Lithuanian contemporary womenswear brand, Dear Freedom, aims to create luxurious, versatile pieces for the high-flying fashion lover. Demanding quality and appreciating originality. Made in Lithuania from the highest quality of materials, each garment is created with comfort in mind. The brand offers full freedom of movement as well as figure-flattering design.
We sat down with Rasa Barkauskiene and Kristina Bausiene, the duo behind the label, to talk about their business model, their hopes for the brand and their passion for sustainable fashion.
HOW WAS DEAR FREEDOM BORN?
The idea of Dear Freedom was created with the desire to do something that would feel great for the heart and the soul. Kristina was exploring her interests in art and fashion illustration while Rasa was searching for something new and challenging, with a focus on fashion. One evening we met for a girls’ dinner and started talking about our desires for the future. One of our friends had expressed her admiration for a a fashion illustration that was handcrafted by Kristina as a gift. At that moment the idea was born to digitally transfer Kristina’s paintings onto clothes. After that, a long process of brainstorming, mind-mapping, strategic thinking and painting began. Then, finally, Dear Freedom appeared, visible for everyone.
WHERE DOES THE NAME ‘DEAR FREEDOM’ COME FROM?
Our name was born from a small day-dream that we had together during a team building exercise after first starting the brand. We had to imagine a nice summer’s day, with the sun shining brightly and us at the beach. The beach is empty but it has two sun beds to lie down on, to feel the heat of the sun. We are wearing white t-shirts and there is something written on the back of these t-shirts. We had to imagine what was written there.
One of us imagined the word written was “Love” and the other one imagined that the word was “Freedom”. We both realized at the same time that the name of our brand would be “Dear Freedom,” as if addressing a letter to someone you love.
Behind our brand name there is a woman who is feminine and independent, who loves herself and others, who doesn’t admire norms and rules and who desires self expression. There is a silent promise to yourself to engage in what you love and to make the choices that will make you feel confident and free.
WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT ROLES WHICH CO-FOUNDERS KRISTINA AND RASA PLAY IN THE RUNNING OF THE BRAND?
Kristina is the creative hand and Rasa is the strategic head of Dear Freedom. Therefore, Kristina’s main role is developing and nourishing the creative part of the brand – creating designs as well as styling and doing photoshoots. Kristina is also responsible for production– construction, selecting and sourcing fabrics, and dealing with producers. Meanwhile, Rasa is responsible for developing the brand from a business perspective – creating marketing and social media strategies, searching for and contacting retailers, working with PR and Sales agencies, and looking after the financial part of the business.
However, we help and support each other in every matter which is important for the brand.
WHAT ARE YOUR BRAND’S CORE VALUES?
To develop creativity in order to impress. Uniqueness is essential. To aspire towards inner freedom. Enjoy your work. We are seeking to become an “it” brand, loved and admired by our customers.
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR BRAND’S AESTHETIC IN THREE WORDS?
Contemporary, clean and aspirational.
WHAT ARE YOUR MAIN INSPIRATIONS?
Inspirations come and go, they unite and transform until a certain creation is born. Everything and anything inspires us: it could be urban lifestyle, people, architecture, art, nature, or the objects which surround us. Sometimes our inspirations come from fabrics, with different materials and structures. Mixing and matching these inspires the shape and design of the garment.
WHAT DESIGNERS OR BRANDS DO YOU LOOK UP TO?
Alexander Wang for exceptional personality; Jil Sander for amazing minimalist aesthetics and Gucci for eclectic and, at the same time, fabulous fashion.
WHAT DO YOU SEE AS THE MAIN OBSTACLES EFFECTING EMERGING DESIGNERS?
Lack of experience in the industry, lack of support from business-minded people and not having a clear vision about the brand.
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE THE TYPE OF WOMAN WHO YOU IMAGINE WEARING YOUR CLOTHES?
She is an active woman. Working, traveling, taking care of her family, being social with her friends and who is, all the while, keen on culture and the arts. She loves her life. She’s is confident with her style and is looking for inspiring clothing, enriched by truly original details. Our women value quality over quantity. They believe and support sustainable fashion and a healthy and ecological lifestyle.
She is a woman that takes care of her inner mindset, who has a free soul even if she is restricted by time. Sometimes she chooses to break the rules and make unique choices in order to feel free and achieve her own happiness.
DOES YOUR LITHUANIAN BACKGROUND FEED INTO YOUR DESIGNS?
Our designs are clean and architectural, incorporating Lithuanian influences and Scandinavian aesthetics.
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE THE FASHION SCENE IN LITHUANIA?
Currently the Lithuanian fashion scene is very active and alive. We have several high-end, haute couture fashion designers that are known outside Lithuania, alongside a number of emerging independent fashion labels. They are reaching the global market with highly creative pieces, marketable designs and unbeatable quality. These emerging independent designers shape the mindset of the local people, offering them unique and original garments with a “Made in Lithuania” label.
Local designs are highly admired by Lithuanians. As a result, we have quite a number of Lithuanian designer boutiques that are successfully competing with fast fashion.
GIVEN THAT YOU MAKE SUCH QUALITY-DRIVEN, TIMELESS PIECES, WHAT DO YOU THINK OF FAST FASHION?
We would rather tell you why we love slow fashion. Slow fashion is about thinking more and consuming less, caring more and wasting less. Quality is the “new black” for sustainable fashion, and slow fashion is about people, creativity, fairness and trust. This creates good vibes and energy in society.