author Mara Schiavetti
What KAIGHT has meant to me, and many others living in NY is that for over a decade we have had an oasis to go to for consciously made fashion and accessories.
I was surely an annoying visitor to Kate McGregor’s first store, in the early days when it was located on Orchard Street on the Lower East Side. I went a lot when I wasn't working, I would walk my dog there to browse, and to try volumes of things on. And yes I bought lots, in fact, I tried to support her and her mission as much as I could. Fast forward to 2019, and KAIGHT is thriving with two locations and an online store.
In this Spring/Summer fashion spread, we feature items found at KAIGHT, shot on location in Beacon, NY. And I asked Kate some personal questions about her journey.
INTERVIEW with KATE McGREGOR
AGB: Hi Kate I'm curious to know what led you to open a sustainable lifestyle store when it was not a popular business model to undertake?
KM: I've always been passionate about the environment and tried to do what I could to live a low impact life. I also had a dream of opening my own store, but the concept seemed very elusive and more of a daydream than a potential reality. I started my professional journey as a reporter, obsessing over magazines. I started reading about brands like Stewart & Brown and Loomstate who were working with organic cotton, and several new designers who were focused on sustainable fashion. I was thrilled to learn that designers and brands were starting to think about sustainability in terms of fashion, but I couldn't find the clothes anywhere. I was at a pivotal moment in my career and realized I wanted to pursue my dream of having a store and that I wanted it to dedicated to sustainable fashion.
AGB: Did you have to look at your business differently than any other company you may have had, or in comparison to other similar companies?
KM: I had to ask a lot of questions of designers and brands and do a lot of research. Most other buyers look exclusively at design, price, and sell-ability. I had to consider these factors in addition to materials, production methods, and the entire lifecycle of the garment and mission of the brand.
AGB: You have two stores now, one in Brooklyn and the other in Beacon, and from what I see KAIGHT is thriving. How long was this journey, and what would you say was the biggest challenge?
KM: I will be celebrating 13 years this August! The biggest challenge has always been (and continues to be) how to tell the important story of sustainability while still keeping the shopping experience fun and lighthearted. Another new big challenge is how to truly engage with customers amid all the noise and distraction.
AGB: I love that you followed your dream. Was it scary? Were there moments when you doubted your decision, and what or who pushed you forward to this point?
KM: Despite not knowing the first thing about owning a business or retail store, it wasn't particularly scary or daunting opening KAIGHT. It just felt so completely right, and it was the exact thing that I wanted to do. Maybe I was naive, but my instincts told me that this was what I was supposed to do, and I trusted that.
AGB: Where will your dream take you next?
KM: I think about this often. And, at this point, I'm not really sure. I'm definitely itching for that next thing, but I don't have a clear vision of what that looks like yet, and I know from experience that I can't force it. My intuition and instincts will guide me when the time is right.
BEHIND THE SCENES VIDEO
KAIGHT 512 Main St Beacon, NY 12508
and 382 Atlantic Ave. Brooklyn, NY 11217
G Gives Back – BLOOM & GIVE.
R Recycled - PRAIRIE UNDERGROUND, KIRSTEN MEUNSTER, DEA DIA,
DEADWOOD, ACE & JIG, MOO-YOUNG,
O Organic - PEOPLE TREE, PRAIRIE UNDERGROUND, KIRSTEN
MEUNSTER, EMERSON FRY.
W Wild Crafted -
L Local - PRAIRIE UNDERGROUND, MIRANDA BENNETT STUDIO,
KIRSTEN MEUNSTER, DEA DIA.
COCLICO, BRAVE, N+A, KAIGHT X LOUP, H. FREDRIKSSON,
E Ethical - PEOPLE TREE, PRAIRIE UNDERGROUND, FORTRESS OF
INCA, KIRSTEN MEUNSTER, PO-EM.
ELEVEN THIRTY, SOKO, COCLICO, BRAVE, ACE & JIG, THE
STOWE, KAIGHT X LOUP, EMERSON FRY,
H.FREDRIKSSON, ACOTE, TONLE.
A Artisan - PEOPLE TREE, BLOOM & GIVE, FORTRESS OF INCA,
KIRSTEN MEUNSTER, DEA DIA, PO-EM.
SOKO, BRAVE, N+A, ACE & JIG, THE STOWE, TONLE,
V Vegan – COCLICO.
Z Zero Waste - MIRANDA BENNETT STUDIO, ACE & JIG, MOO-YOUNG,