7L return with a nature-inspired SS21 collection dubbed MTP Collection
April marks the second round for SEVEN LAYER, the outerwear authority from Manchester who made great waves in 2020, documented here at Wonderland, with their inaugural ORIGIN collection.
With founder and CEO Jamie Lundy re-imagining the original 7L concept to become a functional and performance led label with an organic natural style, this latest eye-catching 7L MTP Collection, cements what is now widely regarded as one of the major players in crafted outerwear with both Lundy and designer Chris Vandrill at the helm. Maintaining its military-based layering system, the SS21 delivery is inspired by the New British Forces Multi-Terrain Pattern (MTP) camouflage. This design is delivered to work across a mixed landscape with effortless ease, from woodland, to mountains through to urban settings and for an eclectic cross-section of wearers
Boasting Layers from Base to all weather, the 7L MTP collection is versatile and crafted to adapt to a multitude of requirements dependent on the wearer, featuring collaborations with Manchester-based English Fine Cottons (EFC), Blackburn-based Cookson and Clegg and a second season with ArkAir. “We have managed to come through the other side and not only have we created a fantastic new collection that we truly stand by,” says Lundy. “We’ve also just managed to open our flagship store in my home town of Alderley Edge.”
Stand out pieces from within the collection include, the Mid-Layer Eco Textile Field Jacket , Organic Cotton Smocks and a British Millerain Dry Wax Cotton and Performance Polyester Parka. The collection also includes lightweight fabric relaxed Tee’s, Sweats and Hoodies, Stretch Field Shorts and Trousers and desert / jungle Boonie’s.
For further information visit sevenlayer.com
Our new friends over in Germany, Sapeur, intrigued by the current wave 7L are on, speak with our Founder, Owner, CEO and Creative Director Jamie Lundy.
Sapeur – One Step Beyond
Born from our passion for football and casual culture, Sapeur – One Step Beyond is an independent blog dedicated to the way of life and the dressing style inspired by the terraces and british subculture. Since 2014 we are pinning stories on our culture, new releases and brands, keep an eye on new sneakers and exhibitions and chat with brands, authors and artists from all over the world. Always one step beyond!
For our latest interview, we caught up with Jamie from 7L SEVEN LAYER, one of the most innovative and forward-thinking clothing brands that we’re excited about and hope to see in the future.
Hailing from Manchester, the brand is ready to shake up the industry with their functional and innovative designs, mixed with a unique style and fit for the new wave of fashion. The first exclamation marks have been put on it with the release of an impressive collabo with ArkAir.
We present the Jamie and 7L SEVEN LAYER to you today.
Hello Jamie, how are you?
Very well thank you. Thankful to be busy during these testing times. Launching a brand during the pandemic hasn’t been easy, but we have worked so hard as a team and had great feedback to the both the brand and product, which has led to us opening the flagship shop in Alderley Edge. Hopefully we will be able to open properly in the coming weeks.
Can you tell us a bit about your background? Did you already work in the fashion industry?
I have a fashion background from my younger days yes, but my career was in engineering for the family business. We won awards for designing the infrastructure of the national railway signalling system – it’s work where the attention to the finer detail is of paramount importance and this has been integral to what I do now.
What made you start 7L and what does the name stand for?
After we sold the family business I was a bit lost and struggling mentally to be honest, so I started to develop another passion of mine in photography. I was asked by a friend to take photographs for a brand called 7L Systems and that was the first introduction.
Further down the line I was asked to come on board with the brand as the MD – it was already a good business, but I wanted to put my own stamp on the design, fabrics and the business – across the board – and that’s when the real hard work started.
It has taken three years of hard work to get to the point of starting the new-wave SEVENLAYER brand, but it has been worth it and we are in a great place.
The name derives from a US military layering system, the fundamentals of which we are still aligned to, where pieces can be worn individually and where some pieces can be put together.
How would you describe your target group?
We are a brand without boundaries and it’s important for us to have an appeal to an audience that believes in considered purchasing and the value of well-made and well-designed garments. We consider ourselves to be the outerwear brand of the future.
Of course there is a market for us in guys that are passionate and knowledgable about their coats and jackets, from the casuals through to fans of brands like
Massimo Osti and of course CP – we fit that bill. However, our craftsmanship and innovation stands out. We are all about fashion with function and style with performance.
