From salmon skin cardholders to excess leather weekenders: Icelandic salmon skins from food industry, excess sofa leather from Finnish furniture industry and elk leather from population control hunters are some of the materials the gorgeous Lovia bags are made of. The individual code in each bag reveals the whole history of the item: you can find out all about who made your beloved bag and the material on the product DNA page. We wanted to know all about sustainable fashion going 2.0.
Words: Meri Frig
Lovia is a new sustainable fashion brand with a super innovative concept. How has it been received in the fashion industry?
The feedback from the customers has been inspiring so far. Also, the industry and our colleagues have been very supportive of our new ideology. Traditional fashion industry has been working the same way for decades and it definitely isn’t easy to start from scratch creating new processes in, i.e. manufacturing. For us, this new method of production is a crucial way of operating, because our whole concept is built on the idea of using leftover materials and transparency. That requires an open-minded vision and commitment from our partners, too. We are lucky that we have found great people and companies to collaborate with. They truly believe in our mission and are key supporters in changing the industry with us. Especially our use of fish skin, like salmon, perch and burbot, has been very well received and has gained attention, as it is still viewed as a rather innovative material.
"For us, this new method of production is a crucial way of operating, because our whole concept is built on the idea of using leftover materials and transparency."
Lovia designs have been inspired by the Finnish national epic Kalevala, as well as Nordic nature. How would you describe Lovia’s design concept regarding the materials you use?
Lovia's design concept combines two very strong elements that I try to include in my designs. One element is the visual inspiration and the other is our unique concept to use rescued materials, which determine the base for the collection. Lovia’s design concept is quite extraordinary from what people in the industry are used to. In the core of Lovia’s concept is the material: everything starts from the existing material and I take the creative process from there. We rescue materials from other industries, such as fish skin from food industry, excess leather from furniture industry and elk leather from Nordic hunters, as a surplus from population control hunting.
Where do you source your visual inspiration?
My visual inspiration comes from old mythologies, the strong and wise goddesses of North, and from the old folk who honour the nature. I really appreciate the wisdom of people who appreciate the beauty of nature, and see themselves as equals to any other animal, tree, rock, water, or cosmic element. I think we should find this consciousness also today and see how we could cherish our environment. For me, pine trees are very meaningful and inspirational. I love the idea that they can live hundreds of years, they are persistent to grow on hazardous grounds with their strong roots, and they have time to see how their surroundings evolve. I would like to bring a piece of their wisdom to my designs, too. I want to design pieces which people consider as their lifelong friends. Lovia's goal is to create a timeless piece that would last for generations. I think that the 'life cycle' of the product is an important element to consider to create sustainability.
"For me, pine trees are very meaningful and inspirational. I love the idea that they can live hundreds of years, they are persistent to grow on hazardous grounds with their strong roots, and they have time to see how their surroundings evolve."
Strong muses lie in the core of Lovia's DNA. You have designed some items together with them. Who are Lovia’s muses?
Lovia’s muses are creative, aware and open-minded people that have their own cause. They are passionate about what they do, and their mission is to show us the way towards a more conscious world, with more innovative practices, actions, ideas and thoughts. Our muses work in different fields and are people who we really admire. We are very proud that we have a chance to collaborate with amazing people. And through our DNA concept, we have the opportunity to share their story and history.
Who would you love to see carrying a Lovia handbag?
What are some other innovative and sustainable concepts you have come across in the fashion industry?
There are many interesting things going on now. For example there is a lot of very innovative materials coming up, like cellulose-based fabrics from Finland, wine grape skin 'leather' that is made of left over wine grape mache from wine production. Also, plastic is collected from the ocean and the material is recycled to new materials, and many more. I like the way Reformation has grown their business using recycled fabrics, but they have scaled the business very fast. There are a lot of start-ups coming up with new innovative ideas, and solutions to make fashion more sustainable. That is so great! For example, Nokonen, who makes designs from nettle fabric, and Anni Ruuth who makes luxury fashion from ethical feathers. Guardian of the Baltic Sea is a beautiful jewellery brand that donates part of their profit to protect our Baltic Sea. I really feel that the industry has started to change and is finally taking action towards the right direction.