KIRA will help us make more sustainable consumption decisions by  offering truly sustainable alternatives to fast fashion

We talked with Sirli Ratasepp, the Head of Design and co-founder of KIRA - a lifestyle brand that encourages us to leave no trace behind. Sirli told us about the problem they are solving with KIRA, why she co-founded the company, what the future will look like in fashion and lifestyle in the next 5 to 10 years and which Sustainable Development Goals KIRA contributes to.

Limitless supported KIRA with revenue-based impact financing in June 2021 to help them    continue product development and expand to new markets so that more people could have the option to leave behind the smallest possible carbon footprint.

Sustainable shoes by KIRA

What is the problem KIRA is solving?

“There are so many fundamental problems around consumption. Short-lived fashion items are still a normality. There are 300 million pairs of shoes thrown away every year as one pair of shoes has an average lifespan of 12 months. Overconsumption is still driven by the cheap prices which are possible only due to the unsustainable industrial processes in terms of environment: materials made out of oil, poor quality and inhumane working   conditions at factories. We at KIRA know that wasting materials and resources like this is sad and even catastrophic,” said Sirli.

How are you solving the problem?

“KIRA was born to solve the overconsumption and waste of resources by offering quality products which last long and are made out of sustainable and/or recycled materials. All the materials we use are eco-certified and we are sourcing them as close as possible to our production so that the CO2 emissions we cause due to logistics would be minimal,” Sirli said.She added: ”Moreover, there are billions of tyres which end up in the landfill every year. We, for example, are using those tyres to produce the base of our shoes as every recycled tyre saves 0.5kg of CO2 and is a great material for a long lasting shoe base. The reason for having our production in Estonia in addition to the smaller amount of CO2 emissions due to having production closer to the customer, is the fact that we have so many skillful people in Estonia and we don’t see a reason why we shouldn’t work together with them here.”

Why did you decide that you want to solve problems around     overconsumption and waste of resources? Why is it important to you?

“When I lived in the UK, over-consumption happened everywhere around me - buying low-quality stuff and disposing of it soon after was a harsh reality. I grew up in the        countryside caring about the environment and it was painful to witness over-consumption already back then while living in the big city. I realised myself that I don’t want to buy new boots every autumn anymore because I had wet feet during the winter as the base of the shoe wore out in a couple of months. I didn’t want to buy flip flops every summer      holiday and dispose of them after the trip as they just fell apart. I didn’t want to be the one who is also contributing to over-consumption and therefore to the climate crisis.                  In addition to that I have always been passionate about fashion and design. Luckily, I found synergy for my three passions - fashion, design and environment and that’s how KIRA was born,” Sirli said.


What have you achieved so far?

“As we spend a lot of time in nature with my co-founder Henry, we got the idea to first go with the boots as we wanted something durable to wear in the cold and wet Estonian  winter ourselves. Our boots became more popular than we ever imagined and people really like the concept. From there we have developed new shoe models and our latest product is KIRA sneakers. We were happy to find out that we have a loyal customer base - 78% of our customers are returning customers buying products to wear during the summer after they have had great experience with the winter wear. We also offer reparation service and we have seen only 1% of shoes being sent back for minor reparations”, Sirli said. “Next, we are planning to expand our product line to other lifestyle items for people who love the outdoors as much as we do ourselves,” Sirli said. 
She added: “We have also received a few awards. The Ministry of the Environment awarded us with the “Upcycle of the year” award and in Denmark we won the competition Pitching for a Better Baltic Sea."
She added: “Finally there is a lot of greenwashing as more and more brands are claiming to be sustainable and green without real factual evidence. In order for us to be very certain of our own environmental footprint, we decided to work together with Bcome. They will help us understand at a very detailed level the amount of emissions we create - from shoe strings to glue we use, from production details to logistics.”

Sustainable boots by KIRA

Tell us about your future vision for the next 5 to 10 years for sustainable fashion and lifestyle brands.

Sirli shared: “There will be more brands like KIRA and at some point big brands will start moving towards sustainability not only with marketing slogans but with real deeds. For this however, the customers must change first and paint a very clear picture for the industry with their consumption decisions and show that fast fashion is from the past. At KIRA we dream of being a positive example and leading the way in that direction.”

Which are the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that KIRA contributes to? Which one is the most important one?

KIRA is contributing to Goal no 12: Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns as we directly do all we can to create sustainable fashion and lifestyle items. Another SDG we contribute to indirectly is Goal no 1: End poverty in all its forms everywhere. We have made a very clear decision to keep our production in Estonia and not get involved in doing it in Asia where the working conditions are very poor. We want to be a successful example where production can be closer to consumers while paying fair salaries to our production workers.

Add a comment

Email again: