What LIVSN stands for is owning less, living more, and keeping what matters. The versatile range of sustainable outdoors clothing pieces will also become your favourite ones. Every single feature is designed to perform and wear it in casual or dressy occasions. They are implementing a repairing culture and circular business model with continuous improvement of the designs so they last longer. Now LIVSN has just launched their second Kickstarter with some updates on the flex canvas pants!
We interview Andrew, his love and passion for the outdoors made him accumulate gear until he came to the realisation that it was better to just have what truly served him a purpose. Like a new fresh start, he then discovered the Swedish word “Livsnjutare”. This was the beginning of this sustainable outdoors clothing brand that got him designing those pieces that were missing in his wardrobe. We hope you enjoy this fantastic interview as much as we did!
Hi Andrew, tell us a bit about yourself and where this passion for outdoors and the minimalism philosophy come from?
Well, I was raised in Fayetteville, AR, surrounded by the rolling hills and wandering rivers of the Ozark Mountains. As a kid, my bike was my ticket to freedom, and I used it to explore every creek, nook, and cranny of my hometown. As I got older, I spent more and more time outdoors – my explorations taking further into the wilderness. I grew to appreciate nature for what it is, a place of peace and connectedness.
My main hobbies were (and still are) backpacking, mountain biking, floating, and camping. When these are your pastimes, you tend to accumulate a lot of gear and clothing – lots of stuff. While some of it was high quality and served a purpose, a lot of it was bought compulsively or seemingly just appeared in my garage.
A few years back, I started a process of shedding my un-needed belongings with the goal of thinning my possessions down to things I truly need and love. I kept things made with care, things that serve a purpose, and especially those things that facilitate getting outside. I kept what mattered. When what you own is what you love, it becomes easier to keep it organized and cared-for. This makes life more pleasant, less stressful and leads to more time doing the things you love.
Why did you start LIVSN sustainable outdoors clothing brand?
The process above forced me to make tough choices about my clothing. With higher standards and a greater understanding of value, I realized much of my clothing fell short. My background in apparel operations and design gave me the confidence to design the pieces that were missing from my wardrobe – but only those that weren’t already done well by someone else.
I discovered the term “Livsnjutare,” a Swedish word loosely translated as “one who lives life fully and to the extreme; a lover of life.” This word catalysed the formation of the brand, leading me to outline everything about the lifestyle we would represent (and the products we’d make to facilitate it). The root of the word, Livsn, stood out to me. It sounds great on the tongue, has no harsh stops, and has a few positive puns (lives-in / live-zen). Naming something you care about is difficult, but Livsn felt natural and easy.
There is too much cheap clothing made every day. Stuff that has no use except to feed an appetite for trendy style at cheap prices. Our mission is to make durable, versatile sustainable outdoor clothing for those who value experiences more than stuff. We truly believe in owning less, living more, and keeping what matters. This isn’t simply a lifestyle brand though. From the very start, I’ve been dedicated to making high-quality clothing that truly performs at the highest level. My ultimate goal is to create good clothing that lasts longer so that less clothing needs to be made overall. We’re successful if we help lead a movement towards less wasteful consumerism.LIVSN mission is to make durable, versatile sustainable & high-quality outdoor clothing for those who value experiences more than stuff. We truly believe in owning less, living more, and keeping what matters. #minimalism… Click To Tweet
What is the range of garments we can find in your store, and for what occasions are the LIVSN garments good to wear?
Currently, you’ll find our first two products: The Flex Canvas Pants and the Hi-Wool Fleece. Both of these are thoughtfully designed to be your favorite piece. This is an important distinction I think. Many new brands, especially those that long on Kickstarter, either pack in “40+ Features” or use a “Groundbreaking” material – but usually fall short in the most important things: comfort, function, and durability. Our products are designed to work, with intuitive and functional features that are additive, not simply added.
We considered the fact that 99% of the time you’re wearing clothing. For example, our Flex Canvas Pants are built to take you from the office to the trail, truly. The trim-fit and clean silhouette allow you to wear them in a casual (even dressy) environment. The gusseted crotch, articulated knees, ventilated and zippered pockets, and roll-up leg system allow you to take those same pants on your bike to the trailhead – and then hike up the mountain. They feel right in all these situations because we designed them that way. Design is about restraint and compromise, and we understand that to make something truly versatile it needs to balance aesthetic and function.
What makes LIVSN outdoor clothing more sustainable and better designed than what we can generally find to wear in our adventures?
To piggyback on the previous question, I believe a sustainable wardrobe is a versatile one. Making a garment, no matter how “green,” takes a tremendous amount of energy. By owning less and buying higher-quality versatile items, you can reduce the amount of apparel you buy. This leads to a major reduction in waste.
The next aspect of sustainable clothing not talked about enough is durability and repairability. For the same reason above regarding the energy used in creating apparel, the right thing to do is to make something with the intention of it lasting a long time. We do this. On our garments, all the usual first-failure points are reinforced. We do everything we can on the front end to ensure our clothing lasts as long as possible. Then we go further by offering an at-cost repair program to encourage our customers to repair before replacing. We don’t make money on this because we believe it’s the right thing to do. We’ll even gladly take back our clothing when it finally meets its end, ensuring as much as we can that it doesn’t end up in the landfill.
