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Functional clothing brand KRAKATAU intentionally conceals the identities of its staff members. It’s similar to the concept of anonymous creativity found in the contemporary art world. No one knows what Banksy looks like and avant-garde rock band The Residents do gigs wearing masks. Well, KRAKATAU also believes that the product, and not the creator, is the most important thing in the production process. The Amsterdam and Shanghai-based brand set itself a task: to create clothes that protect against wind, cold and rain—and does it quite well. Superfuture sent in a few questions by e-mail and received insightful answers without knowing who exactly answered.

Let’s imagine that KRAKATAU isn’t a brand, but a person. How would you describe him/her? Determined and fast-moving, and ready for any unpredictable weather and fate. It’s someone who lives in a fast-paced world. He/she pays attention to global processes, to the news of science and art, to everything that’s important in the evolutionary and global sense. His/her features are reflected in our clothes: futuristic, ergonomic and equipped with dozens of useful functions. The KRAKATAU character is focused on a sense of freedom, which remains basic to him/her.

Why is it so important not to name names and not to show the faces of the creators? Is it related to some kind of subculture? KRAKATAU‘s slogan is antagonist survival kit. We perceive survival indeed as a subculture, which in every country has its own name. We consider ourselves related to free-thinking people, contemporary artists, underground musicians, tumbleweeds of all kinds, extreme sports enthusiasts, rovers and diggers, extremists who are all drawn away from the comforts of civilisation in search of their identity.

So, how is your company organised? Our team in Shanghai is responsible for the creative output and production. It’s here, where we come up with new models and improve old ones, which frequently become iconic among KRAKATAU customers. We have a loyal fanbase who every year eagerly await releases and even inquire if we happen to forget to re-release something. People get attached to their stuff and want the same thing, only new and even better. That’s why we are constantly improving technology, and we take advantage of the fact that China is the epicentre of the global clothing and fashion industry. We develop all patterns and materials ourselves. We make dozens of samples to get the result we want, and if not, we simply don’t put the model into production. We thoroughly immerse ourselves in every process. That said, we also view our customers as participants in the design process and try to maintain direct contact with them. If someone posts a request on our Instagram page to put a pocket on a specific jacket, we do so. It may seem like magic to big companies, but we do it anyway. The team in Amsterdam is responsible for wholesale (we currently trade in fifteen different countries) and retail stores, and also has direct contact with our customers, making valuable contributions to market development and trends. The KRAKATAU team has always been relatively small, but that doesn’t stop us from working according to the standards of the global fashion business. We’re always looking for like-minded people, this is the only way we can work as a single organism.

Your collection for Winter 2022-2023 is called Damage Suppressor. Does that name bear an ideology too? Damage Suppressor, or DSUP for short, is a protein in the DNA of the tardigrade, a tiny creature that can survive for years in space or in the desert under extreme conditions. DSUP prevents DNA from being destroyed by radiation. Experiments are underway to incorporate this magical thing into human DNA – we’re still preparing for long-distance flights into space. Honestly, the unkillable silent walker has inspired us for a long time already, and now we’ve named the collection after this unique protein.

The KRAKATAU website often refers to sustainability and ecology. So, how engaged is the brand is the brand in this respect? We realise that clothing production in general is not the most environmentally friendly thing, but we constantly aim to reduce the damage. With each new collection, we use more and more recycled and recyclable raw materials. We’ve learned to make eco-friendly jackets in which not only the fabrics, but also the insulation and accessories are made from plastic bottles. We’ve found a way to move away from elastane, which interferes with fabric recycling, while retaining its elasticity through the special structure of the yarn. All KRAKATAU materials are tested: for formaldehyde-free, banned azo dyes and other harmful substances and for colour fastness and fabric durability. The down in our garments is certified to the Responsible Down Standard (RDS). This independent, globally accepted standard monitors the living conditions of animals – for example, the RDS prohibits the plucking of live birds and force-feeding. For the well-being of all living creatures, KRAKATAU doesn’t use leather as a matter of principle.

There’s often an emphasis on the scientific background of the brand, why is that? While we’re creating clothes, something is constantly happening in the world. We follow trends in science, art and ideas, letting a lot of information flow through us. This is reflected both in the names of our models and in the technology we use. Is cybercrime raging? We’re making pants with pockets equipped with RFID protection against personal card readers. The world has gone through two years of COVID-19 torment and starts wearing only comfortable clothes? We’re replacing spandex, which wears and deforms quickly, with T8, a yarn which is much more resistant to repeated stretching. Scientists at the University of Manchester receive the Nobel Prize for graphene. In a few years we’ll start developing models with graphene insulation, which heats up faster than other materials and loses heat slower.