KOY Clothing was founded by two brothers, Alastair and Jimmy Scott who grew up in Kenya.
Growing up in Africa is an experience like no other. It shapes and develops you in a certain way. Imagine having a garden that never ends, full of life, full of colour and untapped potential. As kids we are naive and innocent, feeling you can play forever in this peaceful garden, but as you get older you realise it’s not quite as harmonious as you once thought.
It all started with a birthday present…
Alastair wanted to get a present that made Jimmy standout at his 21st birthday party. Alastair scoured the internet but couldn't find anything to match what he had in mind. Then, the bright and unique Kikoy fabric that surrounded us growing up in Kenya popped into mind. So, he went to the local Kenyan markets, bought some Kikoy fabric, took it to 'Charles' a local tailor and 'voila' - the first ever KOY Clothing jacket was created.
For a few years after Jimmy's birthday, friends and friends of friends started asking us to make them similar blazers - so we did this as a hobby on the side of University/our full time jobs...
Our Promise was born…
KOY Clothing was officially incorporated as a business in December 2016 and from the moment our first blazer was stitched, we made a promise, a promise we intend to deliver on...
Africa has so much to offer and while many choose to give back to it, there are some who choose to exploit it. It is our promise to value what this stunning continent has given us. We do this by donating 20% of profits to projects within Kenyan communities, helping the people, the place and the wildlife.
2017 - Investments/Events
Midway through 2017 we received investment from a hedge fund which enabled Jimmy and Alastair to quit their full time jobs and pursue their dream.
We did our first ever trade stand at Polo in the Park, London, and we haven't looked back since...
2018/19 - The Growth
We first met with the East Africa Character Development Trust, which has since become a long-standing relationship - read more at Our Charitable Projects
We went from offering purely menswear products and having zero high street presence in 2017 to launching an entire womenswear line and stocking in 13 stores UK wide in 2018.
In 2019 we turned over 10x what we did in our first year, going from 8 styles of clothing in 2017 to over 40 styles in 2019.
At this stage the majority of our sales came from pop up shops at events.
2020 - COVID
In January 2020, before COVID became a real problem we visited a new Charity, the Mara training centre - read more at Our Charitable projects
We had just launched our biggest collection ever and were set to hit the road for our events season and show our customers what we had created. Suddenly COVID happened and the whole world shut down!
We had to adapt and sell our merchandise exclusively online as this was the only option. We are very proud of our efforts to do this, but sales were heavily affected, and we had to cancel our entire AW22 collection - BUT we survived!
2021 - The re-opening
Towards the end of 2021 our beloved events returned, and at the same time we launched our products on Johnlewis.com so the business received a real boost and pre COVID growth rates returned.
The new products we launched during 2021 were a raving success and we expanded our range considerably despite supply issues.
2022 - The future...
We re-visited one of our favourite charities, the East Africa Character Development Trust, in February 2022 and committed an additional £30,000 over the next 3 years - read more about this at Our Charity Projects
The aftermath of COVID still wreaks havoc on supply chains all over the world and the war in Ukraine has worsened the situation.
We have so many exciting product ideas that we want to show the world but have as yet been unable to produce them - fingers crossed for 2023!
Despite the production/supply issues we were still able to achieve strong growth in the year and welcome so many new customers.
The turmoil of the last 2 years has delayed plans slightly, but it is still our ultimate goal to have as many of our products made in Kenya as possible, as we believe this is the best way we can support Kenya and its economy...
Meet Janet (to the right in the below image), one of the Maasai Mamas who beads our belts.
From Janet’s beading work over the years, she helps her husband support their family of 7 children: including school fees, clothing, food, water and medical bills. She also supports her elderly parents.