In today’s interview, I’m talking to Raquel Alonso, Founder and Fashion Designer at MOIMOI. Raquel and her business partner Kalle create dreamy leather bags with a classic style and fair production methods. Operating out of their workshop in Helsinki, and working with Spanish artisans, they create a uniform collection of black and brown bags designed to last. Think Cambridge Satchel Company, but made in the EU and exclusively from vegetable-tanned leather.
I met the MOIMOI team back in June, at a Finnish fair fashion and design fair, and have been mmm-ing and ahh-ing over their pieces ever since. Leather is a topic I’ve been afraid to approach for a while now, and I’m still in two minds as to how ethical it can be. As someone who doesn’t eat meat, the only leather I’ve bought in the last few years is second-hand. This poses two problems: a lesser quality, and a shorter lifespan. So perhaps Raquel can show us a different side to this conundrum?
I hope you enjoy reading through our interview, and make your own decision with leather.
1. What inspired you to start making bags and accessories in a more conscious way?
Resources are not limitless. We want to participate in creating something that doesn’t need to be replaced; something that lasts. Leather is one of the most durable natural materials. The philosophy of buying less and investing in better quality is in the heart of MOIMOI bags.
2. Your bags are so clean, and so classic. What attracts you to these timeless designs?
We apply the same philosophy in the design of the products: we design timeless pieces that can be used for years. The combination of the chosen materials and the design enable the long life cycle of the bags, which can be used for years.
3. Leather is often controversial in ethical fashion. What makes your leather ethical, and why do you choose to use it instead of other materials?
As long as there are no alternative materials with the same qualities that leather has as a material, we will use leather. As I mentioned before, leather is a durable natural product, and when treated right and taken care of it lasts for years, which makes the product’s life cycle long. The leather we use is vegetable-tanned, which means that the tanning process is less harmful for the environment and for people than the conventional chrome tanning process.
4. Is sustainable fashion popular in Finland?
Yes, it has become more popular and important for the consumers, which is great. In the last couple of years, we have noticed that people are making more conscious choices and realise the impact they have as consumers on the industry. For example, transparency is an important factor for many.
5. Finally, do you have anything exciting coming up in the near future?
We are opening our own showroom in Helsinki centre and we are very excited about that!