Words By Baiba
Knitting is meditative...
process that helps create balance in one’s interior life and thoughts. It smoothes the path. One eventually realizes that they can always unravel the knit and start anew - that can be a profound realization. It was for me.
For me, a knit garment is intrinsically architectural. It's like a house: it provides a sense of security. But unlike a house, one takes the garment along and one moves both with and within it. One requires an understanding of the environment as well as their own needs and desires to make one’s cocoon or home ideal. This idea is at the heart of my feelings about sustainability: If one’s relationship to the garments is like that of a home, then it seems logical to approach the details, from the initial idea to how it’s crafted, in a considered manner.
My professional identity has been shaped by the people I’ve met on my journey. They have helped me form and crystalize my brand’s essence, foundation, development, and audience. The Baiba Ripa brand exists in a space where both men and women are active and essential in the creative and manufacturing processes. While in Latvia, it’s primarily women’s hands that create the brand, in Japan and Tibet, they are men who are the makers.
More important than this division of labor are the individuals involved in our process. What are their values, and how have they made their choices? Are our worldviews aligned? I intuitively know whether or not we are on the same wavelength, and I tend to “collect” those who are, like treasure. I believe things take on and carry the primordial energy with which they have been handled. What every aspect of the brand receives from a person with the right and unique touch is priceless.
I have often seen clients putting on a garment that afterwards they simply don’t want to take off! There’s so much more than just the superficial qualities of things, and that’s why I always invite people to touch, feel, and try on.
I’ve always been fascinated by minimalism. There is something remarkable about things that are not overdone, which are absolutely in the right place at the right time. However, to me, minimalism isn’t just oversimplification. I believe that every garment deserves its own little “twist.”
Nature is one of my greatest inspirations. It contains everything: the beautiful and the practical, a sense of balance, and an up-close view of the life cycles that are part of it. For me, the most amazing creature on earth is the bird: the being that has evolved from the Mesozoic era to become, arguably, the most unencumbered of all animals. I’ve paid close attention to the color of bird feathers, their layers, and their characteristics, and I’ve borrowed some of their qualities for my knits. For us humans, perhaps the closest thing to flying is dance. It’s important to me that Baiba Ripa garments not only allow unencumbered movement but that they allow the wearer to breathe freely and to be most themselves.
My family plays a crucial part in my work. They’ve observed my commitment to fashion for years now; they’ve seen the processes. MY brand is like another member of the family. It cannot be separate from me. It is part of me and my thoughts day in and day out. My baggage of experiences: as a person, as a woman, and a mother, in one way or another, show up in my work. Assuredly, living amidst yarn, fibers, and knitting has influenced my three children. They have come to understand aspects of the fashion business, garment construction, and various materials that most other children have not. And I think that’s a positive thing. I know it myself from spending time in my childhood with my grandmother, Otīlija, a designer, and her fabric swatches, in the small town of Ilūkste. I know that whatever path my children choose, I will have given them an appreciation of craftsmanship and the knowledge that they can always take their “home” with them.