“Think about a chef within the kitchen. He opens the fridge, sees what’s there and tries to profit from it till the final bit,” sums up Jean Cassegrain, president of Longchamp, presenting his firm’s new sustainability effort, Le Pliage Re-Play, on this interview with Status.
After almost 30 years of manufacturing the world’s beloved origami-inspired foldable bag, the remaining inventory of nylon canvas and leather-based in a rainbow-worthy spectrum of colors galvanised the design studio.
“The problem was to do one thing that’s new, completely different and artistic from the outdated supplies. Some colors could have a much bigger amount than others. I believe it’s attention-grabbing for the designers to work inside these constraints,” Cassegrain opines.
The eco-conscious enterprise to increase the lifespan of its end-of-the-roll supplies turned what would have been waste into Le Pliage Re-Play, an exuberant capsule assortment wearing a complete of 9 vibrant colourways. Comprising a vertical tote, a small shoulder bag, and a belt pouch, every model combines three completely different colors, full with the signature Russian leather-based trim. Manufacturing lasts so long as there are leftover shares, making every bag a limited-edition.
GREEN LEAP FORWARD
Endowing remaining textiles a brand new lease of life is simply the newest follow-up to Longchamp’s longstanding dedication to environmentally-responsible practices.
Cassegrain is proud to share that the Parisian home has met its objective of changing your entire Le Pliage manufacturing to make use of recycled polyamide this 12 months, a landmark achievement in its initiatives to chop down on carbon affect. In search of a sustainable different to its hard-wearing nylon canvas, then making a full swap, was no stroll within the park.
Not like virgin fibre constructed from petroleum, a non-renewable supply, recycled polyamide is derived from a spread of sources that features fishing nets, carpets, pre-consumer waste from articles resembling nylon stockings, in addition to offcuts from the textile manufacturing course of. The water is recovered, handled then reprocessed into polyamide fibre, then yarn, and eventually polyamide canvas. It’s backed by International Recycled Commonplace (GRS) certification and comprises between 70% and 100% recycled fibres.
“No matter’s constructed from polyamide might be recycled to create new polyamide. This reduces the carbon affect of a Le Pliage bag by 20%, and on the finish, you could have the very same product as earlier than, at the very same high quality, degree of sturdiness, with the identical feel and look, the identical properties – it’s waterproof, washable and foldable,” Cassegrain explains. “It makes a big affect as a result of this isn’t an experiment. It’s an industrial undertaking to transform your entire Pliage manufacturing – that’s 1000’s and 1000’s of items on a regular basis – to make use of recycled polyamide.”
However that’s not the one feather in Longchamp’s cap. It additionally hit its goal of achieving gold certification by Leather-based Working Group (LWG) for 100% of its leather-based, forward of the 2023 deadline. “In 2021, we have been already 99% LWG-certified of which, half of our provide was gold-certified, which is the very best doable degree that exists within the leather-based trade when it comes to sustainability,” provides Cassegrain. Completely a by-product of the meals trade, these hides are responsibly produced as a part of the round financial system by companion tanneries audited by LWG based mostly on elements of environmental efficiency starting from traceability and chemical management to power consumption and waste administration.
On prime of that, no unique skins nor fur have been utilized in its collections since 2018.
“And the following objective, set for 2023, is to make all of the canvas that we use from recycled fibre. Not just for the Pliage, this may embody a few of our baggage collections which have textile lining, which can be going to be modified to recycled fibre.”
Regardless of a stellar report pushed by subtle improvements, Cassegrain makes his final goal clear.
“You possibly can give you a cloth that’s tremendous sustainable, but when your luggage are going to wear down and should be disposed inside six months, the completed product is just not sustainable as a result of it’s wasteful. It’s sustainable when a bag can provide you 5, 10, 20 years of use,” Cassegrain factors out. “We don’t need to compromise on high quality, as a result of we consider that an important factor that we are able to do for the surroundings, is to construct luggage which are going to final lengthy.”
The family-owned enterprise ensures their luggage stand the check of time by offering restore, usually free-of-charge. The in-house service, which restores round 30,000 Le Pliage luggage a 12 months, has grow to be an integral a part of ongoing initiatives to guard the surroundings.
“We’ve been doing repairs for so long as the corporate existed,” Cassegrain lets on. “Many manufacturers don’t provide it as a result of they don’t seem to be producers like us. We have now a library of supplies in our workshop at Segré that goes again many, a few years. We have now the supplies and the spare elements that allow the women who work within the restore centre to repair any product they obtain.”
