The year was 2020 and all creatives throughout the U.K. were locked in their homes with nothing but hand sanitizer, a Netflix subscription, and an hour’s worth of outdoor exercise per day. And while the weeks of furlough gave longer lie-ins and more time to work on passion projects, the other side of the coin showed that there was no room for inspiration. The rest of the country was in the same boat, and gaps in the market for emerging fashion brands were more saturated and harder to fit into than ever before. But not for Broken Planet Market.
Led by partners Lukas Žvikas and Indrė Narbutaitė, BPM used this time to become one of the U.K.’s fastest-growing streetwear brands. By tapping into their inspirations from outer space and American hip-hop stars, Žvikas and Narbutaitė have now amassed over 50,000 customers worldwide – with oversized, graphic-heavy silhouettes and TikTok-orientated marketing tactics – all while educating its younger demographic about global sustainability. BPM is emphasizing the importance of creating garments using recycled materials, along with slow shipping processes to help protect the planet and shift the ideology of what it genuinely takes to operate as a “sustainable” brand.
“We don’t even mention our sustainability anymore, I think people just get it and trust us,” Broken Planet told Hypebeast. “We don’t do it to make sure we get sales, we just use sustainability to help our thought process internally and to know that’s how we make decisions — we don’t think that we need to scream and shout about it.”
Now, Broken Planet has further plans to expand its garment mainline and following with new explorations across outerwear along with interactive pop-up stores and a “Broken Planet Foundation” charity that has plans to help disadvantaged communities across the world.
In light of this, Hypebeast spoke with BPM founders Žvikas and Narbutaitė about their inspirations, sustainability process, design inspirations, and much more.
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Hypebeast: How did you two meet?
Žvikas : The story is quite interesting – we are both Lithuanian, we grew up there and we both went to study abroad. I went to New York and Indre went to the United Kingdom. We met when we were both 17 and now we’re 25 and 26, and we’re a couple! We were in a long-distance relationship for four years. We have always been interested in streetwear, but it’s crazy to think we’re doing what we’re doing now because I studied software engineering and Indre was studying International Tourist Management, so it’s stuff that’s completely not related to what we do now.
Narbutaitė: I think Lukas’ interest came from New York because there were all of the go-to places, and everyone has the coolest outfits. We were always going to the New York Fashion Weeks too because we were flying out to see each other every couple of months. So, we were always in the world of fashion, but we never thought we could be part of it. We always thought we would be spectators from the side.
“We hate trends — that’s a fact. As people that don’t like fast fashion, we can say that confidently.”
Being a couple and also business partners, how do you manage to find the work-life balance?
Narbutaitė: In the beginning, it was challenging because we started Broken Planet during the lockdown and we were at home all of the time. No romantic dates were going on, and we went on our first trip away as a couple after lockdown and the brand went viral. Now, because we shoot our drops in different parts of the world, we use that opportunity to work and also do things as a couple. We will stay for at least 10 days and relax and do cute things, and when we’re back, we go back into work mode. But, because we travel so much, we’re able to switch on and off. But, it is difficult because we live together, work together, and we’re a couple.
Žvikas : It’s not easy because it’s hard to find the switch. We always find ourselves getting stuck into days, weeks, and months where it’s just constant work. It has been important too that we live together because we bring different skill sets. We both design, but we both have different roles.
Narbutaitė: Lukas focuses more on the production and the warehouse and I work on social media and manage all of the people that bring that to life. It just works, but we say that we are a perfect couple; we’re best friends, we’re perfect colleagues, maybe it’s meant to be! We’ve been together many years and the brand is making us stronger. But, both of us have come from very humble beginnings and it’s beautiful to be able to enjoy the perks of the business together.
How did Broken Planet Market come to life?
Žvikas: Indre started a brand with another friend and I thought that we could do it better together. I thought about focusing more on the style and thinking about how we could get more people to think about sustainability. I wanted to think of a way where people would feel like they had another reason to buy into the brand, rather than just the look of the garments. It worked out well, but it was more of an experiment, to be fair.
