Ikou-Tschüss is an indie brand that started as a hobby and has grown into a fully operating fashion business.
Ikou-Tschüss is Guya Marini and Carmen D’Apollonio, two friends who’ve coined their brand’s name on the fly: Ikou means ‘let’s go’ in Japanese and Tschüss means ‘bye’ in German. Since 2006 when the brand started, Marini and D’Apollonio have never gone anywhere but up in terms of how recognized the indie label has become within the greater fashion industry.
Their site says the label’s earliest beginnings began with the two designers meeting every summer in Zürich and exchanging ideas, but the lack of proximity kept their collaboration from coming immediately to fruition.
“Guya stayed active in Paris, doing her styling; Carmen, in Zürich and sometimes New York, was kept busy as the invaluable assistant to Swiss artist Urs Fischer. Then, meeting up again in the beginning of 2006, the two decided to focus exclusively on making handmade knitwear and croched silk foulards. Guya showed the pieces to her friend Livio and Stephan from the Parisian press office. Livio and Stephan were instantly taken with the knitwear and in their excitement planted the seeds for what was soon to become Ikou-Tschüss, demanding that Guya and Carmen formally create a label for the work they had brought in.”
When it comes to sustainability and still a strong fashion appeal, their main focus lies in sourcing quality materials. Most of their wool is either 100% cashmere or merino, and the silk comes from fair-trade locations in either South America or Tibet. They also incorporate recycled or vintage materials whenever possible and embrace the long-held tradition of knitting and crocheting which they themselves learned while growing up in the Swiss capital.
Their designs are made by hand and “the process of doing the work is vital to the form the design takes,” says the site, so production is staffed exclusively by grandmothers, who retain the old craftswomanly approach to handwork—skills that Guya and Carmen feel are disappearing today.