MAGAZINE February 19th, 2021

L4K3 Interview

 

How and when was L4K3 born?

L4K3, which reads LAKE, was born twelve years ago, almost for fun on Lake Iseo's shores. The name of the brand is neither an acronym nor a formula but an original way of writing "lake" in English, where 4 is letter A and 3 as letter E. The initial idea was to relaunch the Sebino territory's craftsmanship with a business project between tradition and innovation. Lake Iseo was once famous all over the world for the artisanal production of ropes and fishing nets. Still, this tradition passed down from father to son from the 1600s, at the beginning of the '80s of the twentieth century had been set aside due to the low quality and low-cost competition of products coming from the East. In 2011, to relaunch the business of hand-worked ropes by making it an accessory, L4K3 created the nautical rope bracelet. The bracelets have been a great sales success, and so, this adventure born playfully has turned into an entrepreneurial plan that has had two "strokes of luck." The first is that the rope producers of Lake Iseo, not believing in the project, were not willing to sell us the nautical peaks. Considering ridiculous the few meters of rope that were required of him to mock us, the artisans directed us to a warehouse where used cords and waste lay abandoned because they were obsolete. "Use those if you will! We do not turn on the machines stopped for years to produce the few meters needed for the bracelet design!" The second stroke of luck was that, since there was no initial capital, a business plan proposed to various entrepreneurs in the northern area of Lake Iseo. The slogan was "5 thousand euros for 5% of the Start-Up of the L4K3 rope bracelets". Amid the general laughter, no one joined the project, and no bank provided funding. Only one entrepreneur agreed to put into play an initial capital to be repaid in 5 years, but the project went well right away, and the loan was cleared in just three months. In 2010, the first sustainable economy projects were beginning to spread, promoting a culture of quality, sustainability, and respect for the environment were at the heart of the national and international communication agenda. The Start-Up of bracelets made from the recycled rope (because the manufacturers didn't sell us the new one, but no one knew) was a perfect topic for journalists who started writing rivers of articles about us. In a couple of years, some fashion professionals began to approach the project and take the reins. From 2014 onwards, the game started to turn into a business model with a precise identity.

 What is L4K3's DNA?

The company's DNA began to take shape in 2014 when, under the guidance of a professor at the Marangoni University of Milan, a Fashion Factory was created open to young fashion students. The first L4K3 shoe, "la Mr. Big," was born from a student's design, an innovative gymnastic shoe characterized by a string weave on the side. The new L4K3 Sneakers wins the Gazza Look award (by Gazzetta Dello Sport) for best innovative sneaker and officially begins a new era for the brand. L4K3 interprets fashion with a passionate and innovative approach in design and materials, refined fabrics, vitamin colors, and very particular silhouettes but above all "fun." It is precisely fun that binds all the collections. Wearing an L4K3 item means never going unnoticed, living with joy, being in the spotlight. From 2015 onwards, the collections become complete. Sneakers begin to be joined by walking shoes, men's and women's bags, belts, backpacks, and real bracelet collections.

Who is L4K3 addressed to, what is the target audience?

The target audience is varied. We go from 18 to 70 years old, and there are articles for everyone, for young people looking for new pieces and for more mature men and women who want to dress outside the box.

Where and how are your products made?

All the items are handmade and are made 100% between Brescia, Bergamo, and Milan. We are a true expression of Made in Italy at zero km. Everything takes place within a radius of 100 km around Lake Iseo. The strings are still produced as 100 years ago, in the same way, the bags are handmade in our laboratories of Lake Iseo and the shoes in Brescia. We make the fabrics between Bergamo and Milan.

What do you present to White?

At White, we present the latest footwear collection, a mix of playfulness, precious fabrics, and classicism. Each of our products is a collage of different materials that play a single symphony. Different fabrics that, while maintaining their independence, are harmonious overall.

 

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