Lagoped wurde 2018 mit der Mission gegründet, Menschen wieder in die Wildnis zurück zu bringen. Die Abenteuerbekleidung wird im EU-Raum und nur mit hochwertigen Materialien hergestellt. Wir wollten es genau wissen und haben Christophe Cordonnier, einen der Gründer von Lagoped, interviewt. Das Interview erscheint im Original – in englischer Sprache.

Our Promise: #BeYourOwnAdventure

We all have the right to see ptarmigans everywhere. Our clothes will not make them flee and will make you beautiful. You just blend in the wild.

Our Call of the heart: #WeWearWeCare

We use materials and products that preserve the planet. We manufacture locally to guarantee that our clothes take care of those who make and those who wear.

Our Commitment: #ZeroCarabistouille

French expression that can be translated by “no bullshit”. We are committed to providing transparency on all steps of our good manufacturing recipes: from Spin to Bin. You only leave the trace of your footsteps in nature.

How did you come up with the idea to create Lagoped?

It all started with a very simple idea. We wanted to be 100% aware of what we wear while in the wild. For obvious social and environmental reasons, we simply did not want to wear clothes made at the other end of the world. And we wanted them only made with good ingredients for the environment. Especially after discovering that we were “sowing” endocrine disruptors in the mountains because of our technical waterproof jackets!

Fighting child and forced labour, global warming, reducing waste and preserving the planet: these are obvious goals to most of us. At Lagoped, we are outdoor enthusiasts in all weathers and we love to fell free out there. We have been lucky enough to meet the snowbird on many occasions while in the wild. And we finally understood his simple message. We believe that it is urgent to reconnect intimately with nature so that we can better understand and protect it. We want to spend time outside, in the sincerest respect of the natural spaces that welcome us. We believe that it is urgent to reintroduce Man to the wild.

What does the name mean?

Lagopède in French is ptarmigan in English and Schneehuhn in German. It is a bird the size of a partridge that lives by the thousands in the Alps and throughout the northern hemisphere to Japan. And yet many of us do not know him when he is right in front of us. He survived global warming 10’000 years ago. He has a message to pass on to us and we took the time to listen:

Message #1: Re-introduce Man to the wild

The bird spends the whole year outside and calls us to reconnect with nature. We make clothes to go outdoor in all weathers and live our own adventure in the wild.

Message #2 : Change colour

He has adapted and changes his feathers’ colour every season. We cannot change our skin colour but we can change our habits to preserve the planet. We manufacture locally.

Message #3 : Leave only your footsteps’ trace

He is a discreet and frugal bird who learned to take only what is necessary. We follow his example and manufacture with the constant concern of efficiency of resource usage. Our clothes are made from recycled / organic materials and the harmful products are eliminated.

Who is behind the company / brand? How did you finance the start?

At the root of the brand, we are three founders: Christophe Cordonnier, Julien Désécures, Pierre Derieux. Three French outdoor enthusiasts who met in the mountains and wanted to have a positive impact on their beloved activities. Julien became a mountain guide in 2000 and brings his daily experience in ski and alpinism. Lagoped was joined by David Purves, a former John Galliano and Helmut Lang stylist, who brings his tremendous experience for the design of our styles. Another significant contributor: Sébastien Raffin in Annecy is a top professional for pattern making and the architect of our garments.

We have the support of a beautiful team of girls and boys who wear the colours and the values of Lagoped. The “Lagoped family” is very important to us: pros and amateurs who are passionate about outdoor and mountains, and above all, willing to “change colour” and habits. Each of their adventures gives us the inspiration to imagine our own and we love to tell their stories.

We are financing Lagoped on our own money for the start. So we have a lot of “skin in the game” and must be efficient and frugal, just like our mentor the snowbird 😊. We spend each Euro as if it was the last one. We will raise funds during the winter to accelerate the development of the company. So if you want to be part of the adventure on that side, met me know!

What you are most proud of?

Seeing stranger wearing a Lagoped jacket, a pant or a beanie. It really makes us super proud to have been able to design a garment and observe it in action. We put so much effort and heart in our product design and in our sourcing in Europe: the best reward we can get is to see Lagoped in the wild! We equip professional mountain guides and ski instructors in France and are very proud that they chose us to work every day in sometimes epic conditions. Not only proud for ourselves but for all our suppliers who make each necessary step to bring the garment to life.

