A love animal love story
Love animal love fashion, that’s what my brand is all about. If you’re interested you can get to know a bit more about me and my brand IRIS MAREE by reading this small story. Why do I design bags, and why do I choose to make bags in vegan leather? A good question because the answer is really not that simple. Yet interesting, if you care about the life on this beautiful planet we live on.
I believe that all we do or stand for in life goes back to the years of our childhood, where we lay a foundation based on impressions. The era that made a huge impression on me, was the eighties, when I was still a teenager. Not only fashion was amazing, beautiful, colorful, fun, weird and most of all inspiring. The music was fabulous as well. We could not wait to get home to watch MTV and see a new release of a song from Michael Jackson or any other music icon.
Fashion and music was very important to me during my teenage years. But I’ll never forget the impact of another aspect that influenced my live a great deal as well during those years: the awareness of animal harm. Those days we were overloaded by news and documentaries about this subject. On the news we saw seals being beaten to death because of their skins. Massive groups of people stood up to protest in many ways. Fur coats were all flocking back into closets because they were painted on by animal activists with spray cans. I became a little activist myself and ran into shops that sold fur and shouted they were murderers…shopping became less relaxing for my mother and sister from that time on as you can imagine. To my recollection these were the most powerful and rebellious years in the fight against animal cruelty in general.
Years later I started my first business in merchandise products for magazines, cosmetic and fashion brands. I made products in huge quantities for big brands, also in close contact with well known designers. We created and produced garments, accessories and bags, many bags. During this process I noticed women (wherever they’re from) and bags always go well! For this company I traveled the world to buy materials, get inspiration and meet the producing parties. These years of traveling around in the producing countries my eyes were opened and my heart bled more every time. Pollution, waste and animal harm was, and is, everywhere. While in Europe not only my customers, but the whole economy is about cheap prices no matter what the results are for the world we live in. In this perspective I could not continue my current business where only money was important. I changed my company policy to environmental friendly materials only, and we don’t produce leather or any other materials for which animals are harmed.
But I wanted more, I want to prove that also high end fashion can do without animal skin. The dream I had for long time, to make bags under my own label, became reality. I decided to start my own bag label with the main company rule: we do not harm animals for fashion purpose. Then I was faced with a next challenge: my bags must be made of animal friendly materials without ever compromising on style or quality. People must love my bags for its design, colour, workmanship and any other reason we women love bags. I needed to find and create materials that can fulfill all these needs. Lot of investigation, traveling and try outs were made to get where I am now. I am proud to have my own bag brand in which I can put all of my energy, creativity and love for fashion. IRIS MAREE bags are colorful, fun, pop and made without animal harm. And as I mentioned before: we are what we came from. Thanks beautiful eighties for inspiring me to be who I am today.