Team: Ruxandra Lupu, Laetitia Barbu-Ünlü



Nautika Concept is a creative and digital project that promotes cultural and environmental education and awareness through culturally meaningful children design clothes.

  • Nautika Design is the children clothes business line that focuses on innovation, sustainability, education and environmental awareness. It is above all a special “souvenir” product for tourists to buy and take home or offer, as it is connected to the local identity of the visited territory.
  • Nautika Education is the educational and awareness rising business line focusing on achieving social inclusion through innovative cultural education. It operates mainly through the concept of Nautika Design and is completed by printed stories that accompany the product and online digital resources. As a long-term strategy, it aims to also co-organize workshops and trainings that offer an alternative creative & artistic education.

Through its souvenir selling strategy that targets the tourism sector, Nautika promotes local tourism destinations and environments by partnering with local shops, associations and tourism actors and contributing therefore to developing local economies.

Its designs are aimed to reverse the side effects of globalization, such as the impoverishment of cultural specificities by highlighting those specificities through symbols, values and traditional concepts and therefore contributing to social cohesion through a better cultural understanding. Nautika patterns are often highly linked with environment, cultural and natural aspects, and address actual challenges as well as preservation issues, touching upon the awareness of environmental problems. Nautika’s uniqueness lies above all in the innovative education process. By wearing locally specific products, children connect better to local values and concepts and develop a better understanding of cultures different to their own. The stories we attach to our dresses through our leaflets act like a sort of “mind openers”, inviting families and children to look further and discover more about a visited place, but also give them the opportunity to learn further through our internet platform and the resources and links that we provide. Moreover, as a long-term strategy, Nautika intends to co-organize workshops by partnering with local craftsmen, artists, designers etc, in order to support the development of alternative creative and artistic education, a sector that is facing numerous challenges in many countries, through drastic cuts in public education.

Key activities

Nautika Design: Production and distribution of children design clothes

Original locally-inspired collections
Nautika offers “clothes with a meaning”. We want to prove that quality design and responsibility can go hand in hand when it comes to offering the best to our children. For this reason we developed a business line that offers handmade, high-quality clothes for children AND are connected to different geographical territories through unique patterns and their stories.

Product categories
Nautika has at the moment 5 products (dresses, şalvar, shorts, shirts and the kaftan), in the following age ranges: 6 months, 1-2 years, 3-4 years, 5-6 years, 7-8 years. Each category is divided into local collections. At the moment we have three local collections: Sicily, Aegean Turkey and France, and many opportunities to spread through several other destinations.

Nautika Education: digital space for innovative education
“A spark of inspiration for a sustainable future”

Nautika Education is meant to act as an open creative space where several activities and resources are combined to help and foster the learning and experimentation spirit of communities (locals and also tourists).

The Nautika platform operates as a repository of knowledge. The digital repository of information offered by Nautika is composed of an online space for children, where they can access and understand the local stories and the Nautika blog, where we will post information on our collections, the stories of our products and more material on the territories we touch through the Nautika collections. The digital space is closely connected and feeds into our social media channels, offering an interactive model for sharing opinions and learning about territories. For its long-term startegy, Nautika plans to structure the digital material available through its online space in order to complement the information available through the co-organized workshops and laboratories. This vision becomes essential in the context of a public education system that is less and less supportive of artistic and creative formation and where co-organized workshops and laboratories can become the backbone of an alternative education system. In this sense Nautika will form strategic partnerships with creatives and institutions, but also unconventional partners such as regional natural parks, environment associations and incoming structures (hotels and B&Bs) in order to co-organize educational and creative events. The main aim is not that of opening up a central laboratory where all Nautika events take place, but to collaborate with different artists or institutions and co-organize them (offer consulting services in setting up the event, producing learning materials and advertising to customers). By being locally rooted (Sicily, France, Turkey, Romania etc) and having worked for several countries, Nautika laboratories tap into the local knowledge of territories and aim to close a generational gap, which contributes to the extinction of valuable and unique crafts and traditions.

About the team

Ruxandra Lupu was born in Romania in 1985. With a BA in economics (RO) and a BA+MA in fine arts (IT), she worked three years as a marketing analyst in Romania, doing secondary research and another seven years in Italy as an independent consultant for arts, heritage and tourism projects. As an artist and consultant, her work explores the fine boundary between art, heritage, technology and tourism through inter-disciplinary projects that promote a more creative and participatory worldview. She expresses this vision by combining critical thinking and creative work, presenting them at exhibitions and conferences (From storytelling to story doing – the dematerialization of authenticity in contemporary cultural tourism strategies, ITINEREM project, April 2015, Mallorca, and Locating imagination: popular culture, tourism and belonging, April 2017, Rotterdam). Educated both as a marketing specialist and visual artist, Ruxandra is the advocate of a world shaped by artistic education, through which a more inclusive and flourishing society can be built. Therefore, she tries through her activity to develop projects and get involved in initiatives that foster creative thinking through an alternative and more efficient education.

Ruxandra is currently a PhD researcher at the Centre for World Cinemas and Digital Cultures, University of Leeds, exploring the potential of home movies in cultural and creative industries, and more specifically the role of belonging in shaping a different vision on cultural identity through community life. Her research interests revolve around the audiovisual and oral heritage and its capacity to interrelate with memory. Her work involves a substantial part of field research in Sicily, that works on audiovisual heritage as a an alternative view on cultural identity and a practice-based part that makes creative use of technology in order to express the sensoriality (haptic potential) of the material.

Laetitia Barbu-Ünlü
was born in France in 1977. Initially, she graduated from a School of Fine Arts specializing in graphic design and new technologies, she has additional training in tourism development of territories and has worked for a tourism development agency for 6 years. She has initiated to create a special division of the agency dedicated to the management and promotion of heritage, then completed her course by a professional training in technical archaeology (Maritime heritage specialty). Since 2010, she has created her own business, Arkellia agency-network, dedicated to the development and management of the sustainable tourism and heritage promotion sector. The agency brings together a set of independent experts in various fields such as tourism development, sustainable development, economic development, general and European fundraising, environment, architecture and scenography, archaeology, graphic design, web development.

Laetitia is a consultant in sustainable tourism development and heritage promotion. Since 2009 she works for the public and private sector. She is working mainly for innovative, competitive and sustainable projects in the framework of European projects (COSME: VIACERAM, VOYAGE projects) , European cultural itineraries (VIACERAM), and projects in partnership with UNESCO, but also for the development of projects at cross-border, national, regional and local levels in various countries.

Since October 2016 she’s a happy mother of a baby girl, and sharing her life between France and South-west Aegean Turkey where her husband is from.