Uniting Canada's Largest Climbing Community

LOV – Redefining Climbing Style

Launched in 2019, LOV is looking to inject some much-needed style and passion into the current cookie-cutter climbing clothing market.

We caught up with Joe Kinder and Lindsey Tjian-Kinder, the owners of LOV, and discussed motivation, style and the desire to give back to the climbing community.
  •  LOV – Unconventional by Design

    LOV – Unconventional by Design

Congratulations on the launch of the new company. Can you tell us about LOV and your motivation for starting the brand?
Joe: As a professional climber in my prior years, I always had to adhere to a brand's image. I kind of hated that and struggled with how it felt and how limiting it was. My sincerity shines when I decide how to represent myself in my clothes, my words and my vibe. Sponsorship was always limiting in this respect. Lindsey and I see our interests as different from what's out there, and we'd like to add something new and original. Our interests and plans are utterly inclusive and involve way more than just us – it's about everyone. We want LOV to be the catalyst to move these ideas forward. Starting a brand became an obsession about three years ago. It's now the seed we've planted, and we'll nurture it to grow as large as possible. 
  •  Lindsey Tjian-Kinder co-owner of LOV

    Lindsey Tjian-Kinder co-owner of LOV

  •  Lindsey Tjian-Kinder co-owner of LOV

    Lindsey Tjian-Kinder co-owner of LOV

  •  Lindsey Tjian-Kinder co-owner of LOV

    Lindsey Tjian-Kinder co-owner of LOV

  •  Lindsey Tjian-Kinder co-owner of LOV

    Lindsey Tjian-Kinder co-owner of LOV

Lindsey: For me, the motivation for building LOV directly correlates to my obsession with style and my constant need to create and tweak things to stand out from mainstream conformities.
 
I have been very fortunate to work in the fashion industry, the apparel industry and the commercial print marketing world for over 15 years. And like Joe, I realized that doing your job doesn't always coincide with your beliefs. I constantly had to conform to looks that were a far cry from my personal style to get paid. I still managed to exude my personality, but in the end, I always had to jump through some hoops. I am a very detail-oriented person, and I've always had a very versatile look that never entirely fit into any single category. I'm something of a chameleon in that regard! 

Apparel is something constant in our lives as we rely on it for many practical and emotional reasons. During my youth, thrift and vintage shopping (and all kinds of fashion) became a way for me to express my personality.

One of the main goals in launching this brand with Joe was to work towards creating something different, but inclusive. We had been bouncing business ideas around since we started dating, and LOV just evolved organically. It encompasses our love for style and apparel. We know we have a creative eye, gravitate toward aesthetics and enjoy storytelling. So when life took an unexpected turn, it was time to zero in on these commonalities – that shared LOV and interests.
  •  GIMME A REASON Collection Boone Speed

    GIMME A REASON Collection Boone Speed

  •  GIMME A REASON Collection Josune Bereziartu

    GIMME A REASON Collection Josune Bereziartu

  •  GIMME A REASON Collection Ron Kauk

    GIMME A REASON Collection Ron Kauk

  •  GIMME A REASON Collection Lisa Rands

    GIMME A REASON Collection Lisa Rands

You have an interesting business model where you offer product collections that celebrate certain universal climbing themes. Your first collection is labelled GIMME A REASON. Fill us in on the inspiration for the collection and the reasons behind choosing the climbers and the respective images that are featured on the shirts.
Joe: GIMME A REASON is the first of a two-part introduction to the brand. The four people in the collection are climbing icons that changed my life. They gave me a reason to be better as a person and influenced me in positive ways that continue to today. HERSTORY is the second collection. It's similar, but it instead highlights the climbers that influenced Lindsey and inspired her to climb. 

These two collections are simply us saying, "Hello, this is us. Nice to meet you. This is what we are about, and we are here to create things we all believe in." 

The donation aspect is something we are excited about as well because we want our collections to be bigger than us. Our end goal is to offer grants to people who have an interesting story that we can tell through a collection of goods and media. There are no confines to our products, and the stories could be as unique as a kid trying to pay his college tuition. We want to help that kid if the story coincides with our ethos and embodies authenticity and community. We all have an interesting story, and we see everyone on a similar path. To be better. 
We want to consider our community first and tell the stories that resonate with that community. Donating will be part of our brand and an attribute in specific collections.
  •  GIMME A REASON Collection Josune Bereziartu detail

    GIMME A REASON Collection Josune Bereziartu detail

  •  GIMME A REASON Collection Boone Speed detail

    GIMME A REASON Collection Boone Speed detail

  •  GIMME A REASON Collection Ron Kauk detail

    GIMME A REASON Collection Ron Kauk detail

  •  GIMME A REASON Collection Lisa Rands detail

    GIMME A REASON Collection Lisa Rands detail

Speaking of images, on the website you mentioned that all the photos/prints for the shirts were donated for this project. Who were the photographers who donated their work, and how did you get them on board with this project?
Joe: Correct. All the images were donated, and we are very grateful. The donation aspect comes full circle. This is one attribute that Ron Kauk taught me – the cycle of inspiration. It's lovely. We simply explained the idea to the photographers and the climbers in the images, and everyone was immediately interested. It felt good knowing there was buy-in from all parties involved, and the instant support boosted our confidence in the project. I mean, we doing something that's never been done before. I could understand if there was some reluctance, but there was none, and everyone was down.
  •  LOV – Unconventional by Design

