The Lissome is A thoughtfully curated platform that promotes high-quality and conscious fashion.
its Founder, Dörte Lange SPEAKS TO US about her inspiration, values, and advice.
What inspired you to create this online platform?
It was initially two different realisations I had. While working as a Freelance Art Director and Communication Designer at Elle Magazine I became more and more aware of the negative impacts of the fashion industry through a series of different events and experiences I had. Researching into the slow food movement, Rana Plaza and The True Cost Movie all became little wake up moments that sharpened my consciousness.
In response to this, I then started to look for alternatives and quickly realised I needed to look deeper, as my early findings didn’t really thrill me. In order for people to change I felt the alternative had to be really enticing both in terms of quality and style, alongside putting human beings and animals rights to the forefront. I also found, particularly on Instagram, that there was a growing momentum of sustainable brands emerging out there with aesthetics I shared. One of my strongest skills is communicating in a visual way and I believe visuals can be really powerful.
When I initially started Lissome, I wanted to create a visually beautiful environment, sending a very positive message. I didn’t want to create a blame culture but instead celebrate the brands that were taking positive steps. We really need to change the system we are living in so that human, environmental and animal welfare is at the centre and I feel at the moment it’s not even on the sidelines.
How have you stayed true to your values?
My changing awareness has led to a career change from working at Elle Magazine to setting up Lissome. I think at some point I became less comfortable with promoting things I no longer believed in. From my decade of experience working for others I felt ready to start something else that was true to my own values. I have always loved fashion, however, I had a moment in my career where I lost a certain purpose and I felt it was destructive what I was doing which lead to a drastic career change.
What brands do you believe are currently demonstrating particularly good practice?
I think there are a lot! Recently I have come across an underwear brand in Barcelona called Löv, which ticks a lot of boxes. Started by a former model, to promote body positivity, Löv presents underwear in a really affirmative way to strengthen the self-esteem of young women. They have really beautiful campaigns showing ethnically diverse women and different body types, which I find very refreshing.
The designer has pattern cutters in Vienna whom she works really closely with and through her she found production, a small manufacturer in Bratislava. Additionally, all her fabrics and components are certified. I think she is successful because she really knows her target customer and knows how to communicate with them. Similar to Reformation, who know their consumer extremely well and how to make sustainable fashion cool to the younger target group who may not have been interested otherwise.
How do you believe the next generation of creatives can best impact the industry?
I see the next generation of fashion creatives as the real key drivers for change; I think there is a real sense of urgency. If they have sustainability in their curriculum they come to the industry with a real advantage. It’s a really important extra tool that older designers and creatives don’t have and now find themselves in busy jobs with no time to relearn. I think the fashion industry would be really foolish not to welcome the new generation with open arms because it’s not just about small emerging labels any more, it’s about driving a big change in the industry.
Any final tips?
Knowledge is power, be widely curious! Often, when people think of fashion they think of a shallow industry but its actually grounded on a wealth of expertise and history. You can learn about how fashion functions as a mirror of society and about material innovation that could transform the future.
You should also know how production works and have a good understanding of supply chains so that you are grounded in knowledge.
FINALLY, I WOULD SAY...
...it's really important not just to focus on becoming a star.
We have important problems to solve so it’s crucial we come together and collaborate on these.
We need to learn to put aside our egos, it’s a complex subject so you will need a range of different expertise and to see yourself as part of a team, part of humankind.