Indre: When we started, we ordered around five samples and I think we were one of the first brands in London to go out into the streets and make TikTok’s around the brand. TikTok was just rising and it was becoming more and more popular, so it just clicked. The timing just helped everything and the brand was created because we were conscious about sustainability and we couldn’t find pieces from brands ourselves that we felt 100% comfortable wearing. We felt that although there were a couple of brands working sustainably, there wasn’t enough.
“We would never compromise the idea of the brand. Even from shipping bags, everything is completely degradable, and even the shipping options, we always use the eco-friendly option.”
What designers have inspired you the most?
Žvikas : Kanye West. He is such a big inspiration for all of us.
Narbutaitė: It’s just his [Kanye’s] mindset and the way he creates and sees everything. Also, Travis Scott, at the time of our launch, Travis was going heavy on collaborations and that was something we were paying close attention to.
Žvikas: In the beginning, we saw that there was nothing new, so we wanted to create something different and new out of what was available to us. We took inspiration from Kanye West, Travis Scott, and Cactus Jack, but the idea was to rework it completely differently and create a garment that people would love. One of the main inspirations is space and the universe which was crucial for the brand and I think people recognize us for that now. We kind of found our aesthetic over time, it was quite quick — for other people, it takes years.
“We were always in the world of fashion, but we never thought we could be part of it. We always thought we would be spectators from the side.”
The term “sustainable” is thrown around a lot these days. So, as a label that prides itself on its sustainability factors, what do you have in place that is different from other brands?
Žvikas : In the first place, every decision we make needs to be produced with sustainability first. Let’s say we want to create a new product, we need to choose the fabrics, so we take our time and choose the most sustainably-made fabric — no matter how long it takes. We would never compromise the idea of the brand. Even from shipping bags, everything is completely degradable, and even the shipping options, we always use the eco-friendly option. Our hoodies — everything is made from 100% organic cotton, and prints are also biodegradable. We use recycled polyester and recycled plastic for our sunglasses — we always make sure that everything is coming from that end.
Also, with every drop that we produce, we also include a special “Friends and Family” garment that we only produce 15 units of. The only way you can get it is through a raffle and each ticket is £3 GBP and you can enter as many times as you want. If you get picked and you win the piece. Then all of the money that is raised through the raffles goes to the Broken Planet Foundation. We have been raising through this foundation for a while now, and once we reach our target, we want to go abroad to some unfortunate locations where people are in need to help fix problems that are out of their control — we’ve raised £70,000 GDP so far.
“We don’t even mention our sustainability anymore. We don’t do it to make sure we get sales, we just use sustainability to help our thought process internally and to know that’s how we make decisions.”
What have you got in place to ensure Broken Planet Market keeps in line with future seasons and trends as they change?
Žvikas : It’s funny you mention that, because we had a conversation with our sample developer today, and we have been curating so many sketches on our iPad that we are waiting to bring to life. They’re not heavy on graphics, but they’re more custom shapes and something unique. Anyone can make a hoodie, but we’re looking into more outerwear and new silhouettes that aren’t out there at the moment.
Narbutaitė: We hate trends — that’s a fact. As people that don’t like fast fashion, we can say that confidently. But of course, this is fashion, and trends do come around. We’re looking to create garments that can last forever. When looking back, we have always had graphic hoodies that have constantly been rotated in our wardrobes. You can always work around what is trending, but we are looking to create pieces that sit around current trends, but through our lens, and that last for 10 or more years. We try to steer away from the concept of “I can’t wear this if it’s not trendy next year,” as you have to think about where the garments end up afterward. So we will continue to create styles that are focused on space and shapes, and continue to hone in on our voice while extending our mainline garments. There’s so much we haven’t explored yet and I think we can do so much more.
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