Born in Vienna and based in London, Mother and daughter duo Michi and Lea Wieser hatched the idea to create a label that not only looks great, but also aims to build the relationship between garment and wearer. Yes, you heard right. It’s a simple (but not spoken about enough) idea. Garments only really last forever when you’re actually fond of them, when they become an old friend and when they’re so timeless you could have bought it last week or last decade. Knowing their background story helps and feeling inspired every time you wear said garment is definitely a big tick in our wardrobes.
With a strong focus on an ethical supply chain and the preservation of artisanal skills, the pair want to make us think about our conscious consumption behaviour (while looking pretty darn good doing so).
We adored their crochet bikinis, Gretl Rompers and gorgeous terracotta linen blouses at first sight, and wanted to find out more from their talented founders. Read on for our Q&A with Lea Wieser…
TELL US ABOUT ARKITAIP. HOW DID IT ALL COME ABOUT?
I founded arkitaip together with my mother in 2018. With arkitaip, we’re combining my mum’s unique handcrafting skills – she hand-crochets our bikinis – with my urge to bring something to life with an impact: all our garments are made of European linen which is probably the most sustainable material around (and it’s so soft!)
At the core of our work is a strong focus on an ethically- and ecologically responsible supply chain and the preservation of artisanal skills. Our aim is to create garments which are timeless and made to last in order to foster the relationship between garment and wearer, ultimately opening up the dialogue about a more conscious consumption behaviour. As a business, we are committed to find tangible solutions to the environmental crisis.
WHAT IS THE STORY BEHIND THE BRAND’S NAME?
arkitaip is the phonetic spelling of the word “archetype” and reflects what we stand for: while an archetype is something that is considered to be a good example of something from which other things are copied from, we aim to inspire those wearing arkitaip to live, breathe and love a conscious life, motivating others to follow their journey.
(And psst, don’t worry about any funky pronunciations: it’s pronounced archetype, as simple as that)
HOW DO YOU TAKE YOUR COFFEE?
With oat milk. No sugar. Yes, I’m one of those ones!
WHAT DOES A TYPICAL DAY LOOK LIKE FOR YOU?
I’m so glad to be able to say that I don’t really have a “typical day” – I love the excitement of not knowing how my week will look like. At the moment, I’m still working on two other projects (I work as a journalist and translator) so my days really differ from one another. But usually I start my day with a run or yoga followed by a relaxed breakfast at home with my boyfriend. Currently, I spend three days a week on arkitaip (plus the occasional weekend – oups) where I’m managing all sorts of thing – from designing our next collection, planning campaign shoots, sourcing our linens and managing production, to meeting with press and potential collaborators. I’m also involved in looking at our accounts to figure out which steps should be the next ones for arkitaip – and of course I have support from my mum as well as our small but growing team. So, it never gets boring! And I love rounding a day off with a nice home-cooked dinner with our friends (we’re currently running an unspoken competition of who’s making the best pesto in our neighbourhood … we’ll keep you posted about who’s the winner hehe).
WHAT IS YOUR CREATIVE PROCESS & MAIN SOURCE OF INSPO?
arkitaip was born out of the idea to provide women with a wardrobe which is cultivated on the principles of laissez-faire elegance, respect for our planet, and functionality. Before we start designing a new piece, we always ask ourselves whether we would wear it 10 years down the line … and we both have to like it which allows us to create garments for women across all age groups. For us, a piece of clothing must always unite femininity, durability, and practicality – in other words, a woman must feel alluring, yet comfortable when wearing arkitaip.
Before we create anything, we look for inspiration (and trust us, we’re always on the hunt). Sometimes it’s an old picture we stumble upon in a magazine, other times a cool movie, a current girl crush, or a piece we find in our family’s wardrobe which sparks an idea (I grew up surrounded by inspiring and very fashionable women – believe it or not, the biggest fashionista in our family is my grandma Gertrude!)
TELL US ABOUT WORKING ALONGSIDE YOUR MOTHER… HOW DO YOUR ROLES DIFFER?
Before starting our business, we decided that I would take care of the day-to-day of the business and that she’d be more involved in the creative process. To me, she’s not only a maker and big part of the creative side of things, but also a mentor who I look up to and who I ask for advice. And I truly love running a business with her – of course it can sometimes be a tricky one as our opinions on certain things may differ, but working together has brought us much closer. It has also taught us to communicate on a less emotional level … so instead of jumping into a typical mother-daughter-argument, we’re now much more reflective and rational when trying to solve a problem.
FAVOURITE ARKITAIP PIECE?
My favourite arkitaip piece is our Michi Wrap Dress (named after my mum!) – I love its versatility. During the colder days, I love to wear it as a morning robe or as a kimono with a pair of jeans and a white tee. And it’s the perfect partner in crime for a summer getaway as it goes with everything: you can either wear it on the beach over a bikini or to the restaurant paired with a cute pair of sandals.
WHAT’S NEXT FOR YOU – BUSINESS OR PERSONAL – HEADING INTO SUMMER?
There’s so much cool stuff coming up which I’m extremely excited about and can’t all reveal for now … but heading into summer, we’ve got our pop-ups lined up: from Vienna, London and Geneva, to Zurich and Côte d’Azur. Moving forward, we can’t wait to soon introduce you to our very first issue of our arkitaip e-zine on which we’ve collaborated with London College of Fashion and are featuring a bunch of amazing pioneers, who all share the same mission: to push towards a more (eco-)conscious future.
GO TO: arkitaip.com
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Inspiration/Image Credits: arkitaip.com