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New Seattle designer making better basics

Proto101 elevates comfort and makes it sustainable. #k5evening

SEATTLE — You know the joke about how we prefer practical clothes in the Pacific Northwest? Comfort just got a lot better looking thanks to this Seattle fashion startup.

Rafael Soto, cofounder of Proto101 has a modest goal for his apparel.

“We really want to start with replacing everything in your closet.”

Rafael designs better basics made with sustainable materials — he calls the concept 'yarn to you.'

“What I love is when people come in and they start touching and they're like oh wow — I get to design killer fabrics."

He and his business partner Liyin Kok have a combined 50 years in global fashion, working for brands like Ralph Lauren, Nordstrom, Macys, and Diesel.
But this recently opened Seattle store is their current passion.

"Yeah, we joke around, we're like everything from designer/CEO to shop owner and janitor and IT person and shipping, everything,” Kok said.

What you'll find at Proto101 in Seattle’s Pacific Place are casual clothes for women and men with modern lines and with handy touches like zippered phone pockets.

What you won't find are price tags attached by plastic. Or sewn-on labels.
The design here isn't just about the clothes — the business is also carefully designed to eliminate waste. This is slow fashion. Literally.

“If you order online, you get an email right away that says basically, we're not air shipping anything, be patient, we'll send it at the slowest rate,” Soto said. Shipping by snail mail lessens the carbon footprint of these clothes.

All the clothing Proto101 offers is under one-hundred dollars.

“Really great premium quality sustainably sourced fashion and clothing should be something everybody can afford,” Kok said.

They partner with other local, sustainable brands — the store carries beanies and socks from Seattle's Arvin Goods, bags from Boejack Designs, another Seattle company, and lotions from Handmade LaConner.

"As we continue to expand the brand, we're really looking for partners that are local or sustainable,” Soto said.

Most important of all — thanks to Proto101, we Northwesterners can all feel good about throwing on some comfy sweats.

KING 5's Evening celebrates the Northwest. Contact us: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Email.



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