Beyond the duality of function and aesthetic, good design is increasingly characterized by its social responsibility. Be it through ethical production or sustainable means, a product’s form is only as good as its make. One such brand that champions this ideal is Ikku®.
Launched in January 2012 by Daniel Archutowski, Frank Bleker and Janneke Grootings, Ikku is an Amsterdam-based brand on a mission. The label’s “future-friendly” products are crafted from recycled and organic materials, consciously designed to have a minimum impact on the environment. True to its Japanese name (meaning ‘coming and going’), Ikku pays great attention to where its materials come from and, more importantly, where the world is going. ✌
One of the brand’s founders, Janneke Grootings, who was also present at the Indie Brands Denim Event, tells us more:
Ikku® was launched only recently in January 2012. As businesses are growing more cautious nowadays, given a myriad of economic uncertainties, what made you decide to take the risk and start an actual brand?
“Starting Ikku never felt like taking a risk to us. It rather felt like an opportunity to design what we were looking for but couldn’t find: an affordable, sustainable sleeve with clean design that would also protect. Of course we can’t help but notice the economic uncertainties, but this doesn’t stop us from focusing on the opportunities. Also, it strengthens us in our goal to be as independent as we can possibly be. To be able to build Ikku on our own, we do all have our day jobs next to Ikku. Daniel as a designer, Frank as a product-developer and Janneke works as a freelancer in brand communications. So our main investment, next to money, is time.”
What do you find most rewarding in starting your own business?
“The feeling of freedom. And all the things we’ve discovered while working on Ikku. Things we didn’t know about ourselves, about each other, about the way things work in production, fashion, retail. And especially all the wonderful people we met and all the great places we visited!”
Apart from being Future Friendly, Ikku® products are also very well designed. What do you consider to be “good design” and how important is it to your brand?
“To us, design is leading in every decision we make and it’s the start of everything. It’s quite simple: we make products we’d also like to buy ourselves. And if it doesn’t look good, we wouldn’t buy it. To us, products are well designed when function and form are in balance and harmony.”
What is next for Ikku®?
“We have some beautiful new products coming up, accessories for iPhone, iPad and MacBook. This time, we used recycled denim, recycled canvas and a stunning woven fabric from Birma to make them. We’ll keep on looking for future-friendly fabrics to use for our products. We are full of ideas that give us lots of energy. Ikku means ‘coming and going’ in Japanese, and travelling and moving forward is exactly what we’re planning on doing.”