KOTN Review: Can You Build a Wardrobe on Simplicity?

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by  William Barton | Last Updated:  Jun 10, 2021

KOTN has a strong mission, but what do their clothes actually look like on a real boy? Are the fits as inspiring as the story behind the brand?

In our KOTN review, we take a look at the sustainability-focused clothing brand to see if they’re worth shopping with.

Sustainable and attainable
The Adult Man Image/Icon Image source: KOTN

KOTN

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Bottom line: KOTN’s basics stand out for their simplicity and quality. The t-shirt and oxford are straight-forward and have a classic fit, though the terry sweatshirt is a bit more modernized with wider shoulders, and looks better when styled “oversized.”

Ratings:

The Adult Man Image/Icon  Design The Adult Man Image/Icon The Adult Man Image/Icon The Adult Man Image/Icon The Adult Man Image/Icon The Adult Man Image/Icon
The Adult Man Image/Icon  Quality of Materials The Adult Man Image/Icon The Adult Man Image/Icon The Adult Man Image/Icon The Adult Man Image/Icon The Adult Man Image/Icon
The Adult Man Image/Icon  Value for Money The Adult Man Image/Icon The Adult Man Image/Icon The Adult Man Image/Icon The Adult Man Image/Icon The Adult Man Image/Icon
The Adult Man Image/Icon  Craftsmanship The Adult Man Image/Icon The Adult Man Image/Icon The Adult Man Image/Icon The Adult Man Image/Icon The Adult Man Image/Icon
The Adult Man Image/Icon  Customer Service The Adult Man Image/Icon The Adult Man Image/Icon The Adult Man Image/Icon The Adult Man Image/Icon The Adult Man Image/Icon

Pros:

  • KOTN has a strong mission that prioritizes high quality cotton to create all their clothes. If you like the brand’s fits, you can be assured their entire line is of equal quality
  • Their clothing is all sustainably sourced, all the way through to the farming practices (KOTN is a certified B Corp)
  • The Oxford and Essential Crew t-shirt have a classic slim fit, which is very versatile and allows the quality of the piece to shine

Cons:

  • The Egyptian Giza cotton is superb, but it wrinkles like mad---you need a steamer or iron
  • The Terry Sweatshirt has wide-set shoulders, which is cool and trendy, but I recommend buying a size larger than usual to get the “oversized” look right

Like a butterfly emerging from its chrysalis, I’m returning to the world, post-quarantine. 

You’d think I’d be all about strutting my stuff in brightly colored shirts. But honestly, I just want to wear relaxed jeans, a sweater, and a baseball hat. That’s my jam right there. 

Just because I’m a sucker for basics doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate good quality. In fact, if you’re heading out for the day with just a t-shirt, it’s even more imperative that you find something with top-notch construction. 

After searching for new brands that might help me in my search for better basics, I came across KOTN

Their entire line is made from sustainably sourced Egyptian Giza cotton, which sounds fancy. I picked up three of their most popular fits, and I have a full breakdown of my thoughts below.

What Is KOTN?

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KOTN is a Canadian basics brand favoring a more minimalist style. Everything they make is entirely Egyptian Giza cotton, and rather than buying fabrics from third-parties, KOTN directly trades with cotton farmers in Egypt. 

Their end-to-end supply chain and manufacturing process is closely monitored by the brand. They’re one of the true direct to consumer brands that so many online companies claim to be. 

Because KOTN is able to tightly control their manufacturing process, they strive to make each step sustainable, from the wages of the farmers to using only organic cotton. 

KOTN

KOTN is an excellent mid-price basics brand. Their focus is on fabric quality, and everything I tried from the brand is crisp, substantial, and both looks and feels great.

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Things to Consider Before Buying Sustainable Clothes from KOTN

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KOTN aims their fits at a more trendy crowd. It helps if you like the oversized look, and if you do, I’d recommend sizing up from your usual picks. 

