Going Forward by Sublime Magazine
Posted on October 03 2019
Read the latest interview "Going Forward" with our leader.
Entrepreneur Ines Karu-Salo launched KiRiVOO apparel after suffering a breakdown through overwork and making some changes to her life. She tells Sublime about her passions, and how transforming the world of fashion involves more than just clothes.
Sublime: How did you start the clothing brand KiRiVOO Apparel?
Ines Karu Salo: I have always strongly believed that little things matter, and have had a drive to do fashion in the right way. Before KiRiVOO, I worked for more than twelve years in fast fashion, and at one point started to see things differently. I wanted to do much more than just sell goods that people want. I wanted to change lives and do things better – better for the environment, better for people. You can get a broader understanding of my motivation in this video.
It was 2012, and I had moved to London to take part in the London College of Fashion's Fashion Design & Merchandising Summer School. I was also writing my Master's thesis, and working full-time on MOTHERCARE Baltics, the franchise firm I went on to found in 2004.
My life was incredibly busy and stressful for quite a long time. As a result, for the first time in my life I became depressed, and was ill with pneumonia. I got through that hard period when I decided to make a change, take a break and find more time for myself. That difficult point in my life pushed me to discover better ways of living.
I started to care a lot more about myself and what I ate and drank, what kind of cosmetics I put on my skin and what kind of clothing I wore. Many people do not know that some textile products contain harmful chemical residues that can be inhaled or absorbed through the skin and may cause allergies, skin rashes or respiratory problems. I did my research and understood that I wanted to help reduce the negative impact of clothing, and for sustainable living to become the norm, not the exception.
S: Tell us about the inspiration behind the label.
IKS: Currently each of KiRiVOO’s collections is designed by a different fashion designer, namely Teele Koel, Kristiina Jeromans and Liisi Tui. The collections have a slightly different story to tell from one to another, but there are features that run through all of them. Each collection offers timeless, feminine clothing, and the designs carry distinctive details from culture or nature, and are often decorated with ethnic embroidery.
S: What makes KiRiVOO unique?
IKS: From a design perspective, certainly the embroidered details, and the clean, ethnic, Scandinavian style.
The majority of fast fashion brands are in the hands of a large number of people, but a small boutique brand like ours is a totally different story. KiRiVOO offers a uniqueness, an exclusivity and a clothing experience that cannot be found anywhere else. We take extra care to reduce the enormous impact clothing has on the environment, and to support the growth of a sustainable fashion industry by using sustainable fabrics, reducing waste and following fair trade practices. KiRiVOO offers ethically handmade, high-quality garments at a sensible price.
S: What is your brand ethos?
IKS: The dream is to build the most sustainable fashion business possible. In order to achieve our vision, we are about to reinvent the fashion consumption industry by creating a revolutionary business model that is good for people and for the planet.
S: What are you most proud of?
IKS: I am proud that at KiRiVOO, we have managed to do fashion in a better way right from the beginning. I am proud of all the work we have done and the people we are working with. At KiRiVOO, we run a Caring Practices campaign that seeks to recognise the talent behind KiRiVOO’s production, and I believe this is a caring initiative that will give greater appreciation to all the efforts made.
I am also proud that KiRiVOO has been noticed, awarded and invited to showcase collections at fashion weeks, and that KiRiVOO has been fortunate to collaborate with the HILTON hotel and the department store Kaubamaja in Tallinn, with Pure London Conscious, with the UN Office for Partnerships and with all of our other partnerships.
S: How do you ensure that your values permeate your production and supply chain?
IKS: At KiRiVOO we fully support making moves towards greater transparency. We have worked hard to build reliable, long-term, trustworthy relationships with our partners and we meet face-to-face on a regular basis. As a sustainable fashion brand, we embrace our collective responsibility to take care of the earth and secure a sustainable future. Watch our latest video on manufacturing.
S: Do you have any plans for the brand in the near future?
IKS: We are working on launching a renewed business model that we believe will boost the brand’s growth and make the business even more sustainable, scalable and available. We are also working on expanding our product range. For example, we aim to launch KiRiVOO 3D silver jewellery later in 2019.
This interview "Going Forward" was first published by Sublime Magazine, 2nd of October 2019.
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