How can we imagine the process of product development?
Myself and designer Chris Vandrill work tirelessly on new innovations and designs and researching new fabrics. Some things work, some things cause differences of opinion but fundamentally, the time we spend together and that process of being in the same room working things out is key to the success of the brand so far.
We come up with a brief together and then Chris will go away and work on designs for us to pour over and adapt/change if need be. I know what I want and can be quite forthright with that, but it’s a relationship that works and the latest
collection is looking outstanding.
You emphasize on that Made in Manchester craftsmanship aspect. Why is this so important to you?
I am from Manchester originally and our cotton mill history and heritage is huge. This thriving city industry all but died out and only recently have we seen a resurgence.
I want to create the very best products utilising the very best fabrics and at the same time supporting local industry – hence our work with English Fine Cottons, and more recently Lancaster University. We also support Made In Britain and have
continued our partnership with ArkAir, where we have carefully curated excellent camo prints.
Jamie, what were your first goals or milestones for 7L?
Really, fundamentally to design and create garments that I was proud of. There was a lot of work to do within the brand at the start and it has taken a lot of time to get right, so I guess just to get the house in order to give us the best chance of producing world class product.
Which brands do you like to wear yourself?
Apart from 7L ? It’s actually what I wear to be honest, as we produce everything from T-shirts, sweatshirts and pants as well as of course our outerwear.
Personally, I have an appreciation for brands including Universal Works, Adidas Originals, Converse – I like workwear and the casual look really. Being from Manchester and from that time of the music scene going crazy and the football casuals movement, I have an affinity with that overall look I guess.
Manchester has a rich football culture and is home to the style from the terraces. Did the casual culture have an influence on 7L?
Ha ha – It has a place, but more so because that big parka and statement outerwear took the terraces by storm in the 90’s here in the UK, so by it’s nature it has a relevance. It’s not directly inspired.
Our overall aesthetic also has Japanese and US influence, that workwear look as I mentioned. We believe in not overcomplicating our designs so everything is
functional and of course stylish in an ‘easy way’.
If my information is correct, your gear is currently only available via your Webshop and Woodhouse Clothing. What are your plans for the future?
We have a flagship store opening in Alderley Edge near Manchester. It is currently being designed ready for opening after the lockdown eases.
We actually managed to open in early December last year for a few weeks as a pop-up and did VERY well. So we are excited to say the least. The space looks amazing.
Following this, we will be looking at opening more stores of course.
Your garments are specified in different categories like LAYER 1 to 7, Origin System Pack and Trek System. Could you please explain the philosphy and technology behind it?
Our first real start of the new SEVENLAYER brand was with ORIGIN last year and the response was fantastic and has really kick-started things for us.
As mentioned before, the platform is taken from a US army layering system, adapted for a new-wave audience. The brand was very technical as 7L Systems, perhaps too much, but our philosophy is to produce functional garments with a natural, organic style that captures our innovative design ethos. We are high quality, transparent and clear in the purpose of our products.
Which garment would you point out as a signature piece of 7L?
I would probably have to say the Waterproof Outer – the shell jacket which we have produced in orange, black and then a limited edition combination of the two. This jacket is made from 100% Japanese recycled polyester and a recycled hydrophilic membrane with the outer fabric including non-fluorinated durable water-repellant finish.
This is also part of the layering system as the Modula Down Outer (layer 7) zips directly inside.
2020 wasn’t a normal year. How has the lockdown affected your brand?
It was a shocking year and so terrible for so many people and it continues. It has really shown the importance of family and friends over business.
Of course the business side of things proved to be difficult for various reasons and as mentioned the shop has been delayed for a number of months due to lockdown. But we are here and the positive is that we have done very well under the circumstances. We are healthy and our families are healthy thankfully.
Recently, you did a collection with ArkAir and I really love the Night Cam Field Jacket. How did you join forces with them and what do you think about the result of your first collab?
It’s a hugely popular piece within the collection, I was very pleased with the
result with the Night Cam parka and the process was so interesting. I was like a kid in a sweet shop going through the books of ArkAir’s heritage and prints. It’s a no brainer for us to continue and plays a huge part in the new MTP collection.
