My Made in Box: The Season's Must-Have Subscription Gift Box Spreading the Heritage of Global Makers

With a focus on bringing more visibility to local artisans and makers from a global city or region at the time, My Made in Box aims to cherish local production and preserve the heritage of independent designers and makers all around the world.

By Hanna-Amanda Pant

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NO/AN: Humane Artisanal Approach Towards Handbag Luxury

Finnish NO/AN by Anna Lehmusniemi is an artisanal handbag brand boasting a purposeful, well-executed approach, whereas each bag is crafted by one single artisan throughout the process. Created as a reaction to the reckless speed of fashion industry, Nordic NO/AN believes in honest, detailed design approach and thorough, transparent craftsmanship of patiently dreamed up bags from start to the finish. The collection’s trademark matte, muted colour palette, as well as sharp graphic and geometrical lines, recalling Nordic landscape and architecture, allured us immediately. One true meticulous, quality fashion staple worth having this soon approaching spring season, that's a NO/AN bag. 

NO/AN SS17. 

NO/AN SS17. 

What were the key concerns regarding the fast fashion industry that turned into values you embrace with NO/AN?

The key concern is the overconsumption of things that do not last and are not needed. If a T-shirt costs £4,99 and a pair of jeans £12,99, there is clearly something wrong. It indicates the quality is not good and the artisans haven't been decently paid for their work. Fashion productions are also often far bigger than the demand, and so much goes to waste, or is finally sold at a very low price. As a designer, I also feel that it is important to give the design process the time it needs to create a product that is resilient. When it comes to fast fashion, this route is not the objective.

NO/AN’s values are built on honesty and sustainability. I want to create bags that can last for a long time, both quality and design wise. For me it is also very important to work with ateliers and suppliers that care about their employees, who are paid fairly. 

What's the most unique thing about NO/AN we need to know now?

The most unique thing is that every bag is made by one artisan from the beginning to the end. The bags are also signed by the artisans who made them. For me this is luxury.

"As a designer, I also feel that it is important to give the design process the time it needs to create a product that is resilient. When it comes to fast fashion, this route is not the objective."

NO/AN SS17. 

NO/AN SS17. 

Is the leather and other materials you use ethically sourced? Where do they come from?

I use natural grain leather and nickel-free metal zippers in my bags. The leather is a bi-product of the meat industry, and it comes from a Portuguese tannery that prioritises environmental preservation. The zippers are made by the Swiss brand RIRI, which are partly made in Switzerland and partly in Italy. I know both suppliers well.

What's your opinion about the fashion industry turning a degree closer to transparency and honesty? What could still be done differently?

It is clearly a growing trend and I think it is great. If the brands have nothing to hide, it should not be an issue to be open about where they produce and source the materials.

Sustainability and transparency can easily sound like something boring. I think some transparent brands could focus more on the image and to create an interesting, story-telling world around their products. For example, Everlane has executed it very well.

How do your Finnish roots pair with the aesthetics of the brand? Do you feel geography has influenced your art direction in any meaningful way?

Even though I have been living abroad several years, my design style and personal taste is still very much inspired by my Finnish roots. Actually, I think that the more I stay away from Finland, the more I take inspiration from Finland and appreciate Finnish design. Finnish design is often very minimal, but still not entirely boring. These are the same characteristics I want to communicate with my bags and NO/AN's art direction.

"Sustainability and transparency can easily sound like something boring. I think some transparent brands could focus more on the image and to create an interesting, story-telling world around their products."

NO/AN SS17. 

NO/AN SS17. 

The branding of fashion will possibly always be more fast paced — we need new images for products every season, if not more frequently. It's all production, all waste. How could this advertising process be perhaps slowed down — I would bring forward more seasonless campaign images, etc? What's your take on that?

Since I do not work with fashion seasons, I also aim to have seasonless campaigns. From NO/AN’s first shooting you cannot say directly, if it is a summer or a winter collection, because it works for both. For me brands coming up with campaigns frequently is a positive thing. It creates work for photographers, stylists, make-up artist and models. If you create digital marketing content, you do not waste materials. But if you print, it is important not to print more than needed.

I think it is important to refresh the image of a brand and collection every once in a while, even though it is a slow fashion brand. A sustainable brand does not have to be boring.

