BALTA BALTA creative group united few young and experienced artists in Lithuanian
textile design, who are using sources of nature. The brand aims to prove that it is possible to make a high quality products without harming the environment by exploring and making responsible choices in selecting materials, technologies, production processes, as well as caring for the environmental impact and labourer welfare. Of course we understand the consumers’ demands are driving change as well. They have the freedom and the power to change the world with their wallets and that is why we think educating consumers about environmental aspects of sustainable fashion is no less important than purchasing products that they feel good about.
We found out about the Worth Project late enough since it was introduced to us only in September 2018. A practical workshop “International WORTH Partnership Program for Creative Businesses: Meeting with Program Experts” was organized at the Vilnius Chamber of Commerce, industry and Crafts and we were invited and participated here. It was an interesting event. After it we didn’t actually fixate the moment when we decided to participate in project. After a few days, while drinking tea in our studio, we already have been discussing about creating a collection of multifunctional things. From the first sight, these objects would seem simple, but actually they replace several items in everyday life.
THE BIRTH OF THE PROJECT:
The habit of having too many things and consuming excessively is a real issue for the environment. As textile artists, we often use our personal things with many purposes, sometimes even without thinking about it. A beautiful veil can suddenly become a tablecloth, a nice throw blanket becomes an improvised cloak. Meanwhile, in our homeland, this kind of resourcefulness is an old tradition. The same hand-woven fabric used to be passed from generation to generation and implemented a role of many different things – a cover, a tablecloth, a blanket, even a baby carrier. We thought that this kind of mindful approach could encourage people to reconsider their consumption habits and also inspire their creativity.
Since we have our own physical studio boutique, we realised that besides just selling our products, we also have to educate the society about sustainable manufacturing process, about sustainable design values. We try to demonstrate respect for the environment throughout every stage of luxury product creation by responsible choices in selecting materials, selecting technologies and hand made with traditional artisanal skills. We understand that sustainability in our collection at the same time is creative use of multifunctional products
We decided that every product in collection should contain at least one sustainability stage. While working on the project we found out that if we want to implement these ideas, all the prototypes must meet requirements of sustainability level. It affected the prices of our luxury products since they depend on the executed sustainability processes. On the other hand, it appeared to be easier to introduce the environmentally friendly manufacturing, as all products contain the same strategy.
THE CREATIVE PROCESS:
Our team made luxury multi-functional throws/wraps which are created for people to relax, that they could feel comfortable in their leisure time. High quality products are made using natural, high quality locally sourced materials that are transformed by the precise craftsmanship of skilled artisans. Innovative design allows to transform home textile products into wearable textiles and offers a creative way to encourage consumers to reduce their need for new items. It also educates the public about the values of sustainable design.
The tasks are raised for us in this project collection: to make products that do not have a seasonal feel, that one would not want to discard, but rather pass on from generation to generation. It is important to show that the artist’s touch makes the product unique, promotes the heritage of local traditions in contemporary fashion!
In the long run, we would like the product to become a “business card” for the company.
During the whole creative process, we faced many challenges. We had to visit almost every textile manufacturer in Lithuania, choose, try, and change different fabrics. One of the problems was that some of the factories refused to produce our chosen fabrics in the future, so we had to look for other possibilities. But as a result, we found even more interesting and exclusive fabrics for our collection.
Also, we needed some special pieces of cord fixing details for one of our products. We have researched both Lithuanian and foreign markets but have not found anything suitable for our purpose. Fortunately, during one of the eco design events, we met a Lithuanian designer group creating various products from old recycled skateboards. We discussed the matters and they have manufactured some really original pieces of hardware for us using this material.
Collaboration with Latvian designer Davis Licitis went smoothly. From the very beginning he got involved into the creative process and really supported our ideas. He created a universal packaging design for us. The primary material was recycled eco paper, and it turned out beautifully.
However, when we tried to ship it from Latvia to Vilnius, it arrived all torn.
Without wasting much time in disappointment, we started to search for another material, which would meet our requirements – to be natural or recycled and durable enough. That is how Latvian lingerie factory LAUMA has joined us in this project. They have offered Davis their fabric scraps to sew bags from. It turned out that the waste of leftover fabrics is a big problem for their manufacturing, and they were happy that we wanted to reuse these scraps. Our unique bags display a QR code which provides all the information about the collection and introduces the plant dyeing process. We were excited by the whole collaboration process, since it always brings new ideas and possibilities, and especially unexpected solutions.
Sadly, a big part of the further events, like Milan Design Fair or Lódz Design Festival, was interrupted by quarantine. We are looking forward to a possibility to participate in events again. Our key strategy is to expand our business activities over a period of time by entering into strategic collaboration with: boutiques selling similar items, not only Lithuanian design shops or art gallery boutiques. We also have plans of taking part in international fairs and exhibitions in order to promote our product and to find new customers and distributors. At present, our plans continue to be adjusted by quarantine and the general situation in the world. We are now focusing on the internet. We are trying to present our collection on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, upload it to our website, write a blog. We are also looking for online platforms and distributors who would like to sell our collection.
We believe in the products we create. We would really like to really expand our production while continuing to develop new products on this topic. In the future, we hope to find investors who would be interested in developing our product while maintaining high quality. By purchasing our products, the buyer will invest not only in aesthetic expression, but also in environmental friendliness of the product.
We were really pleased with the opportunities provided by this project. This project has shown very clearly the importance of collaboration in the creative process. Working with a partner has been extraordinarily successful in developing our sustainable product idea. The result was achieved through highly creative collaboration and discovering new opportunities. The mentor’s insights and very practical advice were very valuable to us. And the Worth project lectures and trainings provided unbelievably valuable and necessary knowledge. While it is a bit unfortunate that there are many plans now, we need to change because of the situation in the world. But on the other hand, we also look at this situation as new opportunities and continuity of cooperation.
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BALTA BALTA is company from a creative group of six young and experienced artists in Lithuanian textile design. The group offers handmade fashion and home textile products, and also teaches dyeing with vegetable dyes. All their products are based on environmentally friendly materials and principles. In 2016, the group opened a small boutique in the old town of Vilnius where they sell their products.
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DAVIS LICITIS founder and key artist of PAPER JAM, a company that creates design events. Davis graduated at the Art Academy of Latvia, Faculty of Design in 2003. Since then he has participated in various art projects, worked on film sets, events design etc. until he founded his own company in 2011.
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