As part of our founder interview series, we speak with Mila Moisio from TAUKO about the TAUKO recycling concept, upcycled fashion and more.
How did you and Kaisa come together to found TAUKO?
We are lifelong best friends with Kaisa and since the very first steps of our friendship we learned how we share the same values, love for travels, art and environment. At the end of our university studies for becoming art researchers, we got inspired by fashion and wanted to work for something that has an immediate effect on the social and environmental problems that our time is facing. After extensive research on fashion industry and learning more and more about textiles, there was no turning back, we set out on a journey to create a fashion brand that lived up to our expectations. We wanted to show how recycled textiles can be turned into the materials of beautiful, high-quality womenswear collections where there are no compromises in design or the ethical and ecological aspects of the production.
What does TAUKO mean, and why did you choose this name?
TAUKO stands for a break or a pause in Finnish. It describes the silent and still movement that is almost impossible to notice. Our goal is to make sustainable pieces for long-lasting wardrobe.
How would you describe the style of TAUKO? Who do you envision wearing your brand?
TAUKO is a sustainable Nordic fashion house based in Helsinki, Finland. We are committed to creating timeless and ethical clothing for women who care about the environment as much as we do. The collections reflect our passion for contemporary art, thrive to colors and details inspired by nature.
How do you incorporate up-cycled materials into your collection? Where do you source them from, and how much of your collection is made from these up-cycled materials?
Our unique TAUKO recycling concept is based on local, discarded rental textiles as the raw materials of the production. These materials are mostly textiles that have been used in Finnish and German restaurants and hotels. Working closely together with local producers and research groups, we constantly develop new methods to prepare recycled materials for our collections. 80% to 100% of our collections are made from these recycled textiles. In addition to discarded textiles, we also utilise surplus knits and yarns, and organic wool for our collections.
How does working with up-cycled materials influence your design process?
Our design process is very material oriented. The recycled materials set certain limitations, but also create specific tools for us to work with. The colours and cuts are formed by using these tools and therefore the collections are very much affected by the up-cycling process. Yet, without knowing, you cannot tell that our collections are made from recycled textiles. Working with recycled textiles follows the TAUKO philosophy, very powerful yet silent movement. A lot of effort is in the details and in the process that can not be seen with a quick look. This creates a design aspect that make the TAUKO pieces a long-lasting part of the wardrobe.
Ethical fashion is an extremely broad topic. What is your definition of ‘ethical fashion’?
Respecting human work and human rights. Being very aware of the affects that fashion production has for the environment and for people. After acknowledging the facts, it is very important to act on it and take a stand. Being transparent and sharing information becomes one of the key issues in ethical fashion.Being honest. Aiming for sustainable solutions for future generations.
How do you think that TAUKO embodies your definition of ethical fashion?
We believe in kindness, honesty and respect. Our beliefs are transmitted in the whole design and production process of TAUKO collections. With our collections, we show how recycled textiles can be turned into materials of beautiful, high-quality womenswear collections where there are no compromises in design or the ethical and ecological aspects of the production. We show our respect to the skilful people working for our production and visit them regularly in Finland and Estonia.
How do you try to live more sustainably in your personal life?
We are privileged to be able to choose sustainable lifestyle, eat and live a healthy life in a relatively clean environment.
Biking, having vegetarian diet and travelling by train have always been part of our lives. Supporting small and local producers and distributors in our daily grocery shopping has become more and more important since we learned how industrial production is handled. Money has a lot to do with power and responsibility, and by being very conscientious on how we spend the money we have, we create the kind of world we want to live in.
What do you look for in other clothing brands that you support?
New ideas, openness, creativity, boldness. There are a lot of beautiful brands that put their heart into what they do, and by doing so, they create something new and interesting that challenges the narrowed down ways of working with fashion.
You have been working on TAUKO since 2008. How has TAUKO changed since you first started, and where do you hope to take it in the future?
Since founding of TAUKO, we have been focused on the development of recycled textiles for fashion. It took us five years to find the right materials and partners for our production and in 2013 we released the first collection based on the production concept that we have been developing ever since. The scale has grown and the design has developed during the 10 years and now we are experts on what we do. We hope to take TAUKO to yet another, new level, with more research and experimentation on both, materials and design. It would be wonderful to see TAUKO in the future as one of the forerunners of sustainable fashion that has been able to convince the fashion world that there are true alternatives for fashion production.