In February 2019, we received a gold award at ISPO in Munich for our very first collection of EVE jacket and SUPA pant. And this was a very exciting moment to get such a great professional support for what we are trying to achieve altogether.

What is your vision for the future? Or the next products?

Our vision is to develop all our garments from spin to bin: : to be involved from the fiber that makes up the yarn throughout the entire life cycle of the fabric. So not only the “made in…” part which is obviously a small one in the process. We view our role as a cooker. Before placing the ingredients in the pan and in the oven (the “made in…” moment) we spend a lot of time discussing with spinners, weavers, knitters and dyers to understand what the fabric is made of and where it is made. If we carry on with the cooking image, we are not only going to the market to buy our vegetables. We visit the farmer who grows them and discuss with the seed provider. This is key to our transparency commitment (#ZeroCarabistouille) and involves a lot of resources and know-how.

This winter, we are launching an insulation layer as a new product: the HEYDO 2
nd layer will be available for men and women with or without hoodie, in 2 colours (our navy and our soleil). It is a recycled product from plastic bottles collected in Europe. The yarn of the shell and lining is made in Italy before the weaving and dyeing are made in France. The padding is made of a synthetic wadding that we source from a German company: this wadding is produced in Italy and is composed at 70% of recycled polyester. It has a marvellous touch and an excellent ratio of weight to thermal insulation. Of course, the water repellent product that we apply has no endocrine disruptors (C0 no-PFC). But on top of that, we are very proud to have replaced the down-proof chemical treatment by a calendering process (mechanical). Then the quilting, cutting and sewing are made in Poland in the factory where we also manufacture our 3-layers pants and jackets.

Where can I get products from Lagoped currently?

We are currently distributed in 4 shops and our e-shop. The first historical shop to support Lagoped project is based in Carouge, Switzerland (Cactus Sports). The 3 others are in Grenoble (la Randonnée), Paris (La Haute Route) and Chamonix (Ravanel). Starting in August, we will be distributed more broadly in France through the Vieux Campeur network. We have not yet found the right partner in Switzerland but we have on-going discussions and have good hope to be present soon beyond the Geneva area. We value very much human relationships and that is why we decided right from the start not to be an online brand only. We always loved going to shops, talking about equipment and garments with passionate salesmen themselves alpinists, skiers, trekkers. We believe “brick and mortar” shops have a bright future as customers need service and care.

Where do you produce?

We manufacture, weave, knit and dye exclusively in the European Union. And it involves several countries. Our 3-layers are made in Poland, our beanies in Italy, Tee-shirts in Portugal… Beside manufacturing, we source our fabrics also in the EU. For example, recycled wool is made in France, recycled cotton in Spain, recycled polyester in Italy… There is an exception with the yarn of our Tee-shirts: it is organic cotton from Turkey. But thereafter all subsequent steps (knitting, dyeing, cutting, sewing, printing) are made in Portugal.

What about environmental and social standards?

Local production was the starting point of the Lagoped adventure. With a production in the EU, we have a common set of rules that we share and the highest rule of law are the human rights: so voting rights, maternity leave, union right, vacation time etc… are not questioned. It is very important for us to make sure that we operate with a high standard so that we do not spend our time monitoring social risks or ask our suppliers to sign bibles of commitment. As we usually sum up, our label is the European Union. Beside obvious similar labour laws, environmental laws are defined with a common target, the cost of resources is rather high, naturally constraining waste and exacerbating the necessity to be effective in all steps of the supply chain (production / transportation / storage). We see our eco—design process as an evolving one and we are constantly chasing improvements to do better tomorrow.

You use the gear yourself. So which tour do you plan to do next?

Obviously, testing phase is not the worst part of the product development 😊. I am a father of 4 and I brought 2 of my kids in Les Ecrins at the beginning of July. They are 15 and 16 years old and like to go out enjoying mountain life. I had not much time this year for climbing so we opted for easy and accessible snow alpine routes: Roche Faurio and Pic d’Arsine with a nice bivouac above Glacier Banc. What a magnificent view on the Barre des Ecrins and a great family time looking at the beauty of the world. Sharing and exchanging, spending time together is an important value of Lagoped. You may have noticed that our baseline is a “be” and not a “do”.

Thanks for the interview.

Quelle Bilder: Christophe Cordonnier, Lagoped

About The Author Jonathan Stolz