Can a kimono save wildlife? It can do its bit, says Carolina Guedes Cruz, a Portuguese fashion entrepreneur who combines her love for style and wildlife conservation in her loungewear label Kleed.
Launched in 2016, Kleed (robe in Afrikaans) dedicates its bright colours and bold patterns of animals and masks to Africa, where Cruz, a former brand professional who worked with Nespresso and Alfred Dunhill in Lisbon, has been volunteering for many years. “I wanted to launch something fair and sustainable that could give back to the planet," Cruz said during a recent visit to Delhi. “I also wanted it to help support wildlife, and donate 5% of my profits for the conservation of white rhinos."
India has been Cruz’s base of operations since she started—garments are crafted by women artisans in Jaipur and she has often used Ikat in her earlier designs. But her new collection deepens the connect. The Spring/Summer 2019 resortwear line includes a “collaboration for conservation" capsule dedicated to the royal Bengal Tiger. Cruz has teamed up with Vikas Soni, the artist behind the murals of the Jaipur hot spot Bar Palladio, to create vivid hand-painted tiger patterns on kimonos for the line.
“The collection is made from pure silk, and 10% of the profits will be dedicated to tiger conservation efforts in Ranthambore," said Cruz, who is also gradually venturing into organic fabrics and recycling for bags and accessories. While Indian customers can buy Kleed designs through the brand’s website, Cruz is also looking for stockists in India, starting with Hot Pink in Jaipur.