Beside the Jackets one of my favourite 7L garments is the Crew Neck. Can you give us more insights on how you are bringing cotton back to Britain?
Yes of course, Our sweatshirts and T-shirts are made via English Fine Cottons based at the Tower Mill in Dukinfield near Manchester. As I mentioned earlier, this area is steeped in history for producing the best in quality cotton garments and therefore we are supporting local industry, but because it is THE BEST.
I believe there is a responsibility for us to work with local crafts-people IF we believe that what is being produced is the very best in quality and it is.
To get that straight: Your flagship store will be located in Manchester, is that correct?
We are opening the shop in Alderley Edge which is a small affluent town close to Manchester. We have a beautiful corner location on the High Street and have worked closely with London-based design agency BusbyWebb. It looks amazing and we can’t wait to be able to host customers in the space.
We are all about interacting with people to walk and talk them through the story and the collection.
And finally: What´s next for SEVEN LAYER?
It’s all about the new MTP collection, where we take a more masculine aesthetic through the garments, which carry the camo prints as well as plain colour-ways including beige and Khaki green. We have also introduced new pieces including the pants and hats as well as an evolution of the over-shirt.Of course we then have the shop opening and the launch, so that is very exciting for us.
7L SEVEN LAYER
You could say that SEVENLAYER is taking the world of outerwear by storm, but then you’d have to forgive the dubious word play. The truth is, this newly thought-out military-inspired brand hailing from Manchester is on the rise. Despite the complications deriving from the pandemic, it’s going from strength to strength.
At the helm is CEO and Creative Director Jamie Lundy, an entrepreneur and former award-winning design engineer, who appreciates the need for balance in the brand’s design ethos:
“Our motto is to combine fashion with functionality – and style with performance” says Lundy. “We don’t believe in overcomplicating our designs, everything is there for a reason – where beauty of clean lines and a considered approach come together”.
As we enter 2021, SEVENLAYER is now preparing – after some Covid-induced delay-to launch its flagship store in Alderley Edge, Cheshire – an open and welcoming space on the High Street of the affluent Cheshire town.
The space, which has been designed by both Lundy and award-winning London based design agency BusbyWebb, maintains that clean, yet industrial feel with leanings towards Lundy’s Scandinavian heritage. It’s philosophy that runs as a constant theme throughout the brand, where needless complications and embellishments are eschewed in preference to minimalism.
“It’s important to main a consistency in everything we do. The aesthetic of the store has to mirror our values and stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the quality of our products,” says Lundy. “The open, interactive element to the store combined with warmer woods and lighting set against those colder materials such as rendering and steel captures the brand perfectly.”
“The environment was designed to make it feel warm and natural but also technical to mirror the jackets,” says head of interiors at BusbyWebb James Coates. “The materials we chose were the essence of the outdoors on the floor and the technical panels on the back and how that’s all married with a natural, ethical render. We also wanted a hanging system that could really show off the garments, how they’re lit from above keeping it nice and minimal, not stacked high and cheap but sophisticated, so that people can touch and the feel the product.
“Then a large warm communal table with a tree feature takes centre stage to encourage engagement and enhance the environment. It’s a central unit to bring people together to showcase the detail and intricacies of the jackets.
The product detailing is echoed in the detailing of the store. Beautiful sight lines and lovely shadow gaps as well as the tactical materials still feel natural and honest but technical as well, right down to the army gun clips that hold the jackets in place, a nod back to the military inspiration that underpins the brand, but premium and elegant at the same time.”
Having worked tirelessly for the past four years reworking the previous 7L Systems brand, which involved a more visibly technical garment, Lundy and designer Chris Vandrill, unveiled the ORIGIN collection for AW20 last year – a tight-knit offer comprising of military-inspired but modern outerwear encompassing that clean design aesthetic that is now synonymous with the brand.
This first offer also showcased collaborations with English Fine Cottons and ArkAir, leaning on the brands support of both British and Manchester-based manufacturing and innovative fabric technology that saw SEVENLAYER working with experts from not only the UK also Switzerland and China.
“Our product is hard-working and honest. We appeal to the real authorities on outerwear all the way through to the man going out to walk his dog. The attention to details within our fabrics and their performance, mixed with an easy to-wear style is proving to be a very attractive combination”. Add Lundy.
