Rapolas Vosylius ir Petras Navickas

Founders of creative initiative labàdienà


Visitors and locals alike, walking the streets of Vilnius over the last few years, have often found themselves wondering what “labàdienà” means. This is the brilliance behind the guerrilla-marketing campaign that bears the labàdienà name: an innocuous poster or spray-painted stencil found on some wall in Vilnius’ old town, an answer to a mysterious question. Is it a social movement? Radical art? Or something else altogether? Passport reveals the answer in the following interview:

What exactly is labàdienà?

labàdienà is an initiative that promotes an eco-friendly environment and neighbourly interaction. Because our products express our philosophy, we seek consumers who share our positive outlook and are looking for more than a standard brand. What began with one great Lithuanian word has grown into a variety of contemporary street apparel. Our inspiration? The Lithuanian countryside and its sacred, pagan roots, with its ancient fairy tales that grow less and less remembered by every passing generation, heavily influence our products.

Tell us a little more about the transition from idea to product.

In the beginning, we had no idea that labàdienà would turn into what it is now, but we all shared this feeling that the general mood around us was a pessimistic one, and we decided that something needed to be done, that there needed to be some sort of “reaction.” We were toying with a few ideas when someone brought up the beautiful Lithuanian phrase “laba diena” (a polite way to say hello). Something about the phrase struck us, and we decided to see what we could do with it. In the end, we agreed to make stickers and posters emblazoned with the word labàdienà to distribute and post around the Vilnius old town, just to test the waters and see what the reaction would be. The goal of this first action was to lift people’s spirits and remind them that one kind word can be enough to make someone smile.

Do you really believe you can make some sort of impact?

A friend of ours once told us a story about how, while walking in the street, he was surprised when some strangers greeted him with a cheery, “Laba diena!” Strangers, people he didn’t know! It was only when he realized he was wearing one of our t-shirts that he understood. The people had recognized the letter “à” from our graphic and had greeted him because they connected it with the posters and stickers they had seen earlier. The fact that a simple thing like a t-shirt can make someone’s day more positive encourages us to continue.

What’s something that people often underestimate?

The value of an idea. We believe that clothes should be something more than just clothes to our customers. We want to imbue the things people wear every day with a meaning, strong message or idea. While people are critical of “brands” today, the original application indicated quality. You’d buy a “brand” because you knew that the product was of a higher quality than some other “brand.” We want to bring this back.

So what now? What’s the next step?

We’re trying to evolve and think more broadly, to expand. In some cases, our ideas have to be adapted to different fields of interest, but it’s good to step outside our comfort zone. It encourages us to create something more than clothing.

What’s the key to success?

You have to do what you love and love what you do!

The goal of this first action was to lift people’s spirits and remind them that one kind word can be enough to make someone smile.

Rapolas Vosylius ir Petras Navickas

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