KOTN’s prices are very fair considering the quality of the clothes and how much care the brand puts into ensuring everyone in their supply chain is treated equitably. 

That said, you’re not getting the $10 bargain basement shirt. But frankly, those don’t last long enough anyway, so what’s the point?

If you’re shopping with KOTN, you should be willing to spend a few extra bucks in support of a brand that’s confronting their environmentally hazardous industry. Fashion has a long history of negative climate impacts, and brands like KOTN are showing that sustainable clothing is possible

KOTN Review

Oxford Shirt

KOTN oxford shirt and jeans

After my years of teaching high school, I shunned the humble Oxford cloth button down shirt. Not because I don’t like the style, but I think I wore the same one too many times. 

But they’re a perfect option if you want to go casual without trying too hard. And so I’ve been dipping my toes back in the Oxford water. I went with KOTN’s white Oxford Shirt, and what sold me was the faux-horn buttons. 

I don’t know why, but those buttons get me. 

I picked mine up in medium (I’m 6’1” and 195lbs, or 1.85m tall and 88kg). The fit is spot on in the shoulders and the length of the sleeves is perfect. 

KOTN oxford shirt

It’s a bit tight around my chest and back, but I like that it leaves some extra room through the torso so it’s not tight everywhere. The fit keeps in line with the casual nature of Oxfords. I can see wearing this to the office, though I think it’s strongest on a relaxed Saturday out on the town. 

The fabric feels substantial, and even after a few washes, the collar and placket have stayed firm, rather than folding and twisting the way cheaply made shirts do. 

Because it’s 100% cotton, it wrinkles quite a bit, even fresh out of the dryer. This is true of all KOTN’s clothes (so it stands for the items I dive into below, too). If you don’t already have an iron or a steamer, you’re going to want one if you buy KOTN. 

But you already have an iron or steamer. Right?

KOTN Oxford

This OCBD has thick-gauge cotton that feels substantial. Even after several washes, the collar stays crisp and structured.

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Terry Sweatshirt

KOTN crew neck sweater

The Terry Sweatshirt is one of KOTN’s most popular items, and even though we’re heading into the warmer months, I figured one could never have too many crew neck sweatshirts. 

The Terry fabric has that sort of “worn-in” vibe to it that you can usually only get by sneaking into your dad’s closet and taking out his old college gear. 

Regarding the fit, I’d say this Terry Sweatshirt is more modern and trendy. The shoulders are quite wide-set. Usually a medium falls right at my shoulder blades, if not a little before they end. But this medium sweatshirt falls well below, and more along the curve of my shoulder muscle. 

To clarify, the shoulders sit a good inch and a half larger than what I typically see in medium shirts and sweaters. 

KOTN crew neck sweater on model

It’s as if it’s designed to be worn as an oversized look. Had I known that going in, I probably would’ve gotten a large, rather than the medium, and just rocked the oversized style all the way. 

Still, I’m enjoying the worn in and slightly faded look of this sweatshirt, and I’m excited to see how much it breaks in and relaxes over time. 

Because the fabric is such high quality, I have no doubt I’ll be rocking this sweatshirt in a few years time, but by then, it’ll be a full-on comfy sweater. 

The elastic banding around the waist and wrists offers a decent amount of structure, but they’re not tight in any place. This just helps give the piece more of a distinct shape, though it stays more relaxed than other sweatshirts I own. 

KOTN Terry Sweatshirt

The Terry fabric has that sort of “worn-in” vibe to it that you can usually only get by sneaking into your dad’s closet and taking out his old college gear. 

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Essential Crew T-Shirt

KOTN plain white tshirt

Ah, the basic t-shirt. It’s the apple fritter of the clothing world (do you have a go-to donut to judge the merit of a donut shop?). 

Not one to argue with classics, I picked up the KOTN Essential Crew in white. Again, I went with a medium here (same size as the sweatshirt and Oxford). 

Of everything I tried, this t-shirt has the most classic fit. The arms are more slim and tailored, which works well for skinny guys and more athletic guys as well. Either way, your biceps won’t get swallowed alive. 

