Q & A WITH LERET LERET DESIGNERS, ANDREA & EDOUARD LERET
Interviewed by Taylor Roberts
Cashmere sweaters are wardrobe staples that transcend each fashion trend and season. Andrea and Edouard Leret are siblings sharing the value of the timeless cashmere sweater, sourcing the highest quality yarn from Mongolia for their luxury cashmere label LERET LERET. While based in New York, LERET LERET is bringing their cashmere sweaters to California. The Leret team is collaborating with Santa Ynez General Store to host a pop-up shop at Santa Ynez General on Friday, August 14th, and the Landsby Hotel in Solvang on Saturday, August 15th. You can shop the collections in-person and even customize your new or already-owned LERET LERET sweaters, adding your own personal touch. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to select your perfect cashmere piece for your closet and feel the difference of LERET LERET cashmere.
1. How did you decide to specialize in cashmere sweaters and start LERET LERET?
Looking back, it feels like everything happened so fast. We were both in a place trying to figure out our next move professionally. We’ve always been into cashmere, so after we connected with Mongolia we began our market research. We saw a gap in the market since most of the cashmere sweaters are unicolor. And after trying out many samples, we saw the potential of this fairly new technology of knitting graphics with cashmere. That’s when the idea was born. We spent the rest of the year setting up the team and working on the brand image. We traveled to Mongolia to supervise our first production, and less than a year later, LERET LERET was born October, 1st 2019.
2. Where do you draw inspiration from for each design?
Every edition starts with research, whether it’s music, art, architecture, or design. Most of the designs come from personal experiences. We see every sweater as a piece of art, since each one has a story and is limited edition. Then we create a color story for the collection, which can change along the design process, but it helps us start. Some sweaters have relationships between each other, while others don’t. A lot of our design ideas come from drawing by hand, others creating forms on Illustrator.
3. What details make the perfect cashmere sweater? And what is the best advice you would give to someone shopping for cashmere?
I would say it depends on taste, but personally, I look for the grade A quality and the thickness. Our sweaters are the living example of what a perfect cashmere sweater is, with a relaxed cut. It’s a great sweater to have in the summer for misty mornings and chilly nights, as well as a layering piece for the winter. A piece of advice I would give to someone who is buying cashmere is to check where the product is made, many brands source cashmere in Mongolia and then produce in China adding chemicals to the fiber. We proudly source and produce in Mongolia and do not use any chemicals to manipulate the fiber.
4. What makes LERET LERET's cashmere from Mongolia unique?
We source the highest quality yarn in Mongolia, the heartland of the most valuable cashmere. Throughout the year the region endures abrupt temperature changes with boiling summers and freezing winters. In order to survive the harsh transitions, the Hircus goats, known for their rare high-quality fiber, grow a soft duvet or undercoat of remarkably fine and soft fibers masked under a rougher coat of hair. During the milder days of spring, generations of herders skillfully use the combing technique to gently shear the undercoat by hand. We are proud to support this century-old tradition by ethically manufacturing each piece locally in Mongolia, with the most precious cashmere and exceptional craftsmanship.
5. What inspired the collaboration and LERET LERET pop-up with Santa Ynez General and the Landsby Hotel?
We had already worked with Pearson, co-owner of Santa Ynez General, and we get along so well. Since Edouard was traveling to California for meetings, we saw a great opportunity to consciously and responsibly create brand awareness. We like to directly talk to our clients and tell them the whole story.
6. Where can LERET LERET's products be found and shopped?
We currently sell at Santa Ynez in Santa Barbara, Amarees in Newport Beach, The Conservatory in Dallas, NY and Napa Valley, Serenella in Boston, Nantucket and Palm Beach, Lazy Point Variety in Amagansett, Lab La Marca in Madrid, and of course on our website www.leret-leret.com.
7. What is your favorite 2020 trend so far?
It's definitely interesting how all the face mask market has evolved into a fashion statement. We're curious to see how this "trend" develops. We think people, in general, will continue to wear masks even post-pandemic. Just like they do in Asia when commuting. So there's a lot of room to grow, better face mask technology, and maybe transparent masks so that the hearing-impaired can read lips.
8. What is one cause or charity you care most about?
We partnered with God’s Love We Deliver to donate 25% of all sales to help reach their goal of funding 100,000 meals during the COVID-19 pandemic. We wanted to help our fellow New Yorkers as much as we could. We admire them and are really happy to have formed this partnership.
9. What’s the best advice you have ever received?
I would say to stay honest in our path. To not follow trends, to trust ourselves so that we can communicate our message with awareness, honesty, and pride.
10. How would you encourage someone to face and conquer obstacles in the business and/or fashion industries?
One day at a time. We are still learning every day. Never be scared of things you don't know, that's how you learn.