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A sustainable direction

Progressive Swedish menswear brand L’HOMME ROUGE introduce a new sourcing standard to minimize environmental impact as well as a new genderless capsule collection exclusively for one of the world’s leading retailers.

Words Johan Magnusson

L’HOMME ROUGE was started by a group of friends as a creative hub when they were in university. The first clothing collection was released in 2013.

— It was a creative platform where we could do more or less anything. We did some knitted wool hats that really took off among the students and that’s how it all started… says Co-founder John-Ruben Holtback. Over time, we’ve become more progressive and have now positioned the brand as one of a few established designer brands within Scandinavian menswear with continuous features in the international press.

Why is that do you think? What stands out with your brand?

— There’s a fragility to L’HOMME ROUGE that is unique. The cut and silhouette are tactile and we use soft and quite feminine materials, which we like to interpret in imaginative ways, such as deconstruction of formal wear. On top of this, there’s a lot of ”Swedishness” and storytelling to the brand that I think is very rare.

For Fall/Winter 2019, you take a new and sustainable direction. What’s the background for this?

— It’s quite simple. From the very start, we’ve had a focus to deliver a quality product that has a minimum of environmental footprint. But we never spoke out to the public about these sustainability engagements, since we were never able to audit our full supply chain, being a small brand. We considered this being a problem. But we realized we were so wrong; being small is not at all a drawback but rather a huge advantage in this aspect. We’ve been able to do changes to our assortment in five months that bigger brands hope to put in place in five or ten years. And since the customers and brands put such pressure on the suppliers to get certified, it’s a lot easier to follow up and audit your supply chain today compared to only three years ago.

The most common fiber in the AW19 collection is Tencel, followed by recycled cotton and hemp. All these materials only use a fraction of water, land and pesticides in production compared to conventional cotton.

— In order for the fashion industry to stay relevant, it requires drastic change. This is a fact, Holtback states. There are two major keys to improve the industry’s sustainable outlook. First, we need to increase the life span of products. This mainly means that we need to make sure that we have a well-working market for second hand and repairing garments. Secondly, we have to put the options of recycling, upcycling or even composting into place and in this field, we are introducing a few new concepts this fall. Last but not least, everything new that is produced needs to be so with minimal environmental impact. Therefore, we’ve developed a sourcing standard that applies to our whole collection that focuses on minimizing the mentioned use of land, water and pesticides in textile production.

With the reduced environmental impact, this fall also sees a new and reduced L’HR logotype that will be used for marketing, in addition to the regular logo. This comes with a full rebranding and a new graphic profile to really lead the way on this new era of the brand. But, not to worry — the brand ethos will remain.

— Next step will be to develop new materials and really speed up the whole industry when it comes to increasing garment lifespan, says Holtback. We’re also currently looking into some interesting collaborations both in terms of new interesting product categories as well as more sustainability-related projects.

And speaking of collaborations, you have a special one for this fall.

— There will be a little something extra for our female following as we’ll have a gender-neutral capsule collection that we’ll release exclusively with SSENSE and through our own channels in October.

February 4, 2019

L’HOMME ROUGE will show at Scandinavian MAN Arena, Mäster Samuelsgatan 42, tonight on Monday February 4th.