If there is no path available to walk on, we create our own. This is what Vicky Lavranou, an architect from Greece, decided to do. When all her life was filled with mixtures of tough building materials such as cement, wire, metal and so forth, she faced a shiny moment or a “moment of truth,” as we sometimes call it. She decided to participate in a contest hosted by HERMES and had the opportunity to experiment with the design of handbags. From that moment onwards, a new brand was on the way. Vicky began recycling her architectural drawings to patterns and covers for new fashion design items. ‘RAinpatterns' had just been born. Combining love for usability, fashion, and design, she began creating handbags and other accessory items infusing all her creativity, vision and beliefs.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Mrs. Lavranou and learning more about the paths that RAinpatterns has followed up until now.
Eco Fashion World: Fashion, design, architecture and recycling. Four prevailing words in the story of “Recycling Architecture in Patterns” (RAinpatterns in abbreviation). Please share briefly the story behind your patterns and your field of specialty.
Vicky Lavranou: The fundamentals and characteristics of RAinpatterns have two main points that ultimately lead to two different collections: Firstly, the patterns design, which is artistic software processing of my architectural drawings and creates the patterns for the collection. Secondly, the innovative bag design, RAinpatterns bags collection clearly demonstrate my architectural deconstruction influences. My pattern creations are based on the principles of “process art” (an artistic movement, as well as, a creative sentiment where the end product of art and craft, the “objet d’art”, is not the principal focus-wikipedia).
Using my “architectural process” through the design and manufacture steps helps me to reach the maximum level of function and quality in all my products, alongside my focus to interweave ethics and recycling with regard to materials and manufacture. I do "fashion" as an architect. I give equal attention to the design, construction and materials, as I do to the functionality and end-user.
EFW: Everyone starts with a dream/vision. What is yours?
VL: The continuation of my creative work in an environment where the more people are involved either as partners or as “users”/customers, the more satisfaction I get.
EFW: Your team consists of some people and a lovely dog. Please tell us some things about the primary contributors behind the project.
VL: Puck is the lovely dog! My family and my good friend and photographer Natasha Chiotaki (RAinpatterns photography director) are the primary supporters of this effort. All of us are extremely open to trying new designs and materials in order to create innovative items. We do so by exchanging each other’s knowledge and expertise and sharing the common passion for creation.
EFW: Please tell us about the raw materials you prefer to combine or any special technique used in your making process.
VL: The main material used for RAinpatterns Bags Collection till now, is white cowhide leather, which is printed using eco-friendly-UV protected ink. The environmentally preferred leather can be defined by two key parameters. Firstly, taking into consideration the manufacturing process and secondly, the inputs used to manufacture it. I believe the leather we use is the least chemically treated leather. In addition, we try to avoid using metal accessories. We prefer using prototype seams in combination with the bag shapes and design. Additionally, I use the remaining leather scraps to create leather bracelets.
The main material for our scarves is real Greek silk produced in the Greek city of Soufli that has a long history of Greek silk production since the Byzantine times and is digitally printed using ecofriendly –UV protected ink.
EFW: What is the main source of inspiration for your patterns?
VL: The influences derive from my favorite architectural and art movements of Deconstruction, Constructivism and Expressionism along with influences from painting themes of ancient Greek, Minoan, Egyptian, Tibet and Thai Architecture, which are recognized in my patterns.
EFW: What motivates you daily at your work?
VL: Emotional balance, which gives me the satisfaction of creation.
EFW: What is the meaning behind the word “recycling” with regard to your brand? How important of a part is recycling and the eco-friendly mentality within your work?
VL: Ethical (regards the human resource) and Recycling (literally and figuratively) are both strongly connected to my vocabulary and all my collaborations are based on these two principles. The manufacturing activity model, which is based on cottage industry helping and supporting humanity and craftsmanship, along with the effort of using recyclable materials in all products are my basic principles throughout the manufacturing process. I prefer "non-commercial” thinking, but it is certainly a very important factor for everyone we try to reach.
EFW: What is your favorite motto?
VL: “Not what we have But what we enjoy, constitutes our abundance.” (Epicurus, Greek philosopher)
EFW: Apart from bags you create scarves, sandals, and bracelets as well. Consequently, you want people to wear “RAinpatterns” apart from solely carrying them. Why? What is the core message “RAinpatterns” carries?
VL: Since I was young I always considered all my clothes, shoes and accessories as precious acquisitions to carry with me as the years pass by. Avoiding “mass” products and giving great attention to design, function and quality along with my very personal view of unique style and design, I have infused all of there characteristics in RAinpatterns and there outcome is pieces that you can and will consider a precious acquisition.“
EFW: What are your definitions of ethical fashion and design?
VL: “Ethical” is about the decisions on materials and manufacturing process as well as the liability of honest treatment of the final user. “Design” is construed in accordance with functionality and excellent workmanship.
EFW: What are three verbs you think of which fill you with energy when things take an unexpected turn?
VL: I Want, I Can, I Proceed.
EFW: Where can we find your products and what are your next plans?
VL: A number of places including -
“L’isa” boutique concept store - VIA FEDERICO CONFALONIER 21, 20124 MILAN, ITALY
“Notjustalabel ” London
- “Themonoplace” London - MONO space Shoreditch 19-29 March 2015, E2 7DP, 30A Redchurch Street
- FUTURE LABELS, A digital showroom for global retailers, Hong Kong
«Recycled Architecture in Patterns» is a project which continues to produce interesting designs which add uniqueness to our wardrobe and carrying experience. A well knitted team, sharing core values have helped another ethically «made in Greece» start-up, thrive worldwide. For more information about the brand and the story behind it, visit the RAinpatterns website or the official Facebook page.