Get the Latest News on Bukvy’s Organic “Vegan Leather” Bag Launch
“It is a natural, organic, renewable and biodegradable material, and 100% recyclable.”
When there’s talk of new innovative materials and technology with the potential of taking fashion to the next sustainable level, we’re always eager to find out more. So we asked Elena Ekström of Stockholm-based bag brand Bukvy to tells us all about their upcoming organic “vegan leather” collection, which includes an updated version of the 5-in-1 Bo Bardi bag (above) in eco-friendly Cork Skin.
What have you been up to since the last time we spoke (read up here)?
It has been an exciting year for Bukvy and for us personally. We are both just back from maternity leave and the process of pregnancy and babies have made us feel even deeper in touch with our values and in creating a slow fashion brand. We have been questioning our part in the fashion industry, what we as designers and owners of a brand can, and maybe must do, to create a better way for the industry. Our conclusion is that we must always move forward sustainability-wise and talk openly about our choices, what we are trying to achieve and why.
We are a female founded, female owned, female led brand and that is our power. We don’t have to answer to anyone or make decisions that we don’t believe in. It is up to us to create something great and not prioritize profit overall. If we want the consumer to make conscious decisions, we need to lead the way, offer better choices and try to inspire others to do the same.
What can you tell us about this new vegan Cork Skin material and its benefits over leather?
The material we have chosen to work with is 100% vegan, including the glue. It even has a positive impact on our environment: the cork industry provides protection against climate change – as the oak trees reduces the risk of fire and desertification – and thanks to the long life of an oak tree, a lot of CO2 is deposited in the woods. It is a natural, organic, renewable and biodegradable material, and 100% recyclable.
The feel of the new Bo Bardi material is luxurious and sporty. It is durable, water-repellent and lighter than leather, and it is very easy to remove stains – you just wipe it clean with a cloth.
“If we want the consumer to make conscious decisions, we need to lead the way, offer better choices and try to inspire others to do the same.”
Why is it important to you to offer a vegan option?
We are mainly interested in finding better and more sustainable alternatives, and always strive to make the smallest environmental impact possible, so this is a step in the right direction for us. When we understood all the benefits regarding the ecosystem and found this specific almost waxed material, we truly fell in love. It is so beautiful, and we hope that our customers will love it too.
What has the process of finding and developing this new material been like?
Our hunt for a non-leather alternative has been limited by a few ground rules, which we set up from the beginning: no plastics (not even recycled); it must be eco-friendly; it must add value to the bag; it must be as durable as leather; the material must be made in Europe; it must look beautiful, exclusive and timeless.
It has been a long journey and we are proud of finally being able to start production.
How and where will the bags be produced?
We always work with the same carefully chosen studios: one in Portugal and one in Spain. They are both very close partners and we evolve together with them. We are happy that the Portuguese studio has agreed to develop this collection together with us and know that they will do a fantastic job.
How do you plan to use the material in your collection going forward?
Part of our non-leather collection will include new items, which is a process involving a lot of conversation, testing and of course also many challenges. In just a few weeks we will launch a crowdfunding campaign where we invite our customers to help us fund the collection. In return we offer a generous discount on these items.
Our most popular 5-in-1 Bo Bardi bag is of course a big part of the project, and as long as everything goes as planned, we will also introduce a few new items to complement our existing collection in a beautiful and very functional way. The overall focus for us going forward is to complement the current items and make them even better instead of creating new bags.
“In just a few weeks we will launch a crowdfunding campaign where we invite our customers to help us fund the collection.”
Why have you chosen to crowdfund the production, and what are your hopes for the result?
Crowdfunding for us is part of creating a sustainable brand. When a customer is willing to wait a few months for an item, we believe that she has thought the purchase through. The price is of course also an important part. We never do sales since we don’t think it is a sustainable way to work, and unnecessary since our items are timeless and can be worn every season.
Our pricing is cost-based, which means that the price is based on the item’s actual production cost and the cost of managing a business (which we discuss openly at Bukvy.se), but when it comes to crowdfunding it is a question of give and take: we get our customers support in advance and in return we treat them with an exclusive price. It also gives our customers a chance to get insight into a fashion brand’s everyday life; we share updates and focus extra on communication during these months. This is very important as we know it is not the normal way of shopping.
Last year we crowdfunded our organic collection which was a truly wonderful experience. We got such beautiful response and knew that we have to do it again. Except for hopefully being able to launch this collection much earlier than if we created it with our own muscles, we hope that we’ll get to be part of the experience of making something like this together with our community. The feeling of women creating something great together is what we wish to be part of again.
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