Sunway and Megi are the two sisters behind the Project Øy. Meaning ‘island’ in Norwegian, Øy started as a reason to work together with friends on a common project.
Why did you guys start Øy?
A rainy day in August last year we were hanging out with a few friends at our family’s cabin. We had a small party celebrating that Megi had just finished med school and that Sunway was back on vacation from her environmental design studies in Australia. We started dressing up in our grandmas’ vintage clothes (she’s been a vintage collector since the 60s) and started experimenting with some photos. The photos turned out weird but somehow great and we got taken away by the thought of that we could turn our passion of experimenting and collaborating with friends into a bigger project.
Starting out, what the biggest challenge?
Starting Øy took way longer than we’d first imagined. The main reason for this vast delay was probably that we believe the clothing industry is a real dirty bastard and we wanted our project to be different. Every step of the process from making the packages sent from us plastic free, to finding the right cotton thread or second-hand wooden button was essential to our project. Our experience from the process of searching for sustainable materials as a small startup company was that there are very few and not a lot of good options. Our vision from the beginning was that we didn’t want to see sustainability as a separate area within Øy, we wanted it to be an integral part of everything we do.
Besides Øy, what do you do for the environment?
Mom has been recycling in an OCD-way as long as we can remember. This obsession has passed on to us and she’s taught us how to make soil out of food compost and to grow veggies, which is good because we rarely eat anything but plant-based food. We both really like leftovers and don’t like to waste food, so we try to always bring a food container whenever we leave the house. We make our own skin products and toothpaste etc. so we don’t have to buy single use plastic.
When traveling, we stay away from laundry services and try not book rooms with aircon. We’re always trying to stretch out our travels by traveling cheap, which results in us dumpster diving, staying with friends, sleeping at airport floors and meeting a lot of interesting people.
Last time we slept at an airport floor we met an interesting guy who owns an island in Sumatra. It turned out that this island also has a huge plastic problem. Soon we’re heading to the island to help educating the children on waste, clean up the ocean surrounding the island and to help developing a system for categorizing and collecting hazardous waste that will be sent back to the mainland.
Where are you heading with your project?
Starting out, we redesigned every piece of vintage clothing before we put it out in the shop. After a while Megi wanted to create earrings and Sunway wanted to focus on photography and design. So, we started to leave the vintage clothes alone and created our own Øy-brand. Our mom is an amazing knitter so at the moment we’re working on various knit designs. We’re trying to find a good Norwegian yarn and textile producer, but the knits will hopefully be out soon. Our main interest within our project is making things and take photos which is what we’ll do more of. Experimentation and collabs with friends have been the fundament of Øy since the beginning and that’s what we’ll continue doing.