LN-CC’s creative director, John Skelton has a new vision; the newly revamped LN-CC is all about being conscious - of the planet and our personal health and wellbeing. The cult Dalston store – the epicentre of east London cool since it first opened in 2010 – has new investment since going into administration last year.
On the morning of the re-launch last week there was a raw milk bar by Mylk Made, where nut and hemp milk was being mixed with Indian spices. And to compliment the new LN-CC lifestyle of healthy eating, recycling and the odd yoga and meditation session, there is a whole new selection of ‘Conscious’ clothes for women and men designed to attract a new generation of people who love fashion but don’t want it at the cost of the environment or the people who make their clothes.
The new website has three sections: Past (curated archive pieces from designers including Chanel, Yohji Yamamoto, and JW Anderson); Present (a mix of Barny Nakhle shoes, Acne, Lanvin and Rick Owens) and Future which includes Veja trainers, Kowtow, a brilliant collection of utility clothes made using organic and Fairtrade cotton by cooperatives in India, and Kim Stevenson’s The Autonomous Collections of statement artisanal patchwork coats, skirts, jeans and accessories.
How did John Skelton make the shift to a more conscious buying strategy?
LN-CC is the last place on Planet Fashion that you would imagine you would find hemp T-shirts, sustainable trainers and upcycled patchwork skirts. But despite the fact that the interior feels like a futuristic spaceship, that is precisely what it is now selling. The cynical observer might say that after the company went into administration last year, Skelton had burnt too many bridges with some of his core brands. But for Skelton, new investment in the company meant that he was looking for a new direction.
‘I’m really into food and wine,’ he told me. ‘And I realised all the restaurants are moving from the old wine culture of what year was this made what producer does it come from, and it’s all about what’s natural. My girlfriend has been studying homeopathy and nutrition and stuff - everyone in the office is doing yoga and meditation. I started to think everyone involved in this project outside of what we do on a daily basis is looking at a more natural modern world of sustainability. And I thought this must be the angle of where we take it from here.’ So he sat down with one of the buyers and said: ‘ We are not going to buy any new brands unless they are producing product in an ethical format.’
A new aesthetic
It’s been a challenge, but Skelton and his team have been on a mission to find the coolest, most stylish, most beautiful inside and out product. The traditional fashion capitals – apart from New York and London – no longer figure on his buying strategy. ‘The hubs, the epicentres of it is not Paris, it’s not Milan, but we’ve ended up in Berlin, Hamburg, California trying to get to the root of who’s doing it well. The aesthetic is a lot more pared down but it’s coming from a much more wholesome backdrop, and that comes across in the look. It’s almost like ridding the industry or your aesthetic from this insecure dark edge, like pressing the reset button.
‘It’s been a really interesting process because I actually think that even though the product isn’t as polished and it’s coming from a completely different place, it’s doing what new fashion brands have always done: it’s challenging the aesthetic. There’s a new world and an old world and if you look at any company now - car companies are producing low emission cars; I know more people who have a homeopath than a GP, so I was like ‘let’s go and find out about it, let’s get into it.’
‘The reason I’ve called the section “conscious” is the more I looked into it, everybody had a completely different idea of how they are doing it. So some are recycling. Some are using organic fabrics - all of the brands that are involved in it are trying in their own way to make less impact on the planet. It’s been fascinating for me. I’m so happy now with LN-CC that there is no bigger platform for moving things forward than doing it here. I honestly believe it’s the most progressive work I’ve ever done. Because I feel like that moment in time between the old world and the new world and we are the first to have put it together and whether you like it or not, this is what’s happening. And now I want to get behind these brands and help them develop their aesthetic.’
Discovering brands with authenticity
‘We’ve done all of the ones that have hit the fashion press that I’ve liked like Katrien van Hecke who does all the print stuff with all the natural dyes. And then we found a brand called Lung which is by these two German brothers who are crazy into running, and they’ve developed their own running shoe which is totally sustainable. They’ve been doing it since 99. You are actually tapping into people who are doing it for a reason rather than it’s a fashion brand per se - and that’s really interesting.’
Wholesome, not edgy
‘I think the assortment is very fresh and very wholesome. It’s not edgy but I think that’s the new way of doing it. I hope we can develop this into a bigger and bigger part of LN-CC because I think it will catch fire quite quick once people realise what we have done. People just want to know where they can get it.
Will the LN-CC customer get it?
‘I think the world in general will get it. If you are mad into Rick Owens you are probably not going to wear these [Veja] trainers with a big V on them. But I’m already there. I’ve already started wearing this stuff and I think it’s about educating the customer. This is where it’s going to go and it might be a little bit ‘hippy’ or ‘friendly’ for your eyes now but it’s going to happen. I think it’s just a case of people like us putting it out there. And then all of a sudden it will happen.
This is the most progressive thing we have ever put together because it’s for the right reason. And it’s not going to go away. It’s not like a fad; it’s just going to get bigger and bigger and bigger.'