Now preparing to unveil the new MTP collection, SEVENLAYER shows an organic evolution that embraces the core values and offering of last year’s ORIGIN collection and extends that offer. Military-inspired jackets in Khaki greens, beige and camo prints are complemented by workwear pants, field shirts and jungle boonie hats.
There’s something marvellously Madchester-centric about the cultural references that inspire Seven Layer CEO and creative director Jamie Lundy. ‘I’m an ’80s and ’90s kid, growing up in my early teens with The Haçienda, Stone Island, CP Company, Kickers, The Stone Roses, Oasis, City and United,’ he says. ‘Of course that’s going to inspire the label now and in the future.’
Stockport-born, Manchester-based Lundy – who took over the tech sportswear brand in 2017 – has found specific influence in the performance-focused and militaristic outerwear styles popularised by the Madchester scene’s most riotous musical figureheads. Today, brands beloved by Oasis, like Stone Island and CP Company (both founded by Massimo Osti) are enjoying an enthusiastic style renaissance, due to consumer investment in technologically innovative and craftsmanship-focused clothing. Stone Island was acquired by Moncler in December 2020, at a valuation figure of €1.15bn.
When Lundy – a former British gymnast and engineer – took the reins at Seven Layer, he was keen to instill a ‘grittier, military aesthetic’ into its DNA, ‘with a performance and technical outerwear twist’. The brand is based on the concept of seven clothing components, the first being a base layer, the third a thermal layer and the seventh a cold layer, which can be built onto the body according to need. Lundy recruited design director Chris Vandrill – who has also worked for sustainable outdoor clothing company Finisterre and cycling brand Pearson – to create the brand’s Origin System, a functional and minimalist collection, inspired by garments in the ‘US Military Generation III Extended Climate Weather Clothing System’, a 1980s-developed offering designed to provide adequate protection for soldiers operating in temperatures between -60 and +40°F (-51 to +4°C).
Available to purchase at the brand’s Alderley Edge flagship boutique and at United Arrows’ Roppongi boutique in Tokyo, Seven Layer’s Origin System is made up of protective and high-performing pieces, including T-shirts, sweatshirts and parkas. Its ‘Modular Down Outer’ jacket is lightweight, stretchy, water-repellent even in torrential downpours and created using DownTek, a fabric with premium down clusters that trap air to provide maximum insulation.
As part of Lundy’s overhaul of Seven Layer, he was keen to restrucutre its manufacturing processes and supply chains. Pieces in the collection, including the brand’s Liam Gallagher-worthy camouflaged ‘Field Parka’, were manufacturd by British outerwear company ArkAir, using 100 per cent organic cotton from Dinsmore Kells in Northern Island. ‘My family-managed engineering company spent the last 40 years fabricating in UK factories in Stockport and Irlam; it made sense to try and continue at least some of that mindset,’ Lundy says.
‘It’s in my blood and my soul,’ he adds of his affinity for Manchester as a city. Whether wearing the brand’s pieces to brave the elements on a mountain, or simply when listening to Oasis while strolling down your local high street, now the city’s stylistic signatures can be part of you too. *
Moncler will acquire Stone Island in a transaction valuing the brand at €1.15 billion ($1.4 billion), Business of Fashion reports.
The two Italian brands will remain separate, autonomous entities, although the acquisition will see the brands share information on how to best capture the American and Asian markets, as well as amplifying their DTC (direct-to-consumer) channels for the new luxury customer.
Both labels have seen incredible growth in the past few years. Notably, the Moncler Genius project (the brainchild of Moncler chairman and CEO Remo Ruffini) has modernized the luxury ski-wear brand by launching collaborations with the likes of 1017 ALYX 9SM, J.W. Anderson, and Pierpaolo Piccioli.
This week saw a huge milestone in the history of the brand as United Arrows launched the "ORIGIN SYSTEM" in their flagship store in Roppongi Hills, Tokyo.
Founded by Osamu Shigematsu in 1989, UNITED ARROWS has long been hailed as one of JAPAN's leading select stores and premiere retailers coming a very long way since its first store opened in Tokyo’s Shibuya-ka Jingumae district in 1990.
In 2017 UNITED ARROWS opened its flagship store (Above and Below Images) in Roppongi Hills, boasting a 54 story tower with surrounding mega-complex, home to an art museum, a nine-screen cinema, a five-star hotel, and apartments that can be rented for about $23,000 a month! This has been chosen by UA to be 7L's launch pad for AW20.
