LUA: hand-made clothes creations inspired by beauty, joy, emancipation and attention to quality and sustainability
Admin | Comune di Milano
Luana Neves von Dobeneck, for many known as Lua, was born in São Paulo, Brazil. She lives in Freiburg, Germany, since 2008.
Even as a child in Brazil, she was interested in fashion: “colours, fabrics and shapes help us to feel good, to redefine ourselves and to face the world with an open heart and courage”. Particularly, she was concerned with the question of where the fabrics come from, how clothes are made, sold, worn and disposed of. The value chain often has little to do with values and wellbeing. With her sustainable label “LUA” she wants to make a small contribution to change this. In her vision, clothes connect our body with the outside world can help us to feel to feel good, be beautiful and strong!
Can you please tell us how you had the idea to start your business?
I grew up in a megacity (São Paulo), I had little money and no educational opportunities. So, I was mainly left to my own devices and took the jobs I could get: I sold homemade chocolates on the street, I worked as an assistant in a financial office, I worked as a sales assistant in a cosmetics boutique. Finally, I ended up in the shop of a well-known fashion label. Here I took great pleasure in all the clothing details, the fabrics, buttons, patterns. At the same time, I was shocked by the capitalist value chain and the partly inferior quality.
When I was 23, I met my husband – a native of Freiburg – and we moved to Germany together after our wedding in 2008. Here I immediately looked for a job and I ended up in a small gastronomic business serving Brazilian food. I worked there for 7 years – 5 of which as the owner. I learned a lot about employees, management and customers. In the meantime, our daughter Lara was been born and we felt like having another child. So, I decided to sell the business and dedicate myself to motherhood. About 2 years ago, I realised that I could simply start over from scratch with a passionate activity: creating beautiful clothes. So, I learned how to make patterns in a fashion studio in Freiburg. Since then, I have always made them myself and I have created my label LUA.
Can you please tell us about the main obstacles you have encountered and how you managed to overcome them?
My biggest challenge is myself. I always start with nothing, without a concept nor a process in mind. I follow an impulse, an idea, a wish. But then I always have to question and mirror myself, because I sell and expose something very personal. On top of that, there are entrepreneurial and bureaucratic duties and challenges that tend to restrict the creative space.
Photo from LUA.
Has the recent pandemic affected your business and how did you overcome the challenges?
The moment I started the production of the summer collection, the shutdown came. I had to devote myself to the children and the household and I suddenly ended up in mask production, with the proceeds going primarily to a Brazilian nursing home, which was also affected by Corona. But in the end, the shutdown did something good. I had time to think about my collection, to try it out and to get new ideas for optimisations and further garments.
How do you see the future of your company?
My main aspiration is to realise my not yet implemented ideas quickly and to be able to offer my production on the market. I want to feel comfortable with my creation. In addition, I want my collections to convey beauty, joy, emancipation but also attentiveness, meaning that materials are made of ecological natural fibres, of high quality and produced in a fair way.
Furthermore, I am always open towards new ideas and challenges.
Is there anything you would like to tell to your fellow entrepreneurs?
To feel good, to be self-careful and to do everything to make it pleasant. Without a good and strong sense of yourself, things can get too hard. I am talking about feelings and intuitions, so that everything can flow as naturally as possible. Starting a business requires a very own energy, a lot of discipline and focus. This combination is much easier to achieve if you feel comfortable and listen to your intuition again and again.