Robert Kalinkin is one of the first Lithuanian designer brands that have been backed by a Venture Capital firm. It is definitely not your ordinary contemporary designer brand. Instead of choosing a minimalistic approach, they choose maximalist, rather than being modest, they are pretty loud, experimental, and sometimes extravagant. Established in 2011 by the designer himself and a co-founder Indre Viltrakyte, today Robert Kalinkin is a strong team of 15. We talk to the CEO and co-founder Indre Viltrakyte about their #MadeInEurope approach and transparent (quite literally in this case) fashion business.
Fashion Bloc: Where does Robert Kalinkin design process start?
Indre Viltrakyte: We have a headquarters in Vilnius – a studio-office-retail store in one where all the spaces are separated only by glass walls, so our customers could see the creative process. We have four seamstresses, one pattern maker and Robert is in the studio every day. The creative process is open to anyone and we find that this openness adds a lot of positive energy to the brand, and our clients love it.
FB: Where do you manufacture and who are the people in your production team?
IV: We have an amazing small in-house team: four seamstresses (Tatjana, Anzelika, Nijole, and Emilija) and one pattern maker (Tatjana), most of them are with us for more than two years already – they make samples for new collections and private orders (wedding gowns, eveningwear, etc). All RTW collections are made in factories in Lithuania. 100% of our production is locally made.
FB: Where do you source your materials?
IV: Recently, we started experimenting a lot with local fabrics; we use a lot of Lithuanian linen (which is quite famous worldwide) and this season we started using sports/performance fabrics made in Lithuania. The fabrics we can’t get locally, we try to source from the European Union. It’s very important for us to know exactly where the fabrics come from – both, for quality and ethical reasons.
FB: Where do you sell your products?
IV: We have our own store in Vilnius, our e-commerce, we also organise pop-up shops in different locations from time to time. Now, we sell in the biggest retail chain in the Baltic States (Apranga) and a few independent boutiques in Lithuania. We have partners in the USA, UK, Latvia, Ukraine, and soon in France.
FB: What is your most impressive achievement?
IV: Having a wonderful team of 15 in just three years (since officially establishing the company) and not just creating, but also selling designs we love is already a huge achievement. Last year, we received an investment from a Venture Capital firm, which means we are a scalable business that can grow internationally. It was a big step towards the growth of Robert Kalinkin and we’re super excited.