Leonora Style – Curated second-hand and slow fashion collections

Lenora offers a curated selection of second-hand clothes and vintage as well their own slow fashion collections in collaboration with local designers. Learn more about the company in our interview with the founder.

Tell us a little bit about your experience with starting Leonora Style?

We started last year in 2021 with the ambition to modernize and digitalize second-hand. Then we broadened the selection to include vintage and collaborations with local upcycling designers and then this year we launched our first own locally produced collection. We have always had both online and physical presence offering a boutique in central Stockholm.

Could you tell us how the production works?

Our collection is locally produced in Stockholm, Sweden. Our store is located at the same venue as the production takes place, so as a customer you can see your piece being produced in real-time.

How do you tackle your environmental impact? Do you do something to offset water or CO2 impact?

The core of the business is built around circularity and sustainability in every aspect. The whole supply chain was created with the intention of producing sustainably; from sourcing the material to the final production and delivery. We source deadstock natural certified materials, minimize waste and overproduction by producing on-demand locally in our micro-production in Stockholm, Sweden.

Who makes the clothing lines and where?

We have a collaboration together with the awarded and skilled Naim Josefi Pattern Studio located in Stockholm.

How is tech a part of your production process?

Having previously worked in tech the mindset and way of working with Leonora is influenced by tech and working agile. As a concrete example, we think of clothing collections as starting with an MVP or beta version where we want to get items out in smaller batches, then gather feedback, iterate and release new and improved versions.

Something that is also a bit unusual in fashion is that the products are co-designed with the customer’s choice of colour or colour combination, a way of creating a more interactive experience for the customer. Finally we are both physical and online based and our tech and software makes it smooth for us to sell both online and in a physical store at the same time despite each second-hand item being an exclusive item.

Where do you produce the product?

We produce everything locally in Stockholm.

Which certifications do you have and/or strive to have in relation to your company and the production facilities?

We take transparency seriously and welcome all kinds of certifications from third parties. Today this is a growing market which is fantastic. For us, as a smaller company that started with sustainability at the core, this is not so hard, we already have sustainability as the first and only option in every step, even though this needs to be updated all time, it is a work in progress. From sourcing the material to the final product and delivery.

The factories that you use, how do you control their sustainability commitments?

For us it is easy since we are located on-site together with our micro-production.

When it comes to packaging communication, how do you work with a sustainable approach and inclusion?

We often reuse packages and we strive to package lean and reduce unnecessary air while shipping.

The modern fashion industry promises more and more ethnic and body diversity when it comes to models. How do you approach body and ethnic diversity when you make photoshoots for your campaigns?

This is important for us and from the beginning our aim is to reflect everyday people rather than models. We like to involve people and friends rather than models to get a more vivid and natural feeling. We strive to include a diversity in terms of ethnicity, age and sizes.

What are the main values behind your brand?

The main value is empowerment to everyone in their role as a customer. It is the empowerment in terms of that we can all be the change we want to see. Our everyday actions matters greatly. Today we all have platforms to influence our inner circles. Our voices and choices matter greatly. This is how real change happens, when a growing critical mass becomes aware enough so that large corporations and politicians cannot do anything else but listen and adapt.

How do you make the clothing in terms of fabric type and dye? Are most of your fabrics recycled?

We use natural deadstock materials that we dye by hand using colouring produced in Sweden.

Do you have a 5- or 10-year vision for your company that you could share with us?

To Leonora inner and outer development goes hand in hand. Second-hand and our locally sustainable produced collections are concrete examples of this. But so are events and conferences that raise awareness around sustainable options. Along with a continuous collaboration between Leonora and Naim Josefi Pattern Studio that offers pattern design, sample making and local micro-production with the goal to minimize the climate footprint of the production.

What is something you wish customers knew about your brand and product?

It is harder to create a collection that takes sustainability seriously. The choices of fabrics are fewer, you have to be more creative and margins are lower, but we have listened to our customers’ wish to see truly sustainably produced items that also gives you an opportunity to wear more unique pieces.

What are you as a founder most proud of?

That we early on involved collaborative partners in terms of local designers and also our network of freelancers and customers. I view everyone as a potential collaboration partner and I do think we need to collaborate in many aspects when the goal is a more sustainable world.

Do you work with any NGOs or special projects to give back to communities?

We offer our clients the option to donate the clothes that do not sell and the option to donate revenue to Stadsmissionen and Myrorna, and we donate to UNICEF’s work in Ukraine.

As a female entrepreneur in sustaintech, can you give some do’s and don’ts to other young entrepreneurs who are thinking about starting their own entrepreneur journey?

Even though there might already exist similar options out there, you can still do it with your own twist to it. Everyone ultimately has their unique style of approaching and doing things, and if you do it out of passion, there will be a niche for you. Besides this, I think it is a brave act just being a female entrepreneur and that every day is a victory considering the crazy but sadly true fact that around 1 % investment capital goes to female founded companies.

In your opinion, why do you think as little as 0.7 % of the investment capital in tech goes to female founders? How can we all be part of the solution?

This is so insane. I think it starts with the norm we are being fed with in the media and everywhere around us, that you have to be this typical entrepreneur sacrificing family etc just to succeed out there. We need to broaden the perspective on how you can succeed and also broaden how a successful company is being managed. A truly sustainable company starts with inner sustainability and inner development but we talk very little about this. We cannot solve today’s problems with the same world-view that caused them. I think it is very important to include the IDGs (Inner development goals) to support the SDGs (Sustainable development goals).

Which ones are your bestseller pieces?

Dresses and blouses! Our customers appreciate our focus on offering this curated and unique mix between second-hand, vintage, local unique design collabs and our own locally produced collection.

What is something you wish customers knew about sustainable fashion?

That each piece of any clothing is still handmade. Just because it is produced somewhere offshore under a large corporation label at a very low price does not make it automated. Clothing is still too complex to be automatically produced. This means that someone somewhere else paid the price, and sadly it is often women that do not get paid enough for the hard work.

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