We got the chance to meet Outi Korpilaakso, the designer of Lovia collection, at their latest launch event and immediately felt that this woman has the power to change the fashion industry for good. Lovia is an accessory brand that combines high-end design with sustainability and a fully transparent production concept. Lovia bags are made of fine Nordic materials that are rescued as leftovers from different industries. It’s a go-to brand for everyone who wants to know exactly where their goods come from. We sat down with Outi to discuss her values and inspirations behind this ethical brand.

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Q: How was Lovia born?

A: The idea of Lovia was born from a sort of a personal crisis after I worked in commercial fashion. I realized the world is filling up with new items and we can’t continue this way for long. I wanted to create something that would be better for the environment and use materials that already exists. I proposed my idea of excess materials combined with timeless designs to Anniina Mustalahti and Tiina Kosonen in early 2014.

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Tiina Kosonen, Outi Korpilaakso, Anniina Mustalahti

Q: What is the main thing you want to highlight your brand and what are your values?

A: The core of Lovia relies on transparency. We created a Product DNA to highlight this in each of our bags. The DNA reveals the whole history of the bag that you are holding, the makers and the origins of the materials it is made of. On the other hand, we want to create as little from new materials as possible. Using rescued materials such as elk and salmon leather or excess leather from the interior industry, we had to turn the design process upside down - starting from the materials and figuring out what we can create with them.

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blue, eco, and fashion image

Q: Where and how is your brand manufactured?

A: Lovia bags are manufactured at Clio Factory near Milan, Italy. Founded by three artisans, Fulvio Galbiati, Jenny Boischio, and Luisella Checuz, the team of nine professionals has decades of experience in working with luxury labels. Fulvio has said "After working for so long in the field, you have an ability to see through leather. You know exactly whether all the details are made with attention and proficiency. The quality of a bag is hidden under the surface." We think this summarizes the passion and level of quality in their work.

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The jewelry and pine cone puller for the bags are made in Helsinki, Finland, in the hands of jewelry smith Tero Hannonen. When creating his masterpieces, he works smoothly from a 3D-visualizer into a chemist.

Q: What does the art of storytelling and visuality mean to you?

A: It is a crucial part of me and I love creating stories and imaginative scenes. The stories give me joy - it feels like an adventure where my mind can travel and play! It is the mindset that I'm born with, sort of like creative spectacles you see the world through.
The visual world and stories are something that surrounds everyone every single day, but people recognize it on unique levels. Some are more sensitive to their senses and interpret the environment differently than others.

My task as a designer is to highlight some stories, make them visible and get people to notice them.

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Q: Where do you gather your inspiration from and how do you keep yourself inspired?

A: My inspiration often comes from nature, especially from the woods. Age old pine has been sort of a power tree for me, and a few years ago I turned up to our goldsmith's office with a pine cone in my bag. Tero helped me turn it into our signature jewel, which is seen in most of our bags and jewelry.

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blue, eco, and fashion image

My sacred place is northern Finland, whether it is hiking in Lapland or spending time in our cottage. I go there regularly to soak in the surroundings. There is something that allows your mind to roam freely.

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Q: As a female leader, what are your tips for girls who want to lead a company of their own one day?

A: Cherish your dreams and work towards your dreams. As an entrepreneur, things don't always come easy. But when you succeed, it feels better than ever.

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Check out Lovia’s collection: https://www.loviacollection.com/

Outi
Outi
@oukaroliina  
Interviewed by: Outi Mäkiaho
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