FRAMIORE | ALFA VEGA
Since it is the end of the month we are ending it with another exciting interview between one of the founders of the brands on our platform - Framiore, Natalka Naida and the founder of Alfa Vega, Ieva Balciute. Framiore is a brand that focuses on using environmentally friendly materials for womenswear and creates the most unique products with deft sewing techniques that do not harm the planet. The brand believes in boosting women empowerment!
What inspired you to pursue building your brand and bringing it to life?
Before I started working on the Framiore brand, I had been in business for 13 years.
The first thought came when I was traveling in Asia. Me, two of my close friends (beautiful and successful women), one and a half month and a small backpack.
We didn’t have a plan, we just explored the country and ourselves. Then I thought for the first time that we don’t really need so many things in this life. I returned home, cleaned my wardrobe and exhaled, because 60% of things I did not wear and another 30% I never wore.
That’s when the idea was born to create clothes for a woman who dresses for herself. The idea of making clothes thinking about nature, about the workers who create them and about the woman who will wear them, all these became the main pillars of our brand.
What were the biggest challenges for you to launch it?
I knew how I wanted to do it, but I knew nothing about the fashion industry. The first thing I did was to go to trainings and conferences, trying to understand how a small brand from Ukraine (without a budget) could create a product that European women would want to wear.
I spent most of my time and resources on understanding what it means to build a conscious and sustainable business. Starting with the team, ending with who we work with, because not only fabric can be toxic, but also partnerships.
The second thing, when we talked with foreign partners, we often heard “Ukraine has either a bad reputation or none at all”, do you understand what we had to work with?
That is, then I understood that there is such a thing as “starting conditions”. For example, the difference between a brand from France or Italy and a brand from Ukraine is enormous. There is a gap between us. But it only strengthened my confidence that I should move in this direction.
Why do you think Sustainability in the Fashion industry is so important?
Sustainability is important in any sphere of life. Everything we consume from food to relationships has a price. And the more conscious we are about our choice, the more positive resources we will receive.
Can you share the greatest lesson you have learned while working in the fashion industry?
It is not enough just to create good and high- quality things. You still need to have inner strength so as not to lose your "voice" in the noise of million- dollar advertising budgets and bright trends.
Can you tell us about the fabrics/materials that you use and why you chose them?
From the beginning, we try to use steel and certified materials. These are mostly Tencel, bamboo or eco-cotton, but unfortunately in Ukraine we are limited in our choice, as we are not a manufacturer of these materials.
We often try to use stock fabrics - I consider this also a conscious element of a sustainable brand.
Although this greatly complicates our work and sales. That is, two things are important to us: It’s exactly how our material was made (and how recyclable it is). We use stock materials (that is, what has already been manufactured and is in warehouses).
What makes your products stand out?
I think that’s how we do it. Our workshop is located in the innovative environment of Promprilad Renovation, surrounded by businesses that are building the future economy of our country. Also, these are the conditions in which our people work, for example, half a year ago we introduced a work schedule from 9 in the morning to 5 in the evening, that is, the girls still have time for their families and themselves.
Another important component is that we do not work with a warehouse. That is, we do not want to create something that we cannot sell later. Therefore, one more task with an asterisk: to quickly and qualitatively create on demand.
A lot of people find working in the fashion industry fascinating. What does your usual work routine consist of?
This is a daily routine.
In fact, I really love what I do, I live in a small town in the west of Ukraine and I have the opportunity to conduct a dialogue with the whole world, isn’t it exciting?
How do you think the fashion industry can be improved?
My personal opinion is to create not more, but only what is absolutely necessary. To create things that will be loved, like a second skin, then the attitude to clothes will be different.
Do you have any other designers that inspire you? Who’s your idol? (in fashion and otherwise)
My idol is a woman who knows what she wants and dresses for herself.
Is there a specific type of style you aim for when designing your products or do you experiment with different styles throughout the whole process of creating an item?
From the beginning of the work on the brand, our overall idea was to create things inspired by the little-known peoples of the world. These are collections that will never leave our product line. And this year, we decided to create seasonal sets (this is a set of things like a capsule collection, but very compact and interchangeable.
In times of tough challenges how do you overcome them?
I just love this life. I still wake up with joy every morning, even now, when there is a war in my country, and all this horror...
I believe that the most important thing is to protect the light inside yourself, and all the rest are tools (innovations, materials, technologies), all of which were created to serve humanity.
In what ways does your brand interact with the consumer?
Through all the channels available to us: through social networks, partners and events to which we are invited.
What kind of message do you want your brand to reflect on the public?
Life is beautiful and worth loving yourself and choosing consciously.
Where do you see your brand in the near future?
I see us strong and true to ourselves. I dream that one day, we will have a team that will go on an expedition and deeply research the disappearing peoples of the world.
And on the business side, we have a few plans that you’ll be hearing about soon.
Which aspects of your production process have changed over time and why?
Currently, we direct 30% of our production capacity to the sewing of things necessary for the army.
We are also now ready for cooperation and collaborations with European brands in order to continue working and creating jobs in Ukraine.