a newer item, simply create an account and list your pre-worn item on our website. Once your item has found a home, you'll receive a store credit that you can apply toward your next purchase! Piece of cake!
After your item sells, a shipping label will be sent and you'll receive a payout in the form of a store credit. Please note the buyer must verify its condition in order to receive your credit, so please make sure to list any damages or flaws that happened while in your care.
Sign up coming soon! Stay tuned!