The Karma East story began back in 1999, when our founder, Kat spent 6 months exploring and falling in love with India. With a newly found love for Indian culture and the beauty of ornate and eclectic vintage textiles, a trip abroad began the collaboration of culture, creativity and community. On arriving in a small holy village in Rajasthan she discovered the town had a niche garment industry specialising in clothing made from vintage saris. Enchanted by the exquisite textiles and the families making their living from turning them into beautiful garments, she called home and borrowed $800 to start a small business - thanks Mum! With an idea, a handful of money, a lens of optimism, Kat was on a mission to create a clothing label that was synonymous with sustainability, quality and connection that allowed her to return home to Australia whilst retaining her roots of her beloved India.
After several years of travelling & trading at markets & festivals Karma East was offered an old warehouse space in the centre of Adelaide and our first retail store was born. Over the years we traded at many popular Australian markets and festivals including 9 years at the Mindil Beach Sunset Market in Darwin, Womadelaide, Port Fairy Folk Festival and the Adelaide Fringe Festival. We have also operated in five retail spaces in Adelaide, closing our final physical store in 2020. Along the journey, Kat met and married Koku, a Rajasthani whose family had been making clothing for her business. She still thinks he’s the best thing she ever exported from India. They are partners in both life and business. Their collective talents, experiences and vision have allowed the Karma East brand to flourish and grow just like their little family making this journey so much sweeter.
Fast forward to 2023…Karma East is running its own manufacturing unit in Koku’s hometown of Pushkar. It is no easy feat (complete madness at times), thankfully an amazing manager is in place who shares the Karma East vision of providing outstanding working conditions and wages for the team of 30 whilst making the best quality cotton garments possible (the good vintage silks dried up years ago). The artisans in India are extended family and Kat and Koku are committed to ensuring safe and fair working conditions is always a priority. Over two decades on, our journey is still evolving. As we continue to celebrate
the universal magic of colour, talent and authenticity that is Karma East, we are grateful for our amazing HQ team who help keep the wheels turning and our customers happy.
Of course, there’s so much more to this story but for the time being, we will let the clothes speak for themselves. We can’t wait to see what you choose.