First off, would you mind introducing yourselves and how you came about starting Arkive Ateliér?
Hi! We are Maria and Jenna. We have both worked within garment field for several years – Maria mostly with design and Jenna with sales and marketing so we had a wide understanding of the clothing industry – and also it´s problems when it comes to environmental and ethical issues. We saw how many companies were doing great job by for example paying attention to sustainable materials, durability and timelessness of their selection and how the whole industry was (baby steps) moving to more sustainable direction all the time. Still very few were talking about how people could by themselves make their clothes last better.
With our knowledge and experience about different materials we knew that even many of the quality materials and garments need some care every now and then to last and remain beautiful – wool materials pill and leather needs nourishment and protection for example. By exploring different care possibilities we quickly saw how much information, possibilities and equipments there was out there and though that someone should gather all this information and share it so that everyone would have the possibility to make their clothes, shoes, bags and accessories last. This is how decided to create an online information archive and web shop for all this information and equipments. The archive and our selection in our webshop is still growing and progressing all the time as the material variety is really wide and we also learn new things and tricks all most every day!
Taking good care of your already existing possessions is also sustainable, since it defeats the need to replace things as often. Approximately how much do you think proper care can lengthen the lifespan of, for example, a pair of leather shoes or a sweater?
This is really complex question as the lifespan is also affected by for example how often and in what kind of circumstances we are using our clothes and also by the quality of the garment. But if we say in “normal” and “regular” (not every day) use a pair of good quality leather shoes or woolen sweater can last up till 5–10 years with proper care.
Do you think even the more affordable high street clothing can be made to last with proper care?
Yes absolutely. The price and the label isn´t always the sign for good or bad quality or that if the garment is cheap you couldn´t take care of it. If the material is the kind you can take care of (usually natural materials) and the garment is well fitting and well sewn you have all the possibilities to make it last.
You’ve got lots of great advice and tips for garment care on your website! Have they been passed on to you by, for example, your family or did you learn and research everything at the time of starting Arkivé Atelier?
Thanks! We have gathered most of the information during Arkivé but of course our experience about different materials has helped with the research and also helped to be creative and bold to test various ways of using different care products and this way create also own trick and tips – and also how different materials behave with different products.
What is the most common question or dilemma people have when it comes to garment care?
People are usually somewhat cautious when it comes to leather so we get lots of questions about how to take care of different leather products: for example how to get rid of stains and scuffs or how to protect new leather bag or shoes.
How about the most uncommon or strange garment care tip you know?
M: I have heard that if you wrap your clothes with silk paper when you store them it will scare away different textile pests as they are afraid of the rustling noise of the paper.
What’s your own most used product from Arkive Ateliér?
This is easy! We both couldn't live without shoe or clothes brushes anymore. You can use shoe brush to clean shoes after use and also to renew the shine of the leather. We both are also nearly addicted to brush our clothes with clothes brush. Clothes brush takes away all the dust, hair and loose dirt – a life saver for a dog owner!
What do you think is the hardest material to care for?
For example a wool-like material that consists mainly of synthetic fibers. You can make these kinds of materials look good by removing pills and brushing them with clothes brush but they can be really hard to maintain beautiful as materials with mostly synthetic fibers tends to pill easily. Pills are also harder to remove from synthetic materials than from natural materials. Also leather with thick finishes and bright colours can be hard to fix of at home because thick finishes and bright colours many time need some professional products and paints to cover scuffs and wear marks for example.
You also offer a service where people can send their garments to you for repair or care needs. Is this an option for the more challenging pieces in our wardrobes, like evening wear or gowns and such, or can any pieces be sent to you?
People can absolutely send us any piece. We actually mainly get important everyday pieces that people want to renew as they dont want to discard them but to make them last as long as possible. It feels very special to be able to give new lives to these pieces – we still can be surprised sometimes how significant transformations you can do with proper equipments and knowledge. It is always as exciting to return the repaired piece of clothing, shoes or bag to the owner and imagine their reaction. Many of our clients come back to us and thank us with an email – it feels really significant to us.
For someone who’s a beginner or hasn’t regularly taken care of their garments before, what would you recommend as a good and easy starting product?
A soft clothing brush is a perfect all around and easy to use product which can be used on any garment. A clothing brush will do the same job as a lint roller but it also makes the material sleek and does not leave glue residue like lint roller that could harm the material and attract more dust, hair and dirt.
Lastly, what’s next for Arkive Ateliér?
Oh we have so many plans that it’s hard to name one! Over the past year we’ve been working with a clothing care book and it will be published in October. The book includes care advice for different clothes and leather shoes, bags and accessories.