Kate Unsworth: Millenial CEO Who Isn’t Addicted to Her Phone

Kate Unsworth, CEO & Founder of VINAYA. Photo: Courtesy of @kateuns

The majority of us humans have whimsical ideas and dreams. For the most part, our most extravagant thoughts will remain as just that— thoughts. Occasionally our thoughts evolve into adventures and successes. For some, the dreams take root and blossom into something truly unimaginable.

The wizard of one such dream is Miss Kate Unsworth. At the tender age of 28, Kate is the brain behind a brand, CEO and Founder of Kovert Designs. Kovert began in name before becoming so in nature. Despite being in its fledgling stages, Kate declared her fearless and unconventional style by changing her brand name, ever so coolly, and emerging stronger and grittier with Vinaya. 

If you read up on the former model and DJ turned geek and scholastic wiz kid, you could easily think of Kate as a privileged or unappealing character, but neither is remotely true.

Having grown up in Cheshire’s affluent Hale, Kate could have fallen into a stereotypical life or followed many a well-trodden path, but that isn’t in the bones of an Unsworth. In the 17 years that I have known Kate, not one of the roads she has taken has been remotely predictable. Kate is a baffling collision of minds and worlds. At 13, the effortless beauty was an avid audiophile, weirdly as happy tinkering with electronics as jamming to a little funk. Whilst the teenage angst and peer pressure was worming its way into the world around her, her head remained, very firmly, on her shoulders.

Having lived more than enough lives already, Kate gained a Degree in Mathematics and Statistics and Masters in Economics and Econometrics from Edinburgh University and went out into the world brimming with ideas and inventions that could harness and challenge her creative and analytical mind.

Going from student life to start-up to CEO must have been a truly intimidating and incapacitating prospect, but, from the chaotic concept stages to the official launch of Vinaya, the fledgling founder barely took a breath.

These days Kate’s world has taken a positively stratospheric turn. Not only has Vinaya evolved into research and design house, VINAYA, but it has become a hub for research and innovation.

Vinaya is ever evolving and exploring the intersection of neuroscience, philosophy, psychology, mindfulness and modern technology. While we, mere mortals, are wrapping our heads around a new fashion hybrid; “scientific and savvy,” Kate has assembled a crack team of likeminded and inventive nerds who are striving to research, develop and deliver ground breaking creative conceptions.

“We should all learn to switch off – but for many people, that’s an impossible dream.”

If you’re not familiar with the feeling of reaching for your smartphone or browsing the social networks simply out of habit, then you’re probably in the wrong place. For those that are, that incredible urge can be explained – in a rather frightening way – because it’s something we’ve become anatomically programmed to do.

In November 2015, Vinaya unleashed its first product, Altruis. In a world where functionality and fashion remain separate and where staunch traditionalists cling to their “offline” personas, Altruis has been designed to be as beautiful as it is smart. The Altruis Collection grew from the roots of its creator, every fragile detail is a reaction or expression of the founder’s journey. Fashion to function. The bespoke and cutting edge micro-electronics (developed in house by the Vinaya team) allow you to take a step away from your gadgets and gismos, cut out the noise and allow your life to happen.

Kate is refreshingly contradictory when it comes to the tech world. Despite being a self-confessed “offline die-hard” and exceptionally savvy champion of “digital detoxification,” Kate remains constantly conscious and literate when it comes to social, fashion and digital innovations. When asked how she planned to facilitate the intersection between the fashion and technology industries, Kate broke the complex issue down effortlessly— “I would describe us as a fashion brand, but a tech company.”

As a virtually illiterate human (no pun intended), my mind boggles at the complexities of Vinaya. The culture of constant interaction seems unnatural to me, and, to most, I’m an infuriating Luddite and lost cause, but for wiz kid Kate, I am a quirk worth indulging.

The CEO recently disabled the Twitter and Facebook apps on her mobile phone. The move was not a defiant F**k you to the technology world, but a first person experiment into using tech to disconnect. Back online and thrust into the tech world with a million ideas, Kate realized the fatal flaw in wearables, “the technology industry has no background in creating things that people want to wear. At Kovert, we build things that are aesthetically beautiful, focusing on design first and technology second.”

The desire to opt out of gadgetry is a talking point across all industries, some see it as a backlash to the “fear of missing out,” others as a belief in “joy of missing out.” Personally, I view it as a release from the bombardment of noise and clutter that is streamed into my life via a million different machines. Kate’s brain child promises “smart jewellery that gives its owners respite from the compulsive use of smartphones.”

The future of Vinaya and it extraordinary founder is undoubtedly unimaginable to my technophobe brain, but I will be fascinated and curious every step of the way.

Edited by Demi Vitkute

Daisy Sells


Daisy began her career as a travel PR representing numerous international Tourist Boards and luxury, lifestyle, and charity projects. Her passion and tenacity teamed with 8 years of experience has taught her to be a strong champion of both PR and journalism whilst appreciating and respecting the nuances of both. She is passionate about exploring and questioning the world around her and draws inspiration from all walks of life, unfazed by eccentricity, pop culture, politics or social and global issues. Daisy is somewhat unconventional, occasionally controversial, doggedly determined and infuriatingly curious.

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