It goes without saying that we are all very excited and grateful to be working with and having UNITED ARROWS promote the brand. It's very exciting times.
My sincere thanks go to PADDLE INC. for introducing us to UNITED ARROWS and believing in the brand and our philosophy and future.
UNITED ARROWS Roppongi Flagship Store
Roppongi Hills West Walk 2, 3F
PHOTOGRAPHS SUPPLIED BY UNITED ARROWS
By WIRED MAGAZINE
Seven Layer (7L) is a Manchester-based outdoor brand, founded around the US Marine principle of only needing seven layers of clothing for all eventualities. The result is a capsule collection of impressively adaptable highly technical items with bags of urban style, 50 per cent of which is made in Britain. Our pick is the 3L Waterproof Outer jacket manufactured from 100 per cent recycled polyester and a recycled hydrophilic monolithic membrane with a hydrostatic head (how waterproof it is) of 20,000mm. It’s an impressive rain jacket, and one made all the more flexible by the fact the arctic-worthy Modular Down Outer zips neatly inside to cocoon the wearer from the elements.
Price: £350 | Seven Layer
A message from the owner Jamie Lundy:
Over the past few weeks we have seen our orders exponentially increase as we fast approach Christmas. Obviously great news for us as a brand as it shows what we are designing, engineering and manufacturing for our followers and fans, they are enjoying. This is amazing as it will help us grow and maintain our teams focus on delivering next years collections.
With so many businesses and brands struggling through this pandemic we are extremely grateful to everyone who is getting behind us and investing your hard earned cash into our pieces.
We pride ourselves in the principles of quality management and a "value for money experience" but, as our sales have dramatically increased over the past month or two, we have been a little overwhelmed with orders and deliveries with delivery times slipping.
We will endeavour to improve this service straight away. Our delivery timeframes are currently anything between 2 - 5 days. We will aim to improve this to 2 days maximum.
Thanks everyone for your support it really does mean a lot.
As our tagline “Fusing Fashion with Function and Performance with Style”starts to resonate around the globe, we thought it an idea to start blogging a few informative articles introducing new, existing and potential customers to the world of performance fabrics and highly advanced apparel manufacturing. We would love to get everyone talking about different terminologies such as Durable Water Repellent (DWR), breathability, hydrophobic, humidity, permeability and what they all mean in simple terms.
If it does go off-piste, forgive us, true jacket tech geeks are born this way!
The past 3 years has seen the birth and growth of the brand, where we have invested heavily into research, designing, manufacturing and developing some of the best fabrics and manufacturing techniques on the planet. The main aim, to create luxurious elevated garments that individually give a unique experience for the wearer, whether that be on top of a mountain snowboarding/mountain biking through to walking the dog in the park or shopping.
Midway through 2019 I approached Outerwear Designer Chris Vandrill to enquire if he’d be interested in coming onboard. We discussed my creative vision and the direction I saw the brand heading and that was to effectively “bring it home". I knew through industry reputation that Chris was an amazing designer, working for some of the biggest brands in the UK, but for me, I needed someone I could truly work with (24 hours a day, 7 days a week) who believed in where I wanted to take 7L and help me bring that to life. From that day, as a duo, we have never looked back.
Around 6 months ago Chris introduced me to one of the outerwear industries leading experts Charles Ross. Charles is a lecturer in performance sportswear design at Falmouth University. He has taught many of the Millennials who now lead the design of the outdoor industry. His graduates are in Mountain Equipment, Rab, Arc’teryx, Berghaus, Patagonia, Páramo and Montane among others.
We asked Charles if he’d give us his take on DWR’s and all that chemistry stuff and very kindly, he accepted! Therefore who better to kick us off with our 1st technical blog (as 7L moves towards PFC free DWR’s) and the importance of looking after your outerwear than Charles Ross.
Charles Ross writes:
DWR's & all that chemistry stuff on clothing
In the last decade there has been much talk of Durable Water Repellent (DWR) finishes on clothing – what does it all mean and and how will it affect my clothing?