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#WeAreTesting: Artisanal Apothecary by Evolve Beauty

Artisanal producer of green cosmetics, Evolve Beauty from Hertfordshire, UK, shares their expertise on the benefits of hand-crafted, natural beauty blends. Their organic apothecary range so far consists of facial, body and hair products. All their products are vegan, cruelty-free and produced in small batches, to ensure the freshness of superfood based ingredients. 

Hyaluronic Serum 200, Evolve Beauty UK. 

Hyaluronic Serum 200, Evolve Beauty UK. 

Savant tested their most popular products — Hyaluronic Serum 200 and Daily Renew Facial Cream with Argan oil for a week. The delicate pomegranate-infused serum with rose petal scent gave our skin a nice healthy glow and repaired the skin’s uneven surfaces when applied overnight. The Daily Renew cream, scented with delicate coconut aroma, offers 24-hour protection against irritation and is perfect for preparing the skin for winter, when it is more receptive to dryness and eczema.

What are the benefits of organic facial oils and serums?

Using Organic skincare is highly recommended. Not only are organic products better for the environment, containing no nasty ingredients or synthetic fragrances, but they are more earth-friendly and truly repairing your skin texture. Synthetic ingredients can cause irritation and, ultimately, ageing of the skin (inflamm-ageing). 

What's the most popular product out of your own range?

Our most popular facial product is the Hyaluronic Serum 200. It contains 200mg of low molecular weight Hyaluronic Acid which has the ability to retain 1000 times its weight in water. It also contains Organic Pomegranate extract, which softens and protects. It has been delicately fragranced with organic rosewater. 

What could be the reason behind our beauty counters turning more organic and fuss-free? Why do we now care about what we put on our faces as much as we care about what goes into our bodies? 

Same as above really — fuss-free cosmetics give therapeutic and more effective results. Customers are becoming more and more aware of the effect of synthetic ingredients in they beauty products and are therefore turning to organic en masse

"Plants that survive in very harsh environments have developed special coping mechanisms — think about the rainforest, where it’s very hot and humid… perfect place for bacteria to grow! Some rainforest plants have the ability to fight off bacteria when applied to the skin."

Name your other organic go-to products and brands that deserve a shoutout. 

This is slightly biased, but I’ll say S5 Skincare! S5 is a range of organic cosmeceutical products based on ingredients sourced from the 5 most extreme ecosystems. Plants that survive in very harsh environments have developed special coping mechanisms — think about the rainforest, where it’s very hot and humid… perfect place for bacteria to grow! Some rainforest plants have the ability to fight off bacteria when applied to the skin. Fascinating!

Besides beauty, what other  'green lifestyle' principles are represented in your everyday life?

100% organic food! Also, cleansing products that are as natural as possible.

Daily Renew Facial Cream, Evolve Beauty UK. 

Daily Renew Facial Cream, Evolve Beauty UK. 

How did you do the testing and find out which combinations would actually work together? 

We work in very close collaboration with our ingredient suppliers, who advise us on formulation. Our little lab is also excellent at coming up with trump formulations! We are also running customer surveys to ask our customers, what they feel is missing from the range, and what they would like to see launched. 

Who is the target audience for green beauty?

Anyone and everyone. I see more people, who were accustomed to using only conventional skincare, now slowly turning to natural and organic, so we see everyone as a potential customer.

The beauty of the healing effect of organic beauty is that, in order to see the difference, you need to religiously apply the products every day, but after noticing the visible, lasting results that help us feel good in our own skin, this becomes a second nature.

Artattack: C for Charlotte Posner Pop Dolls

Meet Miss Charlotte Posner — London’s contemporary bespoke illustrator whose glam Pop Dolls have conquered the city’s galleries and conceptual shopping spaces. Whether it’s a proud row of sophisticated fashion Pop Doll icons, or elegant eye candy for the foodies, the funky hand-painted illustrations, mimicking commodity culture, branding and fashion’s exuberance in a stylish and satirical way, are simply a joyous celebration of the (otherwise) mundane everyday objects. All around us. 


Recently: C. Posner brought the era of fun, customised illustration back at Daisy Green Food, Seymour Street, on May 11th, and even three splashes of sticky prosecco accidentally poured over couldn’t stop us from admiring the majestic Pop Doll artwork, paired in perfect harmony with the trendy Peonica London summer collection handbags (above). 

C Posner Art

C Posner Art

At Savant, we always love personal stories the most. Tell me more about your artistic background and key influences. How did your journey of becoming an illustrator begin?