He concludes: “There’s nothing extra sustainable than to proceed utilizing the identical product.”
Longchamp’s considerate environmentally-friendly practices lengthen to a company-wide endeavour. “Artisans have a sure mindset as a result of an artisan doesn’t like wastage. An artisan is respectful of the supplies that he makes use of. An artisan understands that to have good leather-based, you want cows raised in a sustainable means.” Cassegrain believes that this ethos comes naturally to an artisan. It’s deeply ingrained in the best way his firm operates as each division are on the identical web page.
“The designers initiated Le Pliage Re-Play. The patrons who supply for uncooked supplies work with suppliers and the tanneries to enhance sustainability. The logistics workforce takes care to minimise carbon footprint as they transfer merchandise around the globe.”
To additional scale back CO2 emissions, transport or journey by air is eschewed. Sea is most well-liked to convey items. Since 2019, Longchamp’s personnel has been taking the prepare for brief journeys which are lower than 4 hours. As well as, merchandise are manufactured near markets the place they’re offered to additional trim down transport-related emissions.
Longchamp’s state-of-the-art workshop at Pouzauges have accommodated charging factors for electrical vehicles. Whereas workshops have been designed to harness maximises the advantages of pure gentle, with intelligent insulation, heating and air-conditioning options put in to restrict power consumption, they’re additionally geared up with energy-efficient LED lighting. Retail shops are following swimsuit. What’s extra, plastic coating from paper packaging have been eradicated in an effort to facilitate recycling in 2018, prioritising on FSC-certified paper from sustainably managed forests.
Longchamp’s dedication to sustainability remained steadfast through the Covid-19 pandemic, debuting the Econyl-oriented Inexperienced District line in August 2020, adopted quickly by My Pliage Signature in 100% recycled polyester. The primary Le Pliage to be crafted in recycled polyamide was launched in July 2021.
Enterprise, although, took successful, as with many different corporations when the world went into lockdown. In the present day, a number of the airport shops have but to reopen. However the setback did little to dampen spirits. As Cassegrain pivoted to work-from-home mode, he purchased an indoor coach, in addition to a bicycle with bullhorn bars for the times he went to the workplace. Even until now, workers in Paris’ headquarters works from dwelling two days every week.
“It’s one of many pandemic’s lasting impacts on the best way we work. We’ve grow to be extra nimble, we’ve been in a position to handle initiatives and hold issues going remotely, which wouldn’t have appeared doable prior to now,” he displays. “I believe we now have learnt the exhausting means the values of flexibility and agility to adapt to conditions altering from sooner or later to a different. The pandemic made these advantages very apparent.”
It additionally led Longchamp to speed up its international e-commerce plans. The positioning for Singapore launched in December 2020, with the provide of dwelling supply inside one to a few working days (with a minimal spend) or the Click on and Acquire possibility. “Shoppers who weren’t used to purchasing on-line experimented through the pandemic, and have adopted this fashion of procuring.”
Provides Mollie Jean De Dieu, basic supervisor of Longchamp Singapore and Malaysia: “Individuals grew to become extra depending on e-commerce for his or her purchases. Because the development for omnichannel grows, on-line & offline gross sales complement one another. E-commerce orders don’t see a decline at the same time as spending will increase in-store, with a 55% uptick in gross sales in comparison with final 12 months.”
With 2023 marking Longchamp’s diamond jubilee, Cassegrain units his sights on international progress and improvement. “Two of my sons are actually working with me, in order that’s the fourth technology operating the corporate. Our long-term objective is to make sure stability as the corporate grows for the following generations, not solely the following quarter.”
All the time dapper in sensible fits, the 57-year-old is kind of the #fitspo (that’s the stylish hashtag for “match inspiration”), collaborating in triathlons as latest because the eleventh version of the Deauville Normandy Triathlon in June. He as soon as put collectively a relay workforce of 52 folks from France, america and China for the 2016 Garmin Triathlon de Paris Ile-de-France that befell within the coronary heart of Paris, as a part of Longchamp’s team-building actions. “We truly gained the company cup!” he enthuses, earlier than revealing that the trophy was truly awarded based mostly on the variety of contributors.
It’s the hassle invested in triathlons that piques his curiosity. “It exhibits that it’s good to work exhausting to get outcomes as a result of there’s all that coaching that comes earlier than the race. It’s important to be disciplined to work in a gentle method for a very long time. I assume that’s additionally the lesson for enterprise.”
Seems to be like that gameplan will stand Longchamp in good stead in the direction of its seventy fifth, and plenty of extra anniversaries forward.