"It's so important to me to show people that we can wear beautiful things without violence."
Pleunie Teunis, Founder of Levi Jones
Levi Jones is a fast emerging brand from Amsterdam, launched by dutch model, Pleunie Teunis. Though still quite young, the brand is garnering considerable international attention for the edgy and sensual silhouette of its bags. We had a chance to catch up with Pleunie and ask her a few questions about how she developed the brand and what her plans for the future are.
(Shop Levi Jones here)
What inspired you to create Levi Jones?I had been a vegetarian for many years — and the moment I went vegan I got a lot of comments along the lines of “...but your shoes / bag / wallet / belt are made of leather...isn’t that bad too?” Of course it had crossed my mind that I shouldn’t wear leather, but I had the hardest time finding things that weren’t made from leather and were also my style. No matter how hard I looked online or in stores, I just couldn’t find products that I liked that were also vegan. That’s when I came up with the idea of creating my own line of bags where no animal products are used. The truth is, today there is absolutely no need for humans to use animals. There are so many alternatives available right now — we can create pretty much anything we like without harming others. It’s so important to me to show people with my brand that we can wear beautiful items without the violence that comes from leather.
Where did the name “Levi Jones” come from?
It comes from my wild imagination! When creating the brand, I pictured this confidant woman walking through the streets of Paris or having a coffee on a terrace before heading to her office. I wanted a strong name, a name for a confidant women with the best style. I called her Levi Jones...it's a name you kind of wish you had yourself. She’s my inspiration for the brand.
The names of my bags — Kate, Romane, Monroe — also come from my imagination. Whenever I design a new bag the name immediately comes to me and I never change it. It feels natural to me to name them. I guess this way they become more real to me, each bag has its own personality.
What was your process for sourcing vegan leather?
What was — and still is — most important to me was creating bags that no one could tell were made from faux leather. I wanted the bags to be as beautiful and luxurious as possible. I wanted the material to feel natural and soft, mimicking the look of real leather by using material with a soft grain texture. Of course, it was very important to me that the material was also high quality so the bags would be durable. After looking at many materials, I found what I thought was the perfect fit for my brand.
How do you make sure Levi Jones stands out in the fiercely competitive world of fashion?
My bags are minimalist, but their unique hardware gives them a tough-yet-luxurious look. In my opinion, most of the time bags are either basic with nothing particularly special about them or they're sort of over the top. I wanted to create bags that portray confidence — no unnecessary details to them, no extravagant colors, just the right amount of detail.
And, so far I have had the best responses! So much better than I could’ve ever hoped for. When I started with my brand, I was kind of hesitant to tell people about it because it felt really personal and I was afraid to get bad responses. But my confidence in the brand has grown so much from the responses that I've received.
We’ve been so inspired by some major luxury brands going fur-free: Chanel, Burberry, Gucci, Versace…just to name a few. Where do you see cruelty-free fashion going next?
It’s so amazing to hear about big luxury brands going fur-free. Big brands should set the right example because they have the power to influence so many people. Even the use of vegan leather has increased a lot over the years which I’m super excited about. You can definitely see a change in the fashion industry. I’m very confident that this change will grow even further in the future and that at some point even big brands will switch to animal-free leather.
What is your vision for the Levi Jones brand over the next few years?
I definitely have big plans for Levi Jones. The idea for now is to create a beautiful collection of women's bags, but plans are already on the table to launch a men’s collection. The style will definitely stay the same...I love the color black and chains! Our new bag is already in production and I have so many more drawings for new bags, so definitely stay tuned!
And as for the future, who knows…I have so many ideas…I would love to expand with a shoe line. But for now I need to stay focused on expanding my women’s bag collection (which I love to work on!).