'Hello Sweetie' by C Posner

'Hello Sweetie' by C Posner

For as long as I can remember, I have always had a passion for expressing myself through creativity. My academic capabilities were not always my strongest asset and being artistic allowed me to strive and achieve in the one area that bought me happiness. From the age of 14, Mr. Jepson, my art teacher, taught me how to create using oil paint, which is where my love for art grew deeper. I spent 4 years studying at Chelsea Collage of Art and Design, which also included a semester at Emily Carr in Vancouver.

For the past 6 years I have worked on my paintings from Limehouse Art Foundation Studios in East London, competing in competitions and exhibiting my artwork nationally and internationally. I’ve had my work accepted for the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition, I participated at the Tate Modern. I also won a Saatchi drawing prize, and have been featured on the BBC Culture Show. Three years ago I decided to quit my part time job to become a full time artist. ‘If i don’t do it now i never will.’ I haven’t looked back since…

What trends and techniques are prevalent in your field of illustration today? 

The main technique I use for my illustrations is pen and ink drawing, starting my work by sketching first in pencil, I then use dip pen and black ink going over the rough sketch with solid neat lines. I then paint in the colour with acrylic or watercolour and touch up in pen again. I also use collage and jewels to accessorise the paintings. I want my paintings to be stylish, bold and easy to live with.

Three years ago I decided to quit my part-time job to become a full-time artist. “If i don’t do it now i never will,” ran through my mind. I haven’t looked back since…

How long does it take you to complete an illustration? Have you also experienced the so-called 'creative block' periods when you are unable to produce new art at all? How do you overcome such periods?

The process of creating my painting from start to finish depends on the size of the painting. They range from a day for the very small drawing or sketch to two-three weeks for the very large. I occasionally get the creative blocks, but I find that less thinking and more doing helps! Working on a few paintings at the same time keeps my imagination flowing and keep me interested in my work.

It seems like you get the inspiration from the most unexpected places - like the row of Magnum dolls, and many other commercial brand and figure led influences. How did you get into this niche? 

Everything around me is influential, I really stand by the quote, ‘you are what you surround yourself with’. All my artwork is based on current trends, life events and all my travels. 

The first ‘Pop Doll’ painting I ever created were the ice cream girls. I posted the dolls on social media and I received more ‘likes’ than I have ever had! From then on my ideas grew and little did I know I had my theme. From ‘foodie dolls’ to ‘designer dolls’, my work was slowly but surely taking off. I started to receive interest from brands, such as Magnum, Coke, Walls, Kellogg, Nails INK, and Magnum UK featured me on their summer campaign.

My vision for the future is to stick to the same theme, whilst growing my style and keeping my work fresh and interesting.

'Magnificent' by C Posner

'Magnificent' by C Posner

Why should we appreciate bespoke illustrations today? 

Making art is being totally in the present. It is a full process of taking your time, concentrating and using your imagination. Everything is becoming much more digital and easily accessible today. I believe that, ‘Good art is like a designer bag, you keep it and it never loses it value.’ My paintings are only increasing in value as my work has become more popular.

What's your opinion on promoting your work at concept store events, such as the Fofolles Popup on Kings Road, Chelsea, in perfect harmony with other ‘brands’, be it artists or fashion makers? Could it be that it creates a better connection with your art when exhibited in a conceptual space?

I think all exposure is great, having a pop-up store on the Kings Road was fantastic for brand awareness and getting my art seen by a young, trendy audience and surrounded by other luxury brands.

Why is it that many artists today decide to sell their work only through social media, and not in galleries anymore? In this case, what could be our potential loss as artists and consumers of art?

I believe the reason for this is that the rentals for gallery space in central London are financially prohibiting. I would agree that a gallery is the best place to exhibit you artwork because this is the only venue that encourages the speculative purchaser that buys on impulse.

'Saucy Ladies' by C Posner

'Saucy Ladies' by C Posner

Who are your favourite illustrators?

My favourite illustrators are Harry Clarke, Léon Samoilovitc Bakst and Richard Dadd.

Who would you expect to have their home decorated with your wonderful illustrations? 

I am extremely fortunate to have acquired such a wonderful audience of all ages. My clients leave it up to me to design what I feel, for commissions they give me the theme and idea and I go ahead and create. I like having the freedom to experiment with colour and style, to give the client the painting they want. My work is hanging all over the world - starting from London, Paris, New York to Brazil! Art is an international language and thereby appreciated all over the world.

Find the above and other bespoke, limited edition Pop Doll prints -