Our final priority is to use sustainable materials. There are amazing green innovations going on in textiles and we’re always staying up to date. If we can use natural materials to get the job done, we will, and we’ll work to source them from organic farmers. When we use synthetics, we do everything we can do source recycled materials. This is hard at our small scale, however, because the industry isn’t fully transitioned to green manufacturing. High order minimums sometimes keep us from the greenest option (as happened with V1 of the Flex Canvas Pants), so we fall back on our core values of durability and versatility. V2 will be made with organic cotton and recycled polyester, though!Making a garment, no matter how “green,” takes a tremendous amount of energy. By owning less and buying higher-quality versatile items, you can reduce the amount of apparel you buy. This leads to a major reduction in waste @LIVSN… Click To Tweet
Could you please share with us how LIVSN creative and production process look like, and what are the different efforts you have made in making your supply chain greener?
We start with a design brief. Usually a sketch by me with a simple feature list. Then Chris and I get together and really hash out what the intended use-case is, making sure we design for that purpose. Once we’ve settled on construction and features, we start the fabric sourcing. This part is fun. We shine a metaphorical bat-signal in the sky, signally our fabric mills to send us headers of fabrics that meet our specifications. Things really start to roll once the fabrics are chosen, as we receive sample yardage and our factory can start to create samples.
I typically wear each sample and rigorously test it before sending back comments and edits. Typically, we will go through four to eight rounds of prototypes before production.
It doesn’t end there, however. We believe in iteration and refinement, and with each reproduction of our clothing, we look to make it better. Usually, no big changes, just positive refinements that ensure our products will get better with time and that we are always listening to our customer feedback.
In fact, you have just started a second Kickstarter campaign! Can you please share with us what are the new offers you are including in this one?
Yes! This campaign is all about Version 2 of the Flex Canvas Pants and we’re so excited to release them. We’ve made several improvements and updates to the design, based largely on feedback received from our initial backers. Here’s a list:
- Organic cotton and recycled polyester fabric with C6 DWR (water-repellent finish)
- Upper-half fit refinement: Shortened front rise and lengthened back rise to create more of a curved waistband and more comfortable fit. Added a little room in the upper thigh and waist.
- Construction improvements: Mirrored knife pocket to both legs. Mirrored internal phone sleeve to both front pockets. Upgraded button on roll-up system to recessed cat-eye style. Moved roll-up location to 12” from cuff on all sizes.
- Pocket dimensions: Lengthened front pocket bags by ¾”. Widened knife pocket by ½” and lengthened it by 1” to hold bigger knives or other items.
- New color options.
- Multiple inseam length options.
Seems that we are moving towards a more circular economy. Fashion is probably one of the biggest industries that need to embrace this concept. How does LIVSN work towards a circular fashion model?
The circular economy basically involves just a few practices: use low-impact materials, design for durability and utility, extend the lifespan of the item and recycle the materials back into the supply chain.
We’re already on the way with the first three steps, with an obvious emphasis and durability, utility, and lifespan-extension. My ultimate goal is to capture 100% of the items we make at the end of their life so we can then recycle them into new products.
When it comes to the LIVSN impact, what would you like it to be in the long run?
Extending the lifespan of a garment by nine months reduces its carbon and water impact by 30%. I want to make clothing that extends lifespan by years! Obviously, clothing wears out, but that’s where the repair process comes in.
I’d like our impact and legacy to be one of leading a movement towards buying right, buying less, and taking care of your things. By doing so you not only help protect our planet, but you create more space for living.
What is conscious capitalism mean to you and what’s the stand the brand LIVSN Designs partakes in creating this new economy?
Conscious capitalism to me means creating more good in the world than damage. A constant topic of conversation around our office is the price we pay to create something new. That obviously means that we need to be creating products that are needed and are not duplicates of something already existing. But beyond that, I truly believe that business can be a force for good. With a profitable business, you can pay your employees well, give back to your community, enforce a sustainable supply chain, and support positive initiatives we’re passionate about.
I’ve written about this topic, and if your readers are interested they can check it out here.
You are based in Fayetteville, AR. How does the social and eco-entrepreneurial venture look like there? Are there any exciting things and change for good happening in the country AND local area? Do you see people becoming eco-conscious?
I am excited, yes. Our area of the country is one defined by its natural beauty and our community has embraced that wholeheartedly. The biggest regional initiative is in cycling and mountain-biking. The major four cities are connected by a paved bike trail system with signalled crossings at all streets. This paved system connects to over 400 miles of professionally built singletrack mountain bike and hiking trails. This has led to a population more comfortable in Chacos than loafers. It’s great to see.
Is there any advice you’d like to give to other businesses trying to make a difference for good?
Define your values from the beginning and make them public. When you’re starting out, nearly everything you do is behind closed doors with little scrutiny. It’ll be up to you to make the right choices, and it makes it easier when your fans know your intentions and are able to call you out if you don’t.
If you could write a message on a big wall that the entire world could read, what would it say?
Oh man, the Tim Ferriss question. I would choose the first two lines from Max Ehermann’s “Desiderata,” with the hope it would motivate people to read the whole poem.
Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.
Finally, where can we find you? Shops, online, worldwide…?
Please back our Kickstarter! We have a lot to offer the world, but we need your support to get there.
Give us your feedback about this brand and comment below!