Wear-Abouts Baltic Sea
Hi, my name is Laetitia Barbu, I am a designer and expert in sustainable development.
Wear-Abouts project is born about the same time as my daughter. Pregnancy and child-raising has deeply changed me and helped to reveal more personal projects.
My grand-mother had very diverse 60’s vintage fabrics with very colorful graphic patterns. As well I had the chance, as a kid, to have access to very nice illustrated book for children that influenced me a lot.
Though born and raised in Paris, I have spent a lot of free time in nature staying hours outdoors. It has allowed me to develop a very strong connection with nature at a very early age and cultivate this connection further on.
My generation obviously discovered the digital age. I used the first family computer when I was about 12 years old. I chose to study arts and graphic design, in a school specializing in digital technologies. I had as well a strong interest for environments and decided to study territory development and sustainable tourism. This combination of digital and natural generated in me the need to get rid of standard interfaces and bring digital outdoor in an active manner, but also to show that digital and outdoor/nature life are not antithetic, that digital is not necessary a confinement. This added to my wish to create quality experiences for my daughter that I could not find on the market.
On my journey I met Ruxandra, a printmaker and digital humanities researcher originally from Romania but living in Sicily, whose love for prints and her ‘researcher mind’ determined her to embark on this adventure. Together we thought deeply how illustrations could step out of the printed medium into other materials such as clothes and accessories, in order to ‘speak’ to their users more meaningfully and educating them in a fun and alternative way.
Wear-Abouts x Baltic Sea project is the result of the choice to create first prototypes and products addressing the European Macro region around the Baltic Sea, Northern and Southern shores, and display common aspects of cultures as well as differences of Nordic and Baltic countries, around the same sea.
We invited Taina, a Design manager at Modus in Tampere, Finland, to join the WORTH team and she brought her expertise to help us address better the fashion and retail sector in these countries, to conduct research on innovative and sustainable fabrics available as well as finding further opportunities in Finland.
My knowledge about Nordic and Baltic countries through travels there, the connection to nature, the important place of design in these countries and their alternative views on education have definitely contributed to this choice.
This helped us develop our first collection on the theme of Wildfoods. The so called Nordic diet is not only healthy but brings numerous innovations to the market, while promoting a deep bond with nature. Through it we wanted to help children and adults around them reconsider the content of their plates, the origin and virtues of the products consumed and the usefulness of the direct link between the consumer and the source of the products, such as picking, cultivation or local supply. With us the local illustrators drew the story behind themes addressed, finding inspiration in the middle of nature.
WORTH Partnership Project has allowed us to gather and bring our background and experience at the service of the project. It has also allowed us to take the concept to a next level through meetings and brainstorming, discussions with augmented reality systems developers, illustrators and cycles of tests helping to improve the different prototypes created. It gave us the freedom to take time to investigate further on to find the best combinations for our final prototypes versions.
Wear-Abouts is the typical example of collaborative work as it creates cross sector products, involving the fields of sustainable fashion, illustration, pattern design, technology, education and sustainable tourism. It is through this highly collaborative project that innovation is fostered and helps to reach new ways of considering and experiencing fashion, education and tourism but also to address the life cycle of products and a shift in consumption models.
We are already preparing the second collection for children between 0-7 years old.