More than the Oxford and Terry Sweatshirt, the Essential Crew needs ironing or steaming before wearing. As a premium-weight shirt, it looks fantastic when it’s wrinkle-free. But 100% cotton is notoriously wrinkly out of the washer and dryer. 

KOTN tee shirt

The Essential Crew did shrink a bit in the wash, but not as much as I expected. It fits well and has enough length, which lends a slimming effect. 

The price on this shirt is excellent considering the quality and KOTN’s mission. If you’re looking to do a bit of a basics “re-stock,” you’ll be pleased with the Essential Crew.

KOTN Essential Crew

The price on this shirt is excellent considering the quality and KOTN’s mission. If you’re looking to do a bit of a basics “re-stock,” you’ll be pleased with the Essential Crew.

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What do Other Reviewers Say About KOTN?

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KOTN features reviews for all their products on the product page, so you can get a good idea of what others are saying about the specific item you’re looking at. 

I went through a few of the product pages to get a feel for how others were talking about the brand as a whole, and the general sentiment is that folks love the feel of the cotton. The cherry on top is sustainability.

A few people mentioned switching over from Uniqlo, as KOTN is fairly priced, but has a much more positive impact on the environment. 

My Thoughts Overall On KOTN

What I Like

  • KOTN’s mission prioritizes high quality cotton, which in turn means everything they produce is made with excellent fabrics that look and feel great. 

  • They’re a certified B Corp and sustainably sources everything they use—they also ensure that their cotton farmers in Egypt are equitably paid. 

  • The Oxford and Essential Crew t-shirt have a classic slim fit, which is very versatile and allows the quality of the cotton fabric to shine.

What I Don’t Like

  • I love the Egyptian Giza cotton, but it wrinkles a lot and an iron is absolutely necessary. 

  • The crew neck sweatshirt has very wide shoulders, and though I’m normally a medium, I wish I got the large to go with a true “oversized” style.

Who is KOTN for?

KOTN is worth shopping with if you prioritize quality over quantity, and if you’re tired of buying clothes that almost feel like a human rights violation. KOTN is a true direct-to-consumer brand in that they have a working relationship with cotton farmers in Egypt—for that reason, they understand their product deeply and showcase the quality well.

The Verdict

KOTN is an excellent mid-price basics brand. Their focus is on fabric quality, and everything I tried from the brand is crisp, substantial, and both looks and feels great. 

The t-shirt and Oxford shirt have a classic fit, and I love the extra length in the Oxford shirt. 

I wasn’t as thrilled with the fit of the Terry Sweatshirt, as the shoulders were very wide set. It’s as if it was made to be worn “oversized.” If I were buying again, I’d actually size up and rock the Terry Sweatshirt in true oversized fashion. The fit wasn’t bad, but it’s certainly more trendy.

I love KOTN’s mission. They sustainably source all their materials, and they have active relationships with cotton farmers in Egypt who help them produce the high quality fabrics KOTN uses. 

KOTN is a stellar example of how clothing brands can ditch their old environmentally hazardous ways and embrace the future of green fashion.

Their trendy fits weren’t right for my style, but I’ll be back for the more classic styles in the Oxford and t-shirt.

KOTN

KOTN is an excellent mid-price basics brand. Their focus is on fabric quality, and everything I tried from the brand is crisp, substantial, and both looks and feels great.

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FAQs

Is KOTN ethical?

Yes, KOTN traces all their materials back to the source and they ensure their manufacturing process is clean. In addition to that, they take steps to ensure the farmers they work with to source their cotton are paid equitably.

Do KOTN clothes shrink?

Yes, there is some shrinkage with KOTN’s clothes because they’re made with 100% cotton. However, the clothes I tried didn’t shrink too much to the point where I felt I needed to buy a size larger.

Where are KOTN products made?

KOTN makes their fabrics and clothes in Egypt.

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