Meet the 20-something brothers with a mission to redefine green fashion with ethics and aesthetics.
Sustainable right? Yeah, we’ve heard it all before; brands popping up left, right and center with the words ‘vegan leather’ to replace polyester on the care label, but what does it actually mean to be green?
Say hi to R4. A sustainable, (and we mean sustainable) unisex, label birthed in London aiming to redefine what it really means to be green! The cool cats at the helm? Angelo and Tino Legrand, two brothers from Luxembourg, here to hit the fashion industry with the real facts! The collection dropped last Friday consisting of four carefully engineered t-shirts and hoodies, of the highest eco quality around. We met with Angelo and Tino to find out why these two earth academic flipped fields and dived headfirst into eco-fashion.
Talk us through your first release…
Angelo: Our Concept Collection is our first collection. It comprises of two hoodies and two t-shirts, available in natural and black colors. We decided to start simple, with a heavyweight collection and with products that are the essentials!
We love quality over quantity! Where does the name R4 come from?
Tino: R4 stands for “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Repeat”. When we began thinking about our brand name, we were inspired by the 3R’s (reduce, reuse, recycle), which is a famous slogan used in fields of sustainability. By adding the word ‘repeat’, we’re adding the notion of sustainability itself; the ability to exist constantly. As such, R4 will be a never-ending story…
With Tino holding a degree in Geography and Angelo a master's in sustainable resources, it’s safe to say these two have done their homework. Stripping their fabrics back to a beautiful blend of hemp and organic cotton, everything is R4’d, even down to their plastic packaging. Enter #theinvisiblebag, a 100% water-soluble material that completely disappears when covered in hot water. Que the four-year-old child in all of us!
The hemp used in the fabric composition is actually carbon negative, meaning it absorbs more carbon during its plant growth than it takes to manufacture it into your new piece of eco-chic. But organic cotton holds its own as well, typically fed 80% rainwater, which means the water usage is kept to an absolute minimum and the softness to an absolute maximum. We’re sold!
Clearly, your backgrounds speak for themselves, but why start R4?
Tino: We’ve had a lot to do with the environment since we were kids. We were brought up in an environmentally conscious home. As we grew older we all started to change our diet towards being more plant-based and started becoming more aware, being really simple in what we buy, especially a lot of reusable products. Neither of us has a background in fashion, but we’ve always been passionate about the clothes we are wearing since we were young. We’ve always wanted to portray a good image of ourselves by dressing well so we’ve always cared about what we wear!
So the environment has been a main focus of your upbringing, but why choose fashion?
Angelo: Our mum is the founder of a non-profitable organization, TAF (The Animal Fund). We were on a family trip with our parents two years ago, and she asked us to make some designs for her association. She’d asked us a favor so we started doing it and we found that the process of designing clothes was super interesting! We thought if we can design clothes and implement our knowledge on sustainability, ie create a sustainable brand that was all like ‘why wouldn’t you wear that, it’s so cool’ like damn we can do this for ourselves, imagine if we had our own line!’
2020 was definitely a year to remember, how did COVID affect your whole creative process?
Tino: When the pandemic hit, our schedules slowly gave more space to really focus on building a proper brand. Like everybody else, we’ve had our ups and downs: the pandemic and lockdowns mark an unprecedented era which we weren’t prepared to go through. Yet we’ve remained optimistic and lucky that we have part-time jobs, have a roof over our heads, and food on the table. We adapted to the situation and made the most out of it, perseverance is key! It was the sort of project which gave hope; as time went on our project turned into a reality. I think we can speak for everyone when we say that COVID has made us take a step back and look at our lives, how we live them and how we’ve taken too many things for granted. For us, the environment definitely is one of them!
We loved the campaign, models walking around barefoot and thriving in nature, what was your inspo?
Angelo: We are living in an era where many changes across society are happening, especially regarding human diversity. So whether we’re talking about sustainability or human diversity, we’re a united front moving forward and making positive changes. We therefore decided to create unisex clothes and used models of different origins to celebrate diversity. All our models are our friends who happily joined us in our project. Every model is beautiful in her/his own ways, we don’t believe in a single standard or stereotypical image of beauty!
So awesome guys, what’s your must-have from the collection?
Angelo: Our favorite piece would have to be our heavyweight Concept Collection Hoodie £80 in natural color. We wear it all the time, not necessarily because it is from our brand, but because the fabric makes it so soft, warm, and comfortable, which is perfect for the cold winter we’re experiencing in the UK right now!
Can’t beat those winter warmers! You two are brothers, how has it been working so closely together?
Tino: We quite literally do everything together! This has actually proven to be a strength for the growth of the brand: we work with the same ethic and ambition in mind. We’re still 2 different people with different ways of thinking and acting, but it’s such a strength. Our family bond means that we are even more motivated to succeed, we deeply care for one another’s success and happiness in life!
So what's next for R4, sustainable world domination?
Angelo: Oh yeah! There is so much potential for R4; with the right tools to expand, we aspire to go global! We aim to grow so that we can be more than just a sustainable clothing brand. We aim to become an educational platform for the normalization of sustainability in the fashion industry. As we grow, we seek to continuously reduce our environmental footprint within our brand, and importantly propose more sustainable fabrics to show the diversity of sustainable fashion
R4’s new collection will debut in early spring/summer and 5% of all profits go to TAF which aims to raise awareness on the dangers facing the ocean and its marine life. We're on the edge of our seats...R4 is definitely one to watch.
You can shop the collection here.