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From breakfast bar to boutique: Studio AMA opens a pop-up in O'yo

pop-up met circulaire mode winkel lokaal in gent

Creatief ondernemen in tijden van corona doe je zo: sla eens de handen in elkaar met een
collega uit een geheel andere sector. Modeontwerpster Soraya Wancour van duurzaam
kledingmerk Studio AMA opent dit eindejaar een pop-up in ontbijt- en lunchadresje O’yo,.
Dat ziet uitbaatster Phaedra Lybaert helemaal zitten. ‘Zo komt er opnieuw leven in de
brouwerij. Ook al blijven we open voor afhaal, er is toch veel minder passage dan tijdens
de eerste lockdown.’

De Gentse Brabantdam ligt er verlaten bij. Bij de vele koffie- en lunchadresjes die de straat
tussen Sint-Anna en het stadscentrum rijk is, mag je enkel afhalen. Dat voelt Phaedra
Lybaert, uitbaatster van Healthy Food O’yo, niet enkel aan haar portemonnee, maar ook aan
haar hart.

Open ruimte

Ruimte te over bij O’yo: er is voldoende zitplaats, ideaal om lang te blijven plakken en elkaar
te ontmoeten. In tijden van corona blijft de zaal echter noodgedwongen leeg. ‘Een
horecazaak is meer dan klanten die koffie halen of fietskoeriers die maaltijden en drankjes
aan huis leveren’, vindt Lybaert, die in haar zaak verse, smaakvolle en gezonde gerechten
serveert en zo mikt op een bewust publiek. ‘Het is ook een plek van gezelligheid en
ontmoeting, iets heel persoonlijk. Een plek van tijd nemen en zorgdragen voor jezelf en
elkaar. Het is logisch dat elkaar ontmoeten nu even niet aan de orde is, maar toch blijft het
jammer dat de ruimte nu zo leeg aanvoelt. Zeker omdat de kerstperiode de meest gezellige
en drukste periode van het jaar was voor ons.’

Samenwerking

Daar heeft modeontwerpster Soraya Wancour iets op gevonden. Met haar duurzaam
modemerk Studio AMA verkoopt Wancour voornamelijk op evenementen en via
pop-upwinkels. Ook daar was dit jaar geen ruimte voor. ‘Daarom heb ik Phaedra gevraagd of
ik in haar winkel een pop-up mocht houden, om opnieuw wat leven in de brouwerij te
brengen. Het lijkt ons ideaal: wie voor Studio AMA komt, die kan genieten van het eten van
O’yo. En wie iets komt afhalen bij O’yo, kan snuisteren in de collectie van Studio AMA.’

Gun jezelf een kerstcadeau

Het is geen toeval dat deze samenwerking net voor de feestdagen gelanceerd wordt. Wie
voor kerst zichzelf of iemand anders nog een cadeautje wil doen, is bij de pop-up aan het
juiste adres. ‘We hebben heel lang in onze joggingbroek gezeten’, zegt Wancour daarover.
‘De eindejaarsperiode leent zich ertoe om onszelf nog eens op te kleden. Na zo’n lange
periode waarin we weinig uitgegeven hebben, mogen we onszelf toch iets gunnen.’
Daarmee wil Wancour geen shopgekte ontketenen: integendeel, haar merk wil juist een
alternatief vormen voor de huidige mode-industrie. Die is gebaseerd op steeds snellere,
steeds goedkopere collecties bij ketens in de grote winkelstraten, met enorme gevolgen
voor mens en milieu. Het merk van Wancour, Studio AMA, steunt daarentegen op sociale en
ecologische waarden: Wancour ontwerpt kleding van textielafval zoals onverkochte
hemden, handdoeken en matrascovers. Die laat ze in elkaar naaien in sociale
maatwerkbedrijven op een boogscheut van Gent.

Mentale motivatiegolf

‘Er zijn verschillende manieren om bij te dragen aan de kerstperiode’, vindt Wancour zelf. Zij
gelooft in het principe dat je met je geld kan stemmen voor de ondernemers die je wil
ondersteunen. ‘Je kan aankopen doen met een grote maatschappelijke meerwaarde.’
Tegelijk heeft ze ook gewoon zin om opnieuw klanten te zien. ‘Het is zo fijn om kledij op
lichamen te zien. Kleding wordt pas mode als het gedragen is. Daarom lijkt het voor mij een
mentale motivatiegolf om klanten terug te zien en hen mijn collectie te tonen.’ Dat de
kerstbrunch tegelijkertijd kan worden opgehaald is enkel een voordeel.