    LOV – Unconventional by Design

  •  LOV – Unconventional by Design

    LOV – Unconventional by Design

  •  LOV – Unconventional by Design

    LOV – Unconventional by Design

  •  LOV – Unconventional by Design

    LOV – Unconventional by Design

Many companies today are promoting initiatives aimed at giving back to the broader climbing community. You guys are doing something similar, but are taking it a whole new level. Care to share details?
Lindsey: We see what other companies are doing and respect it a million times over. Big companies have huge audiences, tons of money and also have to abide by the brand they've created. In a way, they inevitably get funnelled into a model that they've created or the audience creates for them. The narrative seems almost out of their hands. We want to consider our community first and tell the stories that resonate with that community. Donating will be part of our brand and an attribute in specific collections. 
  •  Joe Kinder co-owner of LOV

    Joe Kinder co-owner of LOV

  •  Joe Kinder co-owner of LOV

    Joe Kinder co-owner of LOV

  •  Joe Kinder co-owner of LOV

    Joe Kinder co-owner of LOV

  •  Joe Kinder co-owner of LOV

    Joe Kinder co-owner of LOV

Ok, now that we know some things about LOV, how about you tell us who's involved with the company? 
Lindsey: It's simply just us! Joe and Lindsey.
Can you tell us about the upcoming collections and some of the individuals that they'll feature?
Joe: We don't want to give away specifics because that's part of the fun! But, the second collection is called HERSTORY and is going to be amazing. I'm ecstatic about it. We have an up-cycle line coming, which will be small but beautiful. It will be a real hands-on experience. Lindsey has taught me how to sew on a machine and embroider by hand. You can see more about the future collections on the site, and I urge anyone reading this to check it out. 
 
Lindsey: You can expect something similar to our first collection, but with a few tweaks. Different heroes and small detail changes. Can't say much more than that!
  •  LOV – Unconventional by Design

    LOV – Unconventional by Design

  •  LOV – Unconventional by Design

    LOV – Unconventional by Design

  •  LOV – Unconventional by Design

    LOV – Unconventional by Design

  •  LOV – Unconventional by Design

    LOV – Unconventional by Design

How do you see your product line evolving?
Joe: Great question! This is what I think we are most excited about. Throughout the brand's evolution, the product will always remain true to healthy labour laws, eco-friendly materials and likely made in the USA. We'd like to introduce other garments that function for the climber and embody a collector's mentality in terms of style. We love fashion and are big advocates of pleasing aesthetics. I'd say our products will become something very different and unique from the things you see in the typical outdoor retail stores. 
 
Lindsey: Yes, what Joe said! But I also want to add that we hope to reach beyond the climbing community. Our pieces are intriguing and will appeal to anyone! 

A huge part of our small-batch collections is that each piece is unique and one-of-a-kind. We get our hands dirty during the creation of each piece. What I'm most excited about for our future collections is upcycling. My addiction to vintage/thrift shopping started at a very young age. Many times vintage clothes didn't fit right, so mending and re-shaping things has always been an inherent hobby. Crafting is indelibly melded into me. I love giving a new life to old threads. Making a piece of art that can be worn functionally, originally and ethically while telling a fresh story is a dream come true. And all while giving back! Shit, now that's tite!
  •  Fynnegan, LOV mascot and all-around good dog.

    Fynnegan, LOV mascot and all-around good dog.

On a lighter note, LOV is a dog-friendly work environment – yes or no?
Joe:
Of course!!! Fynnegan is our source of calm and happiness.
 
Lindsey:
Absolutely! Fynn turns nine this week. We are thinking of cloning him!
  •  Joe Kinder and Lindsey Tjian-Kinder

    Joe Kinder and Lindsey Tjian-Kinder

Ok, enough with the business talk. Any upcoming climbing trips?
Joe: Right now we are staying in the USA and climbing as usual. No trips for a bit as we need to be present to fill the orders we have coming in. I guess it's a catch-22. The upside is that since we're staying in one place, we've had the time to focus on and send some of our hardest climbs! 
 
Lindsey: Yep, what Joe said. Staying local is important right now. We talk about hundreds of places we want to visit or return to, but for now, we are focusing on the next collections and trying to find that work-climb-craft-balance. We're in a good place!
You can find out more about LOV at www.withlov.org.

Join the discussion of this and other climbing related stories at www.ontarioclimbing.com/forum/
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Gus Alexandropoulos is a freelance writer who has been involved in the outdoor industry for over 25 years. During his career he has been the editor at Canada’s national climbing magazine, as well as the gear editor for a national cycling magazine, triathlon magazine and running magazine. His work has been published in Canada’s national newspaper, The Globe and Mail, and he has been a guest on television and radio broadcasts. His passion for climbing began in Ontario in the mid 80s and he continues to travel extensively in search of crisp conditions and steep rock.