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Q&A: Ores - Lisa Thörnqvist

Ores founder: Lisa Thörnqvist

What inspired you to create ORES label? 

I have been in the fashion business for a long time, and textiles from natural fibres have always been my passion. 15 years ago I was ready to start a brand. But during that time, I started to work at H&M as a pattern maker and my years there taught me so much about product development, production and how to create great fit. In the beginning of 2018, I felt that the timing was right, and I had an urge to build a fashion brand from scratch. If I do something, I want to make sure to do it right, without shortcuts and including all the positive values I believe in. As a designer I am very creative and I have a lot of ideas, I just had to put my style into words build the foundations of ORES.

Do you have any mentors?

I do not have any specific mentors; I follow my own heart and mind together with all the things I have experienced. From the beginning of ORES I have been practicing listening to my own intuition. I think it is very valuable to discuss ideas with other people and get their input, but in the end of the day I am the one that must make the decisions and stand by them.

What’s the best piece of professional advice you’ve ever been given? 

I have been given good advice multiple times, but what I like to do is to look at other people’s achievements and analyse what they have done to reach success. If you think someone is good at what they do, reach out and find out more.

Have you always been interested in design? Was starting your own label always on the agenda?

I have been interested in fashion design since I was a child, and I have been drawing and created things for as long as I can remember. I was about to start a brand with two friends right after graduating but having more work and life experience first is very beneficiary for me in hindsight. Starting my own brand has always been on my mind and it feels amazing to finally take that step and do it.

What does sustainability mean to you? 

Sustainability to me means having environmental responsibility as well as ethical social responsibility. I think that a company cannot be sustainable if not all parts are made sustainably. If the profit lies in making tons of synthetic clothes, you are not sustainable even if you have an ”eco- cotton line”, as well.

I look at it in a holistic way; ORES do not manufacture only one product in one single way. ORES create new collections every season in a variety of qualities and methods and all steps along the way are made consciously. We want to make as little negative impact on the environment as possible, starting with the clean natural fibres, like silk and wool. Then with our design vision, we develop the textile fabric, colouring, print and production with as few chemicals as possible. We also think about how to make packing and transportation as eco- friendly as possible.

The Eco Print Dress is such a beautiful piece, we were amazed to read about the process to create such material. Do you have plans to pursue other traditional techniques in the future?

Yes, for sure. We will continue to use traditional techniques in future digns that are both natural and eco-friendly. The handloom silk and wool fabric is my absolute favourite, since it is made with such skill and care it gives the most beautiful result, often with a natural irregularity that is so precious, and you can see that it is not made in a big factory. I often start the design process with a vision of a fabric with a certain texture, and then follows a long process of developing it exactly it in the right weight and with lustre and softness. Using natural colour from flowers and herbs feels so good when most regular dye stuff contains many different, and often harmful chemicals so we plan to do that the coming seasons too.

As a Swedish native, how would you describe Scandinavian style?

In Sweden we see ourselves very much as individuals, but when it comes to style, we stand united. I would say that the Scandinavian style is effortless, cool and sophisticated. The design is often clean cut with high quality fabric in muted colours, but it can also be extravagant patterns and colours if it is done in a tasteful and never tacky way. There is a seriousness that often lies beneath, and it needs to be practical and easy to wear and style, never silly and careless. The modern way of thinking sustainably about your wardrobe is very trendy within the Scandi style; To buy consciously and take care of the garments you got.

We know you have a passion and knowledge we develop unique qualities with natural fibers and sustainable and ethical manufacturing. What is one thing our readers can do on an everyday scale to minimise their carbon footprint?

Thank you for acknowledging the very essence of ORES.

Over the last 5 years many people have started eating more clean organic food and less processed meat from big companies etcetera. So now it is time to think about your wardrobe in the same way. If you think about all the chemicals and plastic that is used in most clothes, I think people realize that it is not healthy, and it is certainly not good for the planet. Next step is to think about who made it and under what circumstances.

How would you describe the ORES customer?

I would describe the customers as conscious consumers with a passion for design. Some of ORES customers are already familiar with ethical and clean clothes, and buy it because of that fact, and some customers just fall in love with the design and then feel good about the fact that it is sustainably produced.

What has been the biggest challenge you have faced as an entrepreneur so far?

I am not a marketing expert, so that is the most challenging part.

I am a textile and design nerd and I have a lot of experience in sourcing and developing, but the hardest part for me is to put it all in a clear context and to reach out to people. I have been struggling with how to explain with very few words in what way ORES is clean, ethical and sustainable, since we think very holistically and develop our collections in a versatile way where each garment has a unique story. We make new design with new methods and constantly looking for ways to improve.

What do you think the future retailing industry will be? 

I think the future retailing industry will have been cleaned up and is more sustainable, eco-friendly and ethical because now we see all the filth in the industry, and it will be less accepted when people get more aware and buy more consciously.

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