Frank talks to Emmanuel Eribo, CEO of start-up sneaker brand LØCI Footwear, about his passion for building a brand that puts purpose before profit.
You’re a brand that is inspired to create vegan footwear. How did the idea first come up?
Emmanuel Eribo: Having previously launched a vegan footwear brand, I wanted to fix the way that things have been and still are done in our industry. LØCI was born out of a desire to change a category that was still predominantly traditional in every way, from where shoes are made, the material they use, or the circularity of the product. Beyond believing in animal-free footwear and ensuring the business is strongly linked to saving sea life, this is what LØCI was born out of.
The fashion industry is notorious for damaging the environment. Do you believe in extending the LØCI philosophy to every other aspect of fashion and consumerism?
Emmanuel Eribo: We are looking to give consumers an alternative option, one that puts sustainability at the heart of every decision we make. We pull inspiration from brands before us that have paved the road for taking a different approach, be it TOM’s and their One for One model or Everlane and their philosophy of radical transparency.
Ultimately the consumer will make a decision on what is best for them. The statistics are saying the demand for a more ethical way of building a brand is paramount to their buying choices. We hope we can shed a positive light on the practices we believe in – but ultimately change is coming whether brands like it or not.
We love everything you have launched so far. Do you have any future projects in mind? How do you see LØCI evolving in the future?
Emmanuel Eribo: We have some exciting product extensions launching at the end of October, spoiler alert…high tops! Plus, we have some exciting collaborations that match the LØCI ethos which we will be announcing soon. We have the advantage of being a small nimble brand that can learn and react quickly. Being only a few months old we are just finding our feet before we start looking too far in the future.
We have seen you currently have collaborations with high street brand Reed. Are there any celebrities that you would love to collaborate with, or any brands you admire?
Emmanuel Eribo: Working with Nikki Reed (the Twilight actress) has been an absolute pleasure. Not only is she an amazing designer with a great creative vision, but she has also educated us in so many ways about being true to the topic of sustainability. I am a huge fan of Patagonia and the way they empower their community to take action, not to mention taking on the President of the United States!
We’ve read LØCI’s mission, it’s amazing! How do you think other clothing brands can change to align with the betterment of our environment?
Emmanuel Eribo: Brands always ask us how they can start to make a difference. For me, it all comes down to personal passion for what they want to change.
Consumers are too intelligent to fall for a couple of sentences on a web page. Brands need to show it in everything they do. Thankfully there are some amazing sustainable materials becoming available so brands, often for no extra cost, can make changes that have immediate benefits for everyone.
As the footwear you’re selling is completely vegan, do you believe in extending veganism to your diet and other aspects of your life?
Emmanuel Eribo: On a personal level, yes. I have been trying to eat more plant-based meals on a regular basis and am more conscious when making any material purchasing decision. When I am speaking with others, I feel it is completely up to everyone to make their choices. We aren’t likely to all go vegan in every area of our life overnight. I am always just happy to suggest a few alternatives they can try.
Tell us, for our readers that are trying to become more eco-conscious: What are your environmentally friendly tips or hacks that people can implement into their everyday life?
In the office, we have all become fans of eating the Beyond Meat burgers for a Friday lunch, which are great. We do have an internal challenge of mixing and matching items of clothing to keep outfits fresh without buying new clothes. Apart from that, I leave the suggestions to the experts!