Je vindt ontbijt- en lunchbar O’yo op Brabantdam 82 in Gent. De pop-up van Studio AMA
bij O’yo is open op vrijdag en zaterdag, telkens van 13 tot 18 uur (we blijven dus wat langer plakken).

Voor meer informatie kan je terecht bij
Soraya Wancour – 0477420936
https://studioama.be/

Phaedra Lybaert – 0468121426
https://www.oyobar.be/nl/

beelden nodig, neem gerust contact

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Studio AMA and Billie Cup join forces for a world without disposables

sweater billie billiecup

On the 1st of May the second edition of Mei Plasticvrijwas launched. This public campaign encourages Belgians to reduce their plastic consumption during the month of May. Excellent timing for the launch of the reusable coffee cup Billie Cupin Ghent. People who pay close attention, will also spot §2.SWEATERs in the images of the launch.

The public campaign Mei Plasticvrij This campaign on the ecological impact of plastic consumption aims to reduce the use of disposable plastic for one month. That was music to the ears of Ineke Van Nieuwenhove (the woman behind Mei Plasticvrij) and Vanessa Debruyne, the creators of the new reusable cup Billie Cup. They considered Mei Plasticvrij the perfect opportunity to introduce their product.

koffiebeker billiecup ecologisch herbruikbaar meisje beker studio ama ethische mode duurzaam sociaal ecologisch transparant
foto: © Koen Keppens

A new system for reusable cups

Billie Cup is niet zomaar een herbruikbare beker, want met dit  initiatief willen Ineke Van Nieuwenhove en Vanessa Debruyne net inspelen op het feit dat je jouw not always carrying their own cup of coffee when the overwhelming appetite for coffee strikes them. They learned from the example of interchangeable cups on festivals, and devised a similar system for reusable coffee cups.

Since early May, in about 20 restaurants and shops in Ghent, a Billie Cup is available, which can either be reused or redeemedin one of the participating shops, so that customers can recover their paid deposit. This is how Ineke and Vanessa not only aim to reduce the number of disposable coffee cups, but also provide an alternative to distracted coffee drinkers whose reusable cup is still on the counter. We feel you.

foto: © Koen Keppens

Reducing the number of disposable coffee cups is a matter of urgency. Coffee cups usually consist of a mixture of paper and plastic,making them non-recyclable and taking about 30 years to decompose. With one coffee, you create 30 years of waste. Every year about half a trillion cups are thrown away worldwide. Unbelievable, imagine that waste mountain!

Joining forces to fight disposables

It should come as no surprise that Billie Cup and Studio AMA were able to connect with each other's stories. Just like in the world of instant pre-train coffee, there is also in the world of fashion a deep-rooted throw-away culture.The average fashion brand produces as many as 50 collections a year, which are often thrown out of one's wardrobe just as quickly as they got in. Just think of the last item you bought yourself. How often do you really wear it?

The encounter between the two disposable allergic initiatives can be traced back to the MISS election van de Startersfabriek, de Sociale InnovatieFabriek en De Punt. Daar vielen zowel  Billie Cup als Studio AMA in de prijzen, als two of the ten most inspiring social starters in Ghent. Both startups are looking for solutions for an ecologically responsible lifestyle. When Ineke and Vanessa started looking for the right looks for the Billie Cup campaign, a collaboration soon was born.

foto: © Koen Keppens

And whom did we spot on Billie Cup's campaign photo? Indeed! The §2.SWEATERs by Studio AMA,made from residual flows from a mattress manufacturer. Each in their own way, Studio AMA and Billie Cup strive made from residual flows from a mattress manufacturer. Each in their own way, Studio AMA and Billie Cup strive to change our way of life. Less disposables, more authenticity and care for each other. To put it with an African proverb: "If you want to go fast, you have to go alone. If you want to go far, you have to go together."

At Studio AMA, we are very grateful to be able to contribute to Billie Cup's ambitious mission to change the world of coffee.

foto: © Koen Keppens
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Make your wardrobe go nuts

Buying sustainable fashion is important, but to have an ethical wardrobe, it is advisable to maintain one's clothes properly, i.e. in a way that takes the best care of both the clothes and the environment. Meet soapnuts!

Come again?

Soap nuts are the fruits of the Sapindus tree. This name is derived from the Latin word 'sapo' which means soap and 'indus' which stands for India. It is no surprise that these trees are mainly found in South and North India, and in Nepal.

In India, the fruits of the sea nut tree have been used for centuries to do the laundry. And under the growing movement towards a more sustainable lifestyle, they are also becoming more and more common in our regions. But why is that?

