One of the main goals of this blog is to introduce the designers and brands that are behind the products offered on MAVOLU. I have therefore sent out a few quick questions as a guideline and have asked the designers to tell us a bit about themselves and their background. This series starts off with Marina Kleist, a 24 year old accessories designer who is originally from France and has recently started her own brand 'Marina Kleist'.
How did you get into bags and sustainability?
I have always seen my grandmothers sewing or knitting and subconsciously, I think it influenced my career. I did my studies in sewing, and began with furniture / decoration and clothing. After my studies, I did jobs that had nothing to do with sewing or fashion. It was in September 2017 with my move abroad to The Hague in the Netherlands that I decided to start and create my brand of vegan accessories.
Choosing to create bags was also a challenge for me, since I had never worked with this kind of material or anything related to bags before. I am completely self-taught on this kind of product. Also, to begin with I wanted to start with something 'simple' where I didn't have to consider sizing, like e.g. with clothing. For me the creation of a garment is very personal and several parameters are taken into account for the creation of a piece of clothing, such as measurements, silhouettes, the cut... one model can not go to everyone. But as a big fan of handbags, it was an obvious choice.
I have always been sensitive to the environment, the consumption of biological products, and supporting small producers. Therefore it was also obvious for me to make an ethical mark by minimizing the effects of production on the environment and especially to provide products that are durable and of high quality - and far from the world of fast fashion.
Why did you choose cork material for your bags?
It is a little by chance that I found the cork. During the creation of my brand, I immediately decided that I wanted to work with natural bio-based materials that have a low impact from an ethical and ecological perspective. I discovered the cork material and immediately fell in love with it. Cork is made from the bark of cork oaks in Portugal. No tree has to be felled, but instead every 9 years the bark is harvested by hand. Moreover the bark harvest allows the tree to release 30% more oxygen in the air, and a cork oak lives between 200 and 500 years. There is therefore no environmental or animal cruelty when using cork.
In what ways is cork different to regular leather?
The cork is different from ordinary leather because it is plant-based and does not come from animals, which is very related to my ethical approach. It is a vegan alternative to leather that contains no heavy metals or solvents. In addition to that it is resistant, washable and durable, but at the same time also flexible and soft.
In what way are your products good for the environment/humans/animals?
I only use organic fabrics, certified Oeko-Tex or GOTS, and of natural origin. There are no solvents or heavy metals in the chosen fabrics, so they are not harmful to our health or the planet. And most of all, they involve no form of animal cruelty. In addition to that I always try to source European fabrics and supplies. Through these choices, I try to limit the emission of CO2 and reduce the environmental impact.
Where do you see the future in sustainable fashion/accessories?
I think that fashion and durable accessories have a bright future. Things are changing, and more and more brands, little creators or average people are taking part in this movement of slow fashion. It is part of our future and it is a movement that must evolve for the animals, for the environment, and for us too.