MEET THE FOUNDERS
R4 CLOTHING LTD | December 2020 | 8 min read
Hi, and welcome to R4! In this story, we will talk you through who we are, how our paths have led us to create R4, what we stand for as individuals and how we hope to reflect that through R4.
Who are we?
Born in Luxembourg, we are two brothers of Danish and Belgian nationalities who grew up in the South of France. I (Angelo) am 23 and I (Tino) am 21 years old. During our upbringing, we were raised in a very environmentally-conscious family. We were particularly inspired by our mother, Berit Legrand, who is the founder of TAF - The Animal Fund, a non-profit organization which acts and raises awareness on the environmental threats that the ocean and its marine species are facing.
At age 17, we both moved abroad to undertake studies in fields related to sustainability. I (Angelo) undertook a BSc in Earth, Energy and Sustainability at Leiden University College The Hague, in the Netherlands, followed by a MSc in Sustainable Resources at the University College of London, in the United Kingdom. I (Tino) undertook a BA in Geography at King’s College of London. In particular, I decided to focus my studies on the interface between human and physical climate change, especially the economic, social, political and environmental processes that have driven our climate’s tipping point, its implications and solutions to Earth and humankind’s survival.
Where does the idea of R4 come from?
In 2019, while away on family vacation, we played around with some designs for TAF’s marketing material. What started as doodles on a sheet of paper quickly turned into an expression of our ideas... Something which would highlight the importance of the natural environment. Our designs (in our belief) did not only look fashionable - they also contained a powerful message which would impact people. We began thinking: “If you can contribute to positive environmental change AND and look cool, why would you not want to wear it?” This happy thought, coupled with a more realistic perspective on how to solve global environmental challenges, led us to the question: “How can we make an impact as quickly as possible?”
Upon our return to London, we started putting our ideas on paper. What does sustainability in fashion look like? What is sustainable fashion? After a little research, we found some articles which argued that fashion is the world’s third-largest polluter… What?! How? Not only were we surprised by the severity of the environmental and social damages caused by the fashion industry, but most importantly by our lack of knowledge. Why are not enough people talking about this...? After days of brainstorming, the idea of R4 turned into a potentially realistic project, or at least something worth a try.
So we gave it a shot.
The name R4 stuck from the start. We were inspired by a worldwide known slogan, which originates from the environmentally-conscious movement in the US in the 1970s: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle (the 3R’s). The 3R’s is a term that is often used when referring to sustainability. However, the 3R’s do not actually equate to sustainability, rather a means to achieve sustainability, in some cases. In adding the word Repeat, we added the notion of sustainability itself, the ability to exist constantly. In our eyes, it was the ideal name of a brand that aspires to apply sustainable concepts, including that of a circular economy, into fashion. Thanks to our education, we had gained an incredible array of knowledge on all these concepts and how they were applied to various industries, so why not fashion?
Sustainable fashion is still in its early stages of development. In creating R4, we inevitably become a part of the movement. As such, we don’t see other sustainable brands, big or small, as competitors. We believe that we are all fighting for similar causes towards the same goal: a healthier planet.
However, our aim is bigger than blending in a movement.
SUSTAINABILITY X FASHION
Through R4, we aspire to raise awareness on the environmental impacts of the fashion industry.
SUSTAINABILITY X PEOPLE
R4 is also about rebuilding lost connections between people and nature.
PEOPLE X FASHION
We want you to feel good about being sustainable. It shouldn’t be a hassle…
There’s a bit more to the story...
At the time of its inception, we were both at university and had multiple part-time jobs. R4 wasn’t a priority: we weren’t dedicating our full attention to the brand, we were new to the fashion industry, and it was our first time starting up a business. As a result, we inevitably made countless amateur mistakes, trusted the wrong people and experienced more setbacks than successes. However, we learned more than we ever could imagine.
2020 was the year where our ideas really started turning into reality. Although I (Tino) was finishing my dissertation and we were working our jobs, we spent our limited free time developing the brand, its identity and ambitions. That being said, we have collectively managed to build a brand during a global pandemic. We all know about the severity of the crisis: our start-up in these difficult times provides a more hopeful and optimistic perspective.
Welcome to R4
We are now ready and proud to present you to R4, a new sustainable clothing brand based in London, UK.
Starting with our Concept collection, we aspire to contribute to reinstating environmental sustainability in the fashion industry. Like any brand, we are not showing you a perfect product, but we promise to be 100% transparent throughout our journey. As we grow, we seek to further reduce our environmental footprint and propose more sustainable fabrics. If you decide to join us in our journey, we want you to know that this is just the beginning. Our ultimate goal is to redefine fashion by making sustainability the norm.