Everything is an “influence” to a designer; you can’t tell what’s a direct influence. In Berlin, it’s nice because everybody from the whole world comes here because Berlin is so cool at the moment.

People are becoming responsible, people care about the planet, people care about the well-being of things.

I try to incorporate ecological thinking into everything I do.

Ethletic (Sneakers) – Germany

FitWild: Can you tell me about why you’ve created these sneakers? What inspired you, where did this start?

It’s a very personal thing. For me, it was very simple. When i was younger, I was very involved in playing sports. And as a sportsman, you want to play fair. Fair play is a big thing. and i thought that it was ridiculous that you’re not able to wear fair clothing, and to play with equipment that’s been produced in a fair way. And I said, okay, this has to be changed. That was the idea from my side.

FitWild: So you’re based in Germany?

Yeah, we’re based in Lübeck. That’s our back office, but our creative office is here in Berlin. Berlin is where we make and prep the designs.

FitWild: Do you feel influenced by Berlin’s style when designing your sneakers?

Everything is an “influence” to a designer; you can’t tell what’s a direct influence. In Berlin, it’s nice because everybody from the whole world comes here because Berlin is so cool at the moment. So we’re influenced by that. But traveling to our suppliers is also influencing. You meet people in Pakistan, you meet with creative people in Pakistan, and this is also influencing. If you travel a lot, influence is everywhere.

FitWild: If you like sports, you probably also like the outdoors—it’s great to see you connecting the two.

That’s why our sneakers are made out of all these natural fabrics…this makes us a little bit proud.

WAT Active Wear – Portugal

FitWild: So you feel that there’s a connection between fitness and fashion. Can you tell me a little bit about this?

Yeah. We do feel that people are becoming more and more responsible regarding sustainability. A lot of brands that were already working with us in fitness, they’re opting to go in a sustainable direction—like using recycled polyester and organic cotton—and so we decided really to move in that direction because we do believe it’s the future. People are becoming responsible, people care about the planet, people care about the well-being of things.

FitWild: What’s your goal in terms of fashion and fitness?

We do want fitness wear to be fashionable, and we do believe that we can merge the two things together. I mean, you go to the gym, but you can wear leggings that are fashionable. Leggings can be printed, comfortable, sustainable—so why wouldn’t you wear it on the street as well? You can just put on a jacket, a t-shirt, and move forward. We don’t believe much in the idea that you have to be, like, very well styled, like with a skirt or something. We do believe that comfortable is also the future. This is also why we’re going in the direction that we are.

FitWild: People are making movement and exercise a more natural part of their day. Is this a part of your inspiration?

We do feel the same way. If you choose this option, to move regularly, you’ll be more within yourself. You’ll feel better. If you go in this direction, it transforms your lifestyle.

Kiks Rainwear – Finnland

FitWild: Can you walk me through your design process?

Well, the basic theme that goes through all of my designs is to combine—of course, to be ecologically friendly—but to combine not just up cycling but also slow fashion, not producing seasons, producing products only made to order (so that we have no stock.) So we try to avoid waste in all ways possible. But also design-wise, I try to design products that you can wear in the urban nature—meaning in the urban environment, but also in the forest…like you can wear the same jacket when you go clubbing or when you go berry picking. And it also has to do with my own lifestyle, which is kind of close to nature. I mean, I live in a small town, but I bike everywhere. I don’t have a car or a license, so I’m connected with nature even on an everyday basis.

FitWild: You’re from Finland?

I’m from northern Finland by the Bosnian Bay. And for example our product photos, they were taken on this island which is really close to where my family, my relatives are from. And it’s like a really important place for inspiration and relaxation for me. It also kind of fits with my clothing designs – like the last time, for example, when we were taking photos in the autumn, it was really cold – I actually made the dinner for us from the mushrooms that we picked in the same forest where we were shooting, so it’s very down to earth.

FitWild: And you took the photos yourself?

Yeah, I took these photos! I have [used] photographers, but yeah, I wanted to try it because when I first started, I was doing, like, everything. Even modeling for the clothes, taking the photos, almost everything. So during the last few seasons, I kind of went back to that. I took the photos myself. And it feels really good! I’m getting the vision that I want.

FitWild: Do you feel that there’s a spiritual connection for you between what you produce, the outdoors, and the way that you produce it?

Yeah, of course. I try to incorporate ecological thinking into everything I do. And yeah, the materials [are] up-cycled but they’re also weather-proof materials. They’re suitable for any occasion, almost any weather, and they’re made to last. So yeah, of course, the nature is there all the time. That’s why I do things the way that I do. That’s the bottom reason.

FitWild: Many people here do have a personal connection to nature. Do you connect to the environment through your designs?

I try to go to the forest whenever I can…and also in Finland we have like, I forgot what it’s called…but you can go, if it’s not privately owned land, you can just go and pick whatever’s in there. I like to [pick] wild herbs, mushrooms, berries…every season there’s something that nature can offer, something special. And you don’t really need money to go there, you don’t really need special equipment….except the right gear, like a jacket which shields you.

FitWild: Do you feel like movement is also a part of your life/day?

Yeah it’s very important. I also go to the gym, but I think that the most important form of movement is just when you’re changing place. You can just combine so many things when you’re biking or walking instead of taking a car or bus.

FitWild: …and your products are also very good for that, the “changing place, everyday” type of use.

Yeah. I also even try to incorporate that thinking into the product photos; it’s like, people moving and people actually doing something in the clothes, not just standing like mannequins. I also do DJing…so I have combined these two aspects of my life. And, for example, fashion shows, I’ve [created] some shows where there are dances presenting the clothes instead of basic catwalk walking. So yeah, I think that’s when you actually see how the garment works, when it’s in movement.

FitWild: How did you come up with that idea?

It kind of came naturally. I’m a club promoter and a DJ, so I can just combine all these aspects of my life. And I also…it’s not only doing sustainable business, but just living a sustainable lifestyle. So it’s not really a separate…Kiks, this brand, is not just some separate box in my life. It’s just also who I am.

FitWild would love to hear your comments on this Ethical Fashion Week-Berlin post! Comments, Thoughts, Ideas, Experiences in Sustainability?

Link to the official The Ethical Fashion Week – Berlin site: HERE

To Read More FitWild Adventures By Kirsten Kortebein – http://fitwild.com/author/kirsten-kortebein

Kirsten’s next FitWild Adventure will be from Marrakech, Morocco, @ the Contemporary African Art.