Clean laundry without chemicals

One of the special features of soapnuts is that they can be used as an environmentally friendly alternative to synthetic detergents. The brown peels contains a substance called saponin, produced by the Sapindus tree to protect its fruits from insects.

If the nuts come into contact with water, saponin has the same cleansing effect as soap. Saponin is natural and it protects your washing machine and your clothes. Soapnuts are therefore more suitable for people with allergies and sensitive skin.

Why wouldn't you do it?

Soapnuts are convenient and easy to use. Simply put the nuts in a cotton bag and place them in your washing machine. You can compost the nuts after usage. Who said zero waste was difficult?

In contrast to Germany and the Netherlands, the soapnuts are seldom available in our regular shops. Fortunately, many a low impact man and woman now knows the way to stores where well-known brands such as Seepje and Ecozone are available.

Tests have shown that the result is less good for solving grease stains. Some Marseille soap might help. Also, white laundry can become pale after prolonged use. It is therefore advisable to add 1 to 2 tablespoons of soda per wash.
Because the nuts grow solely in tropical or subtropical climates, the transport of Indian soapnuts to Europe is not very ecological. Fortunately, soapnuts are not the only plants that contain saponin. As a more local alternative one can also use ivy leaves, spinach or even peas. It is possible to put them in an old sock and place them into the washing machine. Transport- and cost-efficient!

Have you ever done your laundry with soap nuts? Would you recommend it to others? I am interested in your personal experiences.

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The systems and their challenges – a state of affairs.

atelier werktafel studio ama

"You've really found your true passion," I hear that all the time. A beautiful compliment and that's how I experience it. I found my voice. It all fits. My 'working' days are nice, the challenges on my path are interestingI wouldn't want to miss the meetings and surprises and I'm looking forward to what's coming tomorrow and the time after that.
 
 
But there is also something else that is brewing: it is slow. Every day I work on the puzzle pieces of a sustainable wardrobe, made according to Studio AMA's principles. Sustainable, waste reducing, socially responsible, at the right price.

 
About a year ago I made a choice to start the ethical fashion label I was looking for as a consumer myself. I started a project in which I would look for ways to create responsible fashion that I myself would fully support.
 
The challenge brings me to more challenges. Developing towards systems and then linking them together.
 
For example, for a particular fabric (1) I have found a good design (2) but not yet a place to make clothes (3).
 
I discovered a good studio (3) that can perfectly make a design (2) but the material with the ideal capacities didn't cross my path yet.
 
In my studio there is a wall full of drawings and plans (2), rolls, boxes and samples full of material to work with (1) a list of places to visit for clothing (3).
 
 
Enough to do. A more extensive offer, more different garments,is something that I long for and that is now really necessary. I'm working on it.
 
 
In the meantime, I also like to keep you informed about the ins and outs through social media. I think about how this can and may evolve. Meanwhile, I'm hanging tags and embroidering the new series of sweaters .
 
 
But I found my true passion. And the challenges may be so great, so is my pleasure. Can you relate to that?
 

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Studio AMA learns at "The Box"

studio ama in the box

A pop-up period full of inspiration and new insights

"How do I introduce a new product to a large audience?" It's one of the many issues I was wondering about when I started my business. A possible answer: by engaging in conversation with the target group. But as a starting entrepreneur with a limited network, that's not easy. Until I got to know via De Startersfabriek the concept of The Box.

The Box is a "plug & play" business where entrepreneurs can test their ideas. For me, this meant that I didn't have to worry about the design, decoration and facilities of a space to introduce my product and story to the general public.

The sweaters are made from residual flows of mattress covers. This way they contribute to a durable wardrobe. But how important is it to my target audience to wear ethical fashion, where do they look for it and what is the price they want to pay for it? These are all questions about which I collected a lot of information during the pop-up period in The Box. I got the answers through conversations with visitors and through an online questionnaire that customers filled out.

I noticed it was a surprise to many people to whom I told my story. There was a lot of curiosity. People who want to know more. It motivated me in my commitment to be as transparent as possible. I want to tell as clearly as possible how I approach things, where everything comes from and how it is created.

Finetuning sweaters

The prototypes were predominantly white, which is not everyone's favourite colour. Understandable. I got the valuable tip to go to a company that often works with other colours. That collaboration was a success. The result was a collection of sweaters that you can see hereIn addition, I also took it to heart to design forms that fit for everyone. A passe partout in clothing. Not easy. It stimulated me to design a piece that was as accessible as possible, fitting in just about every wardrobe.

I also met other starting entrepreneurs, listened to their pitch and they listened to mine. I went home with inspiration to fine-tune my design and with a desire to start production.

Thanks for the opportunity and good luck to all the other starters!