Today we’d like to introduce you to King Coast. Founders Jay Cardoza and Sarah Rewell share their story with us below:
King Coast started as a way to find freedom from a conventional path. Two college dropouts merging their passion of fashion, with the need of showing love for their planet. The first step taken in that path was purchasing a box of second-hand, vintage hats from eBay. With no clue what was inside of the box or what the next step was. It was a leap of faith into the unknown, with no previous experience or knowledge of business. Founder Jay Cardoza sorted through the box of hats, and added patches that they thrifted, and now had an array of one-of-a-kind hats. Jay then created an Instagram page to post the creations, and low and behold, they all sold out immediately. Now that there were no more hats to make, Jay decided to do what they love best, thrift and find up-cycled clothing that was destined to go to the landfill to artistically repurpose. Shortly after, Sarah joined in, bringing in perspective, her own fashion knowledge, and unique creativity to create an unbeatable team, making the brand whole.
Now, almost 5 years later, we have saved hundreds of pounds of clothing and fabrics from ending up in the landfill, and our mission of saving the Earth and helping our community is stronger than ever. We dumpster dive, take donations and even work with brands who would throw out all their unused inventory but we save it instead. Donating whatever is in great condition to local shelters, and the rest that is stained or ripped up, we give a new life. What was once just an escape from a traditional 9-5, has turned into a brand that is going to change not only the fashion industry but the world. All the materials we use are up-cycled, and every item is made by hand, by us. Our goal is to inspire other fashion brands to work with second-hand materials and inspire consumers to support brands that are working to help the Earth, not hurting it.
In addition, all of our clothing is genderless, and for all identities. Clothing is simply fabric, so there is no need to add gender into the equation. People should choose clothing that inspires them and speaks to them, not wears what they are told to wear based on their gender. There is a lot of violence and hurt that comes from gendered fashion, and that’s another negative aspect of the traditional fashion industry that we are determined to deconstruct.
King Coast is a brand that was dreamed up with love and passion for helping the Earth and helping others. This is just the beginning, and we can’t wait to see what else is in store.
Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall, and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
I believe that anything special and worthwhile is not easy. Especially something that has gone against every traditional way. For example, it would be much easier and cheaper if we were going down the traditional route of the fashion industry. Buying clothing in bulk for a cheaper price, having someone else printing our clothes for us, etc. But our intention is a brand that helps the Earth not hurts it, so we hand source all used materials by hand, and make everything ourselves using sustainable practices.
We don’t have investors, and we don’t come from families with money, so all of the money that goes into this business is hard-earned by us from our art. That is probably the biggest challenge. Especially living in San Diego, where rent is ridiculously expensive, that has been an obstacle. A couple years back we got really fed up with the fact that all of our hard-earned money was going directly to rent instead of going back into our business. That inspired us to buy a van and live in it so that we wouldn’t have to pay ridiculous rent but could still live in our favorite neighborhood, Ocean Beach. 2 years later, we’re still living in/running our brand from our van. We carry all of our inventory, finished pieces, sewing machines, etc. in our van, and we pop up at local beaches and businesses, showcasing our art and spreading our mission.
There definitely have been other challenges, but looking back, they all served a very valuable purpose. I believe the challenges are what help you shape and solidify what you are doing and why you are doing it. It’s like a roller coaster; the bumps are part of the ride. As long as you are doing something based in love, and you always believe in yourself and your mission, you will always get through the struggles, and at some point, you will be grateful for those tough times in the long run because they will teach you and help you a lot.
Thanks – so what else should our readers know about King Coast Clothing?
We’re a clothing brand specialized in making one-of-a-kind threads from up-cycling materials, reutilizing textiles that are already here instead of creating more waste. There are so many materials already on this planet that are just sitting in landfills, at times in less developed parts of the world that do not deserve to have to deal with the mismanaging of our waste.
We are most proud that when we create art, we are helping, not hurting our planet. Every time we get more inventory to work with, we are directly saving fabrics from ending up in the landfill, and we’re giving them a new life and new home. We work with materials that no one else wants. Clothing that is ripped up, stained, and is seen with no purpose but to go in the trash. By repurposing these items, we are showing the world that you never have to throw away clothing again. That there is a way to revive those clothing items that you no longer want or see a purpose in.
The equivalent of 1 garbage truck full of clothing is burned or dumped in a landfill every SECOND.
The fast fashion industry needs a revolutionary change, and we are determined to educate consumers on the treacherous practices of the traditional fashion industry in hopes of inspiring them to be mindful with what they buy and what/where they donate. Most people think that when they donate to Goodwill, Salvation Army, etc. that they are helping their community and helping the world, but unfortunately most of the time this is far from true. When you donate to these corporate organizations, all they are doing is selling those clothes to profit themselves; they are not sharing those clothes with the unsheltered community who is in need of clothing. 80% of that clothing gets thrown out and ends up in the landfill. The reason for this is because the fashion houses come out with new clothes every week basically for extremely cheap prices so people see clothing as disposable and replaceable. But the harsh reality is that the reason it is so cheap is because these fast fashion brands are exploiting workers in other countries. It’s a cycle we are determined to break.
We all have a different way of looking at and defining success. How do you define success?
Success to us is knowing that we are attempting to nurture long-lasting change while we’re on this earth, on a daily. Change within the fashion industry, change within the gender binary, change within the relationship people have with themselves, change for our Mother Earth. Success to us is receiving a message from somebody that relates and find themselves in our mission, it’s arriving at a factory and rescuing boxes and boxes of textiles. Success to us is being able to live off our art, even though we know there’s still such a long way to go. We feel extremely successful in all the right areas of our lives, that have nothing to do with material possessions. It’s beautiful to know that our art and our brand is constantly reaching new heights and transforming every day. And we are grateful that we get to wake up every day to do something we love and are extremely passionate about, and also know in our hearts that what we do completely aligns with our beliefs, morals, and goals and is entirely crafted by love.
We would love to use this as a PSA to all readers that if you are waking up every day doing something you do not love that does not align with your best self, that you are capable of creating your own project that brings you joy and true happiness. Some people choose to find a stable 9-5 job that gives them comfort and good money, and for many people that works for them and makes them happy and that is great. But the truth is, that traditional lifestyle does not work for everyone. It did not work for us and that is why we created something that does work for us. That makes our hearts happy, and our souls feel alive. We are all artists; we are all creative beings, and we are all capable of doing anything we set our mind to. Create your own form of success, and don’t give up until you get there because as long as you believe in yourself, nothing can stop you.