By Daniela Tijerina & Rachel Kibbe
"We’d like to show that the Ukraine is not some kind of post-soviet wasteland, known only because of the Chernobyl catastrophe."
What comes to your mind when thinking about the ethical fashion industry is probably locally based companies in the United States, for instance in Brooklyn and LA. But what about the Ukraine? Though not at the forefront of the industry, the country is finding its place in the ethical fashion world too, with the help of a company named Valorisation Lab. Founded just last year in Kiev, Ukraine, the up and comer was built with a mission to produce one of a kind head wear from reclaimed materials. In pursuing the art of upcycling, Valorisation Lab is giving new life (and style) to old ideas and fabrics.
What is Valorisation Lab?
Valorisation Lab from Ukraine is represented by friends with a strong will to create and especially to recreate, in other words to give the "second birth" to things.
How did it all start?
We wanted to prove that upcycled doesn't always looks trashy. Once blogger Robert Verdi broke the Internet with his slip-on Vans made of vintage Hermes scarves. Then, we started to think about using vintage scarves to create an affordable yet quality and beautiful product - that is how the first Valorisation Lab’s camp hat appeared.
What are your inspirations?
The brand’s name itself comes from the French word “valorisation” and it means increasing value of the product by its modification or transformation thus generating something new – so our inspiration comes from various things, enjoying both upcycling and repurposing which helped us to soon understand that upcycling brands rarely produce both one-of-a-kind and quality products.
We've never worked with anyone from the Ukraine – are you based there?
We aren’t surprised that you've never worked with brands from Ukraine, since sustainable fashion and fashion industry in general is poorly represented here - but we are based in Kiev, which is capital of Ukraine, where our small production atelier is and where we make our ideas come true.
How has the Ukraine influenced your brand?
Another source of inspiration for our brand is our love for our Motherland, especially these days. We’d like to show that Ukraine is not some kind of post-soviet wasteland, known only because of the Chernobyl catastrophe. We aim to promote our country's image by creating cool colorful products with mentioning “Ukraine” on the label and spreading our word around the world, even though it may sound strange.