Do you live in Amsterdam? Consider yourself lucky!
LENA, an innovative concept established by four future-minded women opened her doors a few months ago! Quality, sharing and re-using are key elements at this fashion library. Just like Kuyichi, the ambitious founders wanted to create more awareness around mass-consumption and inspire others to think before you buy. So many beautiful garments are serving most of their lifetime in a closet and mass-consumption has take over the industry. Together with LENA we believe this is such a needless waste. Instead of buying a garment, LENA is now creating the new possibility of renting one, based on the sharing economy. In this way you update your wardrobe in a responsible manner. Innovative, creative and no need to be bored with this endless closet!
LENA inspired Kuyichi to join this beautiful initiative and its journey. A carefully selected collection of Kuyichi is now available at LENA! We we’re excited to have a inspiring talk with Suzanne, one of the founders, about the vision, ideals and ambitions of LENA.
K: BEFORE LENA WAS ESTABLISHED, THE FOUR OF YOU ALREADY FOUNDED ‘DOORTJE VINTAGE’ IN EINDHOVEN, WITH WHAT IDEALS AND HOW WAS LENA CREATED?
S: As we all know, the fashion industry has been criticized a lot on these days. Mass-consumption has taken over the industry, working conditions of employees are far below standards and the amount of chemicals used in fashion is insanely high. Beside this, our ways of consuming aren’t getting any better too. We all have various beautiful garments in our wardrobe we’ve worn only a few times. This is due to our urge to keep buying and buying, without taking good care of our clothes.
We saw the industry getting only worse, as we kept on stimulating this by our constant need of consuming. Though we believed in the beauty of consuming less and wearing longer. At Doortje Vintage we already focused ourselves on re-using beautiful garments, but we recognized that people even wear second-hand clothes only a few times. This made us think; how cool would it be to have one big closet? A closet you can use whenever you feel like having something new, without leaving an ecological footprint. This was when we created LENA, we believe now is the time to consume more conscious!
K: LENA ONLY COLLABORATES WITH VINTAGE OR SUSTAINABLE LABELS, WHAT HAS TO BE THE GENERAL CONDITION OF CLOTHING BEFORE IT ENDS UP IN LENA?
S: For us it is most important that brands share our vision. Quality is one of the key elements of LENA, as garments can’t be damaged due to a few times in the washer. The quality of these products has to be adequate for re-using. Also a timeless design is very important to us. With new trends coming out every week, the intention of fast fashion is for consumers to buy as many products in a short period of time. With LENA we won’t contribute to this need of buying every trend possible. LENA offers aesthetically balanced brands, which create long-lasting garments that stand the test of time.
K: HOW DOES LENA WANT TO INSPIRE THE ONES AROUND US AND CONTRIBUTE TO SUSTAINABLE AWARENESS?
S: Above all, the goal of LENA is to create awareness with a very positive approach. We believe all the negative criticism on the fashion industry is necessary for sure, but with LENA we want to encourage people to be more conscious in a positive manner. Our story makes people reflect on their own shopping habits and we believe the solution lies in creating new choices for them. With LENA we aim to give a new and approachable possibility to choose conscious without contributing to all the negativity around this subject. This kind of positivity is very important to our identity, our storytelling and us.
Also the overall prices of sustainable brands are quite high, especially compared to fast fashion. A lot of people want to choose conscious, but simply don’t have the recourses and money to make this choice. They find it inspiring to experiment with different brands at LENA. In this way they own experiences rather than things. Sustainability isn’t their number one motivation, though we believe hearing our story will make them more aware of what is happening in the fashion industry. With LENA they buy more consciously and enjoy less.
K: JUST LIKE KUYICHI AS THE FIRST ORGANIC DENIM BRAND EVER, LENA IS A PIONEER IN THE FASHION INDUSTRY, WHAT DOES LENA ASPIRE TO CONTRIBUTE?
S: LENA contributes by approaching the fashion industry in a new way, which is better for the environment, without the consumer having to make more effort. With this, we hope to make consumers think and inspire them to change their consuming habits. As for Kuyichi, it’s most important for LENA to work for the greater good instead of for good profit.
We also hope to inspire designers and brands to go beyond the regular restrains of fashion. So many industries are innovating their sales models, though the fashion industry is very old-fashioned regarding how retail is being handled. We don’t believe the old way of producing and selling is where our world is heading. LENA wants to make conscious living and sharing the norm.
K: KUYICHI IS FULLY TRANSPARENT ABOUT THEIR PRODUCTION PROCESSES, IS THIS SOMETHING LENA EXPECTS FROM ALL THE BRANDS THEY COLLABORATE WITH?
S: When LENA was founded this was our aim. Along the way we discovered there are so little brands that are that innovative. It’s beautiful that Kuyichi is creating the possibility of being fully transparent, but the majority of the fashion industry isn’t ready for full transparency yet. So first of al, we need to level with brands we collaborate with. Besides this we chose to focus LENA on brands that are interested in improving their production processes. We believe in the importance of working together with brands that share our vision. LENA helps several brands improving the level of quality in their company. We have the chance to check the costumers experiences regarding the quality of products at return, where a regular store hasn’t.
K: LAST YEAR LENA ESTABLISHED ITSELF IN THE WESTERSTRAAT, AMSTERDAM. WHAT ARE YOUR AMBITIONS AND EXPECTATIONS THE COMING YEAR FOR LENA?
S: Our first business plan contained plans to establish LENA in other cities, if the Amsterdam store would have worked as planned. After having our store in Amsterdam now for almost one year, we’ve noticed it isn’t reachable for everyone in Amsterdam. In this small city people are used having everything they need just around the corner, they don’t want to make the effort of biking across the entire city for only one store. At the moment we are busy creating a service model to expand our reach in Amsterdam and make LENA more approachable for consumers.
We want to grow, but more importantly, we want to make our new way of consuming the norm in Amsterdam. We’ve developed our own software for the sharing-system of LENA, now we want to facilitate this to other designers. We are ready to share our gained knowledge and experiences. Together we will make the sharing-economy grow and make it more common. We want to share our knowledge, work together for the greater good and contribute to a better industry.
From now on Kuyichi is available at LENA. To celebrate our collaboration with LENA we will give away two subscriptions for the fashion library!
Comment and tell us which Kuyichi piece you would want to borrow at LENA… maybe you are the lucky winner!