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Kristina Kristina

Kristina

On Sustainability

To continue our Stockholm Fashion Week celebration, we decided to pick the brain of our CEO and Creative Director, Kristina Lindhe for a three-part series. We discussed the latest on Lexington Company’s work with sustainability, digitalization and the future of brick and mortars. Naturally, we’re kicking off the series with a conversation about the heart of our business — sustainability.

What does sustainability mean to you?

For me, sustainability is about long-lasting products. Products that get better with time the more you use them. Products that you can pass on through generations. That's really the most sustainable product you can own. Every time you produce something new, even if it is recycled, there’s still a production process involved. It is always, in some ways, the production of a new item that makes the product less sustainable. Simply put, investing in sustainable products that have a long lifespan is the most sustainable option for everyone. Lexington has always stood for that.
In what ways does sustainability permeate the Lexington brand and design?

Sustainability is in Lexington's DNA, specifically because our products are classic and last a long time. Our vision is also sustainable. Our goal since the inception of Lexington has been to create products that will live on, perhaps with new, proud and satisfied owners - the next generation of family and friends

Our products are carefully thought out in terms of both design and quality in order to be durable and achieve maximum longevity. Sustainability our commitment and responsibility.
What role does design (the aesthetics) play in sustainability?

Lexington works sustainably, and our sustainability efforts are fully integrated into the design and product development process. When designing, we consider sustainability from the beginning. It’s one of the first steps in the collection planning process. This approach influences the choice of material and not necessarily the shape. Instead of designing a sweater that can only be made in an unsustainable material, we choose to create a different, yet sustainable sweater.

For instance, we do not have fur in our collection, we don’t buy merino wool from suppliers who practice mulesing, we mostly use recycled down for our pillows and never use down picked from live birds in our down jackets.

Lexington’s timelessness also adds to the sustainability of a product. We work with classic products that are long-lasting, and that is also part of our design process.

What is your opinion on the statement “sustainable fashion is synonymous with expensive”?

It has been the case that sustainable materials have been more expensive, but that is changing as demand is growing. So those materials won’t be as expensive in the future. But in the meantime, I don’t think we should be comparing the price point of sustainable products with that of fast fashion. I think the customers should ask, “what went wrong for this product to cost as little as it does?” When something is cheap, there’s always someone along the chain who doesn’t get paid. That someone is usually the craftsmen and women. The materials have a set price, but high-quality products require excellent craftsmanship that takes time, which is what we pay for.

Consequently, excellent craftsmanship is one of the things that make for long-lasting and high-quality products. So, if one would crunch the numbers for the price over time, the high-quality, long-lasting product will not be more expensive than a cheaper product that would, most likely, not stand the test of time. That’s why I would love it if more customers started asking what happens when a product is cheap.
What sustainable goals do you have for the next 10 years?

Our goal for 2030 is to offer high-quality products made in 100 percent sustainable materials that have a long lifespan. We believe this is the best way to reduce the climate footprint of products. We want to do this by developing innovative, sustainable materials together with the manufacturers we’ve had a long relationship with.

To achieve this goal, we start by choosing sustainable materials whenever possible. It’s not always possible today, as there aren’t enough sustainable materials available. For instance, there isn’t enough organic cotton to go around. But the industry is getting there. As the end consumer demand for these sustainable materials increases, so will the supply.

What innovative steps are you taking to be more sustainable in your design/production process?

We do not own any manufacturing companies; we collaborate with suppliers who take sustainability issues seriously. Most of our production takes place in Europe, but regardless of where a production unit is located, we carefully select those we work with. We have longstanding relationships with several of our suppliers which gives us the opportunity to develop new sustainable materials.

Our partners have, for instance, reduced water consumption by 50 percent and achieved great results in the recycling of residual products. For example, one of our suppliers turns the waste from towel production into pellets that can be used to fire up a grill or a stove. Another supplier found a way to become energy self-sufficient and can even sell the leftover electricity to the city.

Besides exclusively working with sustainable suppliers, we also work with our packaging. As I mentioned earlier, we’re also trying to reduce our climate footprint by following the current recommendations in regard to plastic packaging. As online shopping becomes the norm for customers, packaging becomes problematic for every brand.
What is Lexington doing to address that issue?

We work actively to reduce the number of returns, and we choose environmentally sustainable packaging and transportation materials. The goal for 2020 is to continue to reduce the return rate to less than 10%. We’re doing this by, first, improving our communication about the products on the website. This will help customers understand what they’re getting. Secondly, we’re analyzing customer feedback and data and adapting accordingly.

Another way we’re trying to reduce the climate impact of online shopping is by advising customers to return goods in stores, instead of sending them back whenever possible. We also offer our e-commerce customers shipping options that allow them to make informed choices to reduce climate impact.

But that’s not all. Our policy is to never fly goods. That has always been our policy when it comes to transporting products from suppliers. It is in the most extreme cases that we have flown in goods, but we always look at other solutions, such as trains, before we choose flights.
All of these actions should help us tackle the packaging issue that comes with the increase in online shopping.

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