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Fashion Talk

Simona Rimkiene

Co-Founder
Label - Not Perfect Linen

The beauty of linen is that it is not perfect

Inspired by simplicity and imperfection of linen, the family-run brand ‘Not Perfect Linen’ is everything about ensuring quality, promoting transparency, enforcing sustainable practices, and doing everything as ethically as possible. In an interview with Fibre2Fashion, Co-founder Simona Rimkiene talks about the linen business.

Fibre2Fashion: What attracted you towards the fashion industry and motivated you to start your own brand?

Simona Rimkiene:

My mother started working with textiles when I was a baby. She is an engineer by profession but had lost herself in sewing, creating, and designing. I have grown up among fabrics and patches, always feeling that wonderful smell of the brand-new fabric. It is the smell of my childhood!

Somehow, I decided for myself to have a serious profession. So, I finished law studies and worked as a consultant for nearly five years. But I didn’t find myself in that profession. After returning home I helped my mother with her work. And one day I didn’t go to work...

So it happened that the whole family started working together! Now we are a small family of creative people who created ‘not PERFECT LINEN’ home full of creative mood and inbuilt positive energy. Our small family-owned activity is based on creating simple linen (flax) pieces. For us creating homemade goods brings a sense of community and it is like a quite protest against the mass-produced goods. We do not make things just to make money. The items are not just for profit. We make goods that involve years of learned skills, passion, commitment and sincerity.

 

F2F: Since your entire family is involved in running the business, how do you maintain a balance between personal and professional life?

SR:

There is actually no balance between professional and personal life within our family. We talk about work during the holiday, family gatherings, or even on evening phone calls. Again, though, I see it as a strength, not a burden. How else would you get up at night to help a customer to track the order? It really helps our business grow as we can develop new ideas. As family members, we are not afraid to point out one’s weaknesses or directly ask for help if needed.

F2F: How would you define the aesthetics and vibe of your clothing?

SR:

We are mostly inspired by linen simplicity and its imperfection. The beauty of linen is that it is not perfect. If you keep trying to iron it, you will definitely miss the beauty of it. Linen needs to be used and it gets better with age. Linen pieces can be compared to old English leather shoes or old mechanical Swiss watches – all these things are not new or perfect but are definitely more valuable than any new.

It is sad to see how people have lost their connection with nature by ignoring that nature is the source of truth. For example, organic carrots don’t look picture-perfect because they didn’t receive artificial aid, and linen garments do wrinkle because it is the natural givenness of nature. Nature presents everything in a way everything actually is.

Wrinkle-free linen doesn’t exist as it is part of mother nature’s plan. The qualities that make linen appealing in warm weather are exactly the same qualities that make it wrinkled. So, why should one go against nature’s law?

Linen garments have a completely unique appearance and possess a beauty of their own. The beauty of linen was and always will be because it is not perfect. While designing our garments, we proudly prioritise the linen fabric itself.

The designs with the least elements constantly call attention to psychical properties. It doesn’t matter which item we sketch; only necessary features for functionality are included in the design. We always try to reduce clutter and allow our customers to focus only on two points at a time – comfort and the imperfection of linen.

F2F: Of all the various fabric materials, why only linen?

SR:

If you love linen, linen loves you back. Linen is a travel saver while being breathable and highly absorbent. In addition, it is recyclable and biodegradable. Though it might seem expensive at first sight, it saves you money as you need fewer clothes due to its strength and durability.

F2F: Where do you source your materials from?

SR:

We source the best European linen available. The material we use is OEKO- TEX Standard 100 certified, and it is produced entirely in Europe from the fields to the fabric. It also means that the linen fabric has been tested for harmful substances and guarantees that only the low-impact dyes were used, and that the dyed linen fabric meets human-ecological requirements.

F2F: There are so many sustainable and slow fashion-based brands in the market today. What makes your brand stand out?

SR:

While creating our brand we all unanimously decided to adopt a quality-oriented slow fashion approach and voice our sustainable decision. It was and is important that together with our customers we can make an outsized positive impact on the sustainability agenda and shape our world.

Our strength is in our people and the quality of work they provide. Our people are the most talented ones, and we value them more than ever. Even though technology takes the leading role in today’s corporate world, we consider the human element the most crucial resource of our company. We not only value them for their creativity, problem-solving prowess, and out-of-the-box thinking but also for just being humans. We cherish our close, respectful and supportive relationship with every team member, and we are always doing our best to ensure them fair pay and the best working conditions.

We have managed to create a quality-focused culture in which every team member ‘lives’ the quality in every step while doing their job, either customer service or production. We spend hours going above and beyond while creating complicated custom designs and pay as much time and attention to every seam while sewing the most basic items. So, passion about the quality is a personal value. We all unanimously believe in the ‘quality first’ message promoted from the first day of our company and has never become less important.

F2F: What significant changes in the fashion industry would you like to see practically, and also in terms of fashion education?

SR:

We all would love to see fashion industry become safer, fairer, cleaner and more transparent. Working in line with demand and letting our conscious customers lead our entire manufacturing process is what we are proud of and see tremendous value in. Fast fashion brands must make 4-5 similar ready-to-wear garments to guess the customer’s needs; we, as a company, don’t need to question it at all. Each of our customers knows best what they need, and their conscious decisions on your capsule wardrobe (exact items, particular colours, preferred adjustments etc) are what really make the most positive environmental impact, as none of the garment is sent to landfills.

F2F: Sustainable clothing comes with a price. What is your comment?

SR:

Several factors come into play when we talk about sustainability and its value. First, when we give our money to the sustainable brand, we pay for a smaller footprint left behind on the ecosystem and pay a fair and equitable wage to the maker who made our garment. Second, trusting your funds to a sustainable brand usually means investing in quality raw materials and crafting.

F2F: Please suggest some styling tips to slay in a linen outfit.

SR:

As probably being the most colourful linen brand, we definitely have a tip! If there is a day when you will not be sure what to wear – wear colour! I have noticed for a long time that colour was severely lacking in many wardrobes even though it can do amazing things with the overall appearance.

Colours are a lot more powerful than we think they are. They all represent different things and send different messages to our subconscious and our environment. Whether we like it or not, the colour of our cloth communicates volumes about us as a person.

Even if you do not have tendency to do things to get as much attention as possible, your bold colour will make a statement on its own. Your yellow dress will make you stand out in any crowd, and you will definitely be an attention-grabber even if you are not up to dress to impress.

F2F: What are the forthcoming plans with the label? Are you planning to expand?

SR:

The day Yvon Chouinard gave Patagonia back to Earth I made a post on Instagram that we want to be like Patagonia when we grow up. Why not to dream?

We understand that we lose customers because of the long production term. Still, we also understand that sustainability requires us to consider a long-term impact against short-term profit-making. We plan to continue working in line with demand while ensuring that none of the garments is sent to landfills. These brand values and deep-rooted principles will continue to guide all our brand’s future actions.

What are the forthcoming plans with the label? Are you planning to expand?

Interviewer: Kiran Sahija
Published on: 23/11/2022
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