The Heart Behind - Lacess
THE HEART BEHIND is a series of interviews where we get to know the founders and the heart behind what they do.
Coming from years of experience working with luxury brands, Natalie started Lacess, a sustainable sneaker brand offering consumers an ethical alternative to quality kicks. We find out more from the founder, who is an advocate for issues like climate change and modern slavery.
What sparked the idea for Lacess? Was there a particular moment that started this journey?
Starting a brand had always been at the back of my mind, but I wanted to find a product that we were passionate and believe in. We saw a huge surge in the sneakers market (while we’re both sneakerheads ourselves!) and decided to create something that speaks quality and value – beyond a flashy brand name.
Is there any particular brand or personality that you are most influenced by? In terms of design, branding or values.
Rather than a particular brand, I think the movement towards a sustainable lifestyle had great impact on us. Organizations like Fash Rev, pushing for greater transparency in fashion brands, and communities like Green Is the New Black, bringing like-minded people together to demand better consumption and future. I hope to see this becoming a mainstream lifestyle soon!
Starting a sneaker brand is no walk in the park. Did you face any major setbacks along the way? And what keeps you going?
Always! As an entrepreneur I always self-doubt but have learnt to LIVE with my doubts! The tremendous support from customers have kept us going and taking leaps of faith along the way.
Tell us, what was your process in sourcing for suppliers, materials etc. Did you have specific requirements when finding suitable materials and manufacturing partners to work with?
It was a long and arduous process, even with my partner’s background in the industry, because sourcing “sustainably” was a new thing for him also. We had to ensure our materials met our sustainable requirements, and also our supplier partners had to demonstrate ethical practises, which is imperative given our company’s stance on human trafficking!
In our sourcing efforts, we have also been inspired to see many new-age materials that’s embracing sustainability, so we feel there is quite a large space for us to explore moving forward, and hope to bring more cutting-edge and innovative sneakers to the community.
The world is so interconnected right now and we can no longer shirk off issues in other parts of the world as simply “their” problem anymore. What part do you think fashion labels have to play in the social, environmental or political issues of our time?
I guess it is human nature to not really care for what doesn’t impact you… but we don’t have to look far to see how caring a bit more about “other people’s problems” could have saved ourselves a lot of problems! Saying “Covid-19” is just another flu that won’t impact your country didn’t really cut it did it?
So similarly, if we don’t all pull out weight and embrace a more sustainable lifestyle – fashion consumption included - the deterioration of the environment is going to smack us in the face sooner rather than later. So that’s why we are promoting awareness on social issues like modern slavery and climate change, whilst giving consumers a more sustainable and ethical option.
What do you hope to see in the fashion industry?
There are many things! 1) not to promote mindless over-consumption; 2) not to exploit workers for greater margins 3) avoid the race to the bottom (in terms of pricing) – it is not a sustainable model, both for companies and consumer behaviour; 4) use more sustainable materials – if large brands lead the way, their demand for these materials will make it easier for everyone to access sustainable materials at a more affordable cost.
I could go on, but I think these are 4 key ones.
What do you think consumers need to know about sustainability?
Consuming is inevitable, but consuming what you really need is what we should be embracing. And when consuming, there is always a more sustainable option, but it is often more expensive, driving consumers to still choose the cheaper non-sustainable item. However, the price difference is actually paid for by mother nature, and her credit account is running really low!