Synthetic chemistry in textiles started in the 1950s in force & having developed (and refined) polyesters, nylons plus the colours, it went onto the fabric finishes. In the 1970s synthetic started to influence performance materials (that decade marked the start of waterproof breathable membranes, the following decade saw the popularity of fleece, spread).
At this time fabric finishes also included a new type of DWR finish. Designed to do two main things: keep the fabric from wetting out and not to wear off that easily; It also had a great side effect – it offered stain resistance.
Performance waterproofs wanted the key DWR aspects but found that the latter effect also kept the garment looking smarter for longer by not showing areas of grass / food / or perspiration. A major part of the chemistry is the Perfluoroinated Compounds. It is this Millennium that these have been shown to not be the best for human health, but they were present on several everyday objects like carpet finishes / clingfilm / electrical cables / non-stick pans. In the last decade there has been a voluntary move by the textile industry to change to short-chain PFCs, with the eventual aim to drop that chemistry altogether. The drawback is that stains are going to be more obvious.
The biggest companies have been putting serious money towards trying to make the DWRs stain resistant (often called green chemistry), but unsuccessfully. The Textile Research Centre at the University of Leeds has been trying to solve this dilemma for more than 15 years. The days of putting on a laboratory coat does not mean that a solution is easily arrived at.
So, what does this mean going forward? Essentially the DWRs will keep working, but the stains will be more obvious for those that do not care for their clothing using best practice. Designers will make greater allowances to hide stains – there will be more tonal & melange colouring, plus colours which are more matt. What the garment owner can do is to clean their product correctly. Machine wash is fine for clothing, but surface dirt can always be sponged off. The key thing is to remove the detritus from layers closer to the skin. Best thing to use is a pure soap (not a detergent – whether Bio or Non-Bio), then to rinse the garments a second time ( and NOT to use fabric conditioner).
For waterproofs it is worth finishing the drip-drying stage with a quick tumble dry or low heat iron (on the outer-surface) as that will reseal the DWR finish (make it much more durable). It is a better known thing that to make your jacket breath better – wash it! You will remove both the sweat residue coming from the inside as well as the contamination from the outside whether that is from scraping against bushes or the city smog. If your garment ‘wets out’ reasonably quickly this is a good sign that it needs a wash – DWRs should last for over an hour. Every 5 or so washes it is worth reproofing the garment (but always wash a product clean before applying a new protective DWR finish) brands like Nikwax produce suitable product.
The traditional mistake is to take an underperforming garment & just to reproof it – this would be like re-waxing your car, without cleaning it first. If you know how to – always use a machine that has just had a service wash to get rid of all the detergent gunk. A service wash is a hottest temperature wash with nothing in the drum, no washing powder (a cup of vinegar is best), plus to take the detergent drawer out & clean it thoroughly using boiled water (if you turn it over you will see the black residue).
The biggest reason for garments not lasting longer in use is down to Emotional Durability. Physical durability is something that modern yarns are designed to last longer; Fit durability is best illustrated by fast growing kids; but it is Emotional Durability which makes the greatest difference to the environmental footprint. Every garment you buy should last for 30 washes or 3 years to gain the lightest overall impact on carbon, water and waste during the product lifetime.
Hence, to be ahead of the curve – 7L are moving towards product PFC-free DWR's with their new 3L Waterproof hard shell. Not only do they utilise beautiful Japanese recycled fabrics, a recycled hydrophilic membrane, but the jacket is also finished with a C0 PFC free durable water resistant finish. As a young brand they've already moved light years ahead.
Check out our new Layer 6 // 3L Waterproof Outers here:
As our 7L store fit out is due to start week commencing 2nd November (for 2 weeks) we thought, as we get the keys this week, we'd take the opportunity to do a quick pop-up, allowing our hard core's to pop in and try some gear on. The store will be open Tuesday 27th October till Thursday 29th October from 10am till 6pm. All COVID rules will apply do please bring your masks and respect the rules.
The store is located at 32 London Road, Alderley Edge, Cheshire, SK9 7DZ.
Car parking (which is cheap) can be found directly behind the store on South Street. Its about £1.50 for 3 hours.
Alderley Edge train station is a 5 minute walk and has direct links to Manchester Piccadilly.
Hope to see you there!
September 14th 2020
Over at Wonderland Magazine it seems they're quite big fans of what we're doing here at 7L and here's another great interview with