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Whenever I see a fashion brand on the rise and ready to take off, I get excited and must know the who, what, when where and why. This most definitely applies to VENIA Collection, a LA based brand known for its individuality and accessibility while making a strong style and socially responsible statement. The word itself, Venia, means grace in Latin. Even more, VENIA Collection not only has a stunning aesthetic but also embodies very important goals to revolutionize the fashion industry which I find fascinating and smart. I was grateful to be introduced to the brand through a mutual friend at his musical launch – Soulaire – who wore standout pieces from the collection.
So who is VENIA and how did this brand originate? VENIA is a fashion house that carries a mission of Grace both in effortless design with an intentional purpose and in impeccable drive for technological variety. VENIA is meant for the contemporary consumer who seeks to challenge modern luxury with an approachable demeanor and yet an aloof sense of integrity.
That desire originates from the Design Duo, Eni and Nigma, who embrace an affinity for technology, intrigue for cutting edge design, and a strong aesthetic in fashion. VENIA was founded with roots in morality, culture, and rapid change for a form-needs-to-meet-function society. The design duo’s creations result in an eclectic balance of comfort with innovation, subtlety with statement, change with tradition, and raw energy with grace.
Drawing inspiration from a rapidly changing world, comes forth design meant for the intelligent and the adventurous, to meet the needs of the contemporary customer. Thus, this message of grace and intent, fueled by advanced technology and modern thinking is the fashion brand that is VENIA. I had the fantastic opportunity to speak with the talented Christine Ko, CEO of VENIA, I discovered there is so much more to this brand than meets the eye. Personally, I love Ko’s passion and commitment to the brand. She has assisted in creating one of the most interesting fashion brands on the market.
Can you please explain to me about the birth of VENIA Collection.
The company was started by Eni & Nigma with the hopes to be a forefront of technological and ethical fashion change. In 2015, they chose to shift the company to develop pieces made from 100% sustainable fabrications, ethically in the United States and to make a commitment to true integration of new technology-such as an in-house developed VR Platform, 3D Printing, and more. I took the roll of CEO in end of 2014 to help drive us closer to sustainable goals and scale for growth. Keeter was brought in as Creative Director around the similar time to develop our R&D lab further with team members for 3D printing, modeling and Virtual Reality design. Our goal is to be a forefront of fashion-technology in the industry working with bigger partners to solve world problems. Also, we hope re-popularize the idea of investment pieces and ethical manufacturing amongst a larger crowd.
What was the inspiration and concept for VENIA for Eni and Nigma. I know that they like to stay private which can be difficult in such a big business venture.
VENIA started as an artistic expression between Eni & Nigma, a place to create a company that would reflect their ideals and dreams for the industry. They wanted to make their fashion company a pillar of positive difference to stand out amongst other fashion counterparts who are producing unethically and without awareness towards sustainability. The name VENIA mean “grace” in Ancient Latin-a word and theme that signified the legacy the founders wished to impart to the world. They chose to design a product that retained both perfectly engineered parts, as well as staying incredibly fashionable.
Our 5 Pillars-Venture, Endeavor, Newness, Invest and Advance are the commitments that we uphold. They encompass our values of exploration, adaptability, new design, technology, philanthropy and sustainability. We fully integrate these elements into every part of the business, from inside the business to the design and choice of fabrics. We also value world-changers over simple celebrity, we’re very concerned with sending out the right message to our consumers.
Since sustainability has always been a priority for the brand from its inception, is the balance to create a fashion-forward line combined with a
sense of social responsibility difficult?
Sustainability was always something that was an inspiration for VENIA. In the beginning, it was a form of inspiration such as our Season II Collection and in 2015 we shifted the entire company to reflect how we wanted to shift the fashion industry from within the company. From crop to consumer-garments should be responsibly sourced and ethically made. We owe it to Earth and to ourselves to stand for high morals and the belief in investment pieces and as a company wanted VENIA to reflect those beliefs as we can. It’s not a marketing tactic-we truly integrate it into our products. We believe that “Sustainability is sexy” and are out to prove it! Much of our advances in design and production derive from those morals. For example-we sourced fish leather from vendors in Iceland and Canada that are vegetable tanned from the bi-product of the fish industry-giving new life to a source of textile.
