We are a brand which is rooted in heritage, being from small communities in South-Western England and Central Bulgaria, we have always found incredible beauty and value within these cultural centres we call home. Growing up surrounded by women practicing traditional crafts, we were inherently drawn to utilise and admire these techniques in our own work. Quickly after we started our brand, Chopova Lowena, after graduation from the MA at Central Saint Martins, we were faced with the realities of the manufacturing of clothing and the extremely damaging impact this has on people and the environment. Our goal was to approach production differently, with the aim of placing the human-touch, a sense of love and care and a true artisanal quality back into luxury clothing.
Being from a small village in Eastern Europe, I am familiar with the skill sets of the generation of women 50+, who were raised with a strong tradition of weaving, sewing, knitting and embroidery. Tapping into such a community with skills which are in such high demand but massively undervalued, sparked the idea of working directly with these women on a series of projects involving traditional skills. Not only would we be able to produce truly authentic garments but also revitalise a set of dying skills and traditions to live on while helping our communities in the process.
We started this project with knitting, a skill familiar and widely practiced within the small village in the mountains of Bulgaria which I am from. Quickly we found Velichka, Penka and Irena, a wonderful trio of retried women whom had spent their lives knitting, weaving and embroidering mostly out of necessity, taught by their mothers and grandmothers. We began to see their meticulous eye for technical perfection and their prowess as knitters, working with love and eagerness.
Our goal with this project is to employ women like Velichka, Penka and Irena to give them an opportunity to practice their skills, a steady source of income and a platform to share their knowledge. Luxury is a very subjective word in fashion, but we have always been aware of how we value clothing and what luxury means to us. We believe that time, care and skill are the elements which unite to bring a product into the market which is truly luxurious. We hope that purchasing and wearing one of these jumpers evokes within you the love it was made with, designed with, and the hugely positive impact in has had on somebody’s life.