Trash bag, Lovia, courtesy of Lovia
Some background… FISHSKIN (UK, Israel, Italy, Iceland, Japan 2019-2023) aims to increase the marketability of fish leather to an industrial scale. How? By integrating knowledge from different disciplines, such as fashion design, material science and marine biology. This circular economy focus crosses over with the work of Lovia (Finland), a creative startup enterprise founded 2014. Lovia uses excess materials from the fish industry, and others, to create fashion accessories such as bags and jewellery. Their shared aims led them to work together with fish leather manufacturers Atlantic Leather in Iceland.
Innovation and inspirational know-how…
Ways were found to successfully link the preservation of traditional knowledge about marine biology with culture. An example of FISHSKIN’s innovative collaboration helps the production of more fish leather products, including fashion items, produced with keen regard to the sustainable limits of the planet’s natural resources. In this way, a new collective knowledge is formed and academic and industrial experts can develop new techniques and methodologies.
Lovia’s business model relies only on upcycling existing materials and its image is built around full transparency of the origin and the entire value-chain of the production.
A very advanced digital story-telling focus, wide focus online marketing and extensive care for each sold item saw Lovia’s sales triple over the last two years.
Each item has a unique ‘DNA’ code that allows the purchased item to tell its story and the client to be associated with the community.
How best to disrupt the dominant fashion industry value chain, which has little control over its negative environmental impact.
Finding ways to access traditional knowledge of fish, marine biology and fashion and bring together those who work in these areas to build an innovative and productive collaboration.
How best to work with the industry partners. Lovia also works with other industries such as food and furniture sectors to make their products.
Accessing funding and support for cross-sectoral partnerships.
Image: Fishskin lab collection, WORTH project, courtesy of Elisa Palomino
Meeting the challenges…
Bringing to the fore the values of sustainability and openness in all collaborations and work processes.
FISHKIN offered secondments and network training events. They also built on the successful experience of a previous Worth Partnership, funded by the European Commission and EASME, under COSME (2014-2020).
Bringing on board fashion designer Elisa Palomino who joined with Atlantic Leather and Campomaggi & Caterina Lucchi Spa to develop a fish skin leather accessories collection.
Lovia’s founder and designer, Outi, created the company in order to disrupt the dominant fashion industry value chain.
Establishing lasting, trust-based relationships uniting customers, partners and sectors in one community.
Lovia received funding from Finland’s tech and innovation fund.
FISHSKIN is funded by: the EU Horizon 2020 MSCA Research and Innovation Staff Exchange Programme.
An increase in use and sustainability of fish leather in the luxury fashion industry.
The transparency and educational value seen as market assets to be promoted.
Production processes that are as ecologically friendly as possible shown as advantageous not detrimental to a company’s progress and sales.
Successful cooperation across different companies and countries that share values of upcycling and sustainability.
Lovia created an ecosystem with core companies being a tannery in Iceland, a leather factory in Italy, elk leather producers and textile producers in Finland and Norway.
Industry taboos were broken by opening up the pricing of each item.
A positive example is provided, demonstrating that even in the post-pandemic context economic growth is possible if the focus is on establishing lasting, trust-based relationships.
COO at Lovia