I loved seeing the pieces in person and trying a few on… (from the leather jackets to the gorgeous mohair sweaters). Where do some of the VENIA fabrics originate from? They are so unique and beautiful.
Our fabrics are sourced from around the world, chosen for their cleanliness and minimal waste. We use fabrications such as fish leather: a bi-product of the food industry from Iceland and Canada, tencel: wood cellulose grown sustainably from Canada, Pima cotton: organic and made in small batches from Peru, Leather: a vertical company in Italy, Mohair and Wool: sourced from small farmlands in New Zealand and more. We proudly work with a wonderful group of vendors who uphold the same integrities as VENIA and work together to make sustainability a more popular reality. Advancements in wearable fibers are also in the pipeline as we work to see which can be made sustainability and at better quantities. Research and Development is at the heart of VENIA-we are all in it to discover and solve problems together.
I love that VENIA is menswear and womenswear. How did you decided to add men’s apparel to the collection?
We knew we would start with womenswear and gain traction there. However, our aesthetic and functionality attracted many male clients who kept asking when it would be their turn. In response, we are about to launch our first Menswear line this year in 2017 so stay tuned for what we will be releasing!
Will there be an official VENIA Collection fashion show or an official launch?
I’m very happy to announce a full relaunch in 2017 this year. We will be showing a women’s and menswear line and very excited about that. We will be showing in Tokyo in March [stay tuned for leaks, development, interviews and pictures!] and will be curating an art/pop-up event in Los Angeles hopefully near the tail end of the year with several collaborations in the art, fashion, film and food worlds. We really hope to ramp up the visibility of VENIA this year with our innovations in technology and sustainability and promise to share our journey with everyone. We are still and always so grateful for all the love and support!
Where do you see the line headed for the future? Runway, Possible pop-ups, showroom sample sales?
I don’t want to spill too much, but you can expect our arrival in a showroom in Tokyo, Japan in March. As for pop ups, runways and sales-the best way to stay updated is to subscribe to us online at http://www.veniacollection.com or follow us on Instagram at @veniacollection! We will send out all info for our launches there.
I know that the designers’ travels influence their inspiration for VENIA. What are some other sources of inspiration?
We have a saying that we are Fashion Designers Engineering Product. So new breakthroughs in the technology and science always captivate us. Travel and new culture allows us to connect with another corner of the world and realize their needs as consumers. Technology and Innovations in science allow us to fuse the fashion world with a larger world view which in turn enables us to reach a further demographic and effect more people. We are always inspired by the World Changers-individuals who rise up and affect society either by challenging a belief, fighting for causes such as human trafficking and leaders of well-known companies or startups who are changing the mindsets of their employees and setting great examples. VENIA‘s lifestyle is deeply rooted in aspiration and culture. Our inspiration trips and discoveries reflect that as much as possible.
Author’s note: VENIA is an amazing and innovative line where science and technology meets beauty and style. I envision a wonderful future for this collection with endless opportunities for growth.
Connect with VENIA
Photographer: Cameron Dunbar
Social media: @damaracat
Jewelry: Betsy Flores
Social media: @betsyfloresjewelry
LIZZY COLLAZOS is a LA based writer who covers fashion, style and emerging artists. She is constantly sourcing and inspired by designers, artists and entertainers making their mark in an innovative way. “I see fashion and art as a beautiful form of self-expression and a way to tell a story.” "I love becoming immersed in a project and seeing it through fruition."She knows the LA scene well and currently contributed to The LA Fashion Magazine as well as LA-Story.com. Follow Lizzy Collazos on these social platforms.