After working in the industry for over 12 years, Canadian-born, Tuscany based designer Ria Dunn felt jaded with the world of disposable fashion.  Moving her life and work to a new landscape, she made the decision to start a project from scratch, bringing about a label called Lost & Found.

Dunn’s design background stems from her studies in art and photography, which she began from an early age. Whatever she was involved with seemed to have artistic and creative features.  “The natural evolution of these artistic sensibilities turned into design, with a focus on garment making”, she explains.  As an avid traveler, Dunn always felt the need to move and drift about, but at the same time remain focused on the process of creation. “The need to move, to detach and to recreate my life has been something that I have always done.”

Having lived in Italy for two years, Dunn felt uninspired by the world of fashion she was used to working in and seeked a more authentic approach to design. “it seemed like the right moment to explore an intimate project that could be built from zero.” She began what was to become Lost & Found by creating her studio and atelier in an isolated Tuscan landscape, which was certainly far from the fashion world she had known before.  “I really needed to empty my head with what I had learned and experienced and needed to do something much more instinctive and, if I may say so, more meaningful.”

The creation of Lost & Found utilizes many old sensibilities and techniques that have been lost amongst industrialization. This is partly what the name of the label also refers to. “The name has various meanings on different levels”, Dunn says. “It is about the cycle of loss and discovery. The idea of creating something, then letting it go in order for it to change as it interacts with different people and environments, where it will be rediscovered – found.”

The collections of men’s and women’s garments are made entirely in Italy using complex and lengthy manufacturing processes. Many of the materials used are individually created by Tuscan artisans, some coming from elsewhere in Italy and Japan. When asked about materials, Dunn responded by describing the actual yarns used to create some of the fabrics, which goes to show the dedication and effort that goes into the creation process of Lost & Found. “In a way, it’s like talking about a food dish. We all know that the quality of the food is entirely made up of the ingredients. The same applies to creating materials, it is the yarns you begin with that brings you to an interesting end result.”

While the finishing and detailing are equally important, for Dunn, it’s clearly the actual composition and structure which give a fabric its true meaning.  “Firstly, the materials are individually created and they need to undergo many complex and often unconventional finishing techniques. It becomes a very experimental process that in the end needs to be somewhat industrialized in order to create certain quantities of garments.” Working with materials such as hemp or linen and mixing them with wool and cashmere gives the clothing a very organic and authentic feel. “Generally, I like to create contradiction in materials, blending aspects of durability and rawness together with a material that is precious or noble. Most of the linen and hemp is Italian, the cotton mostly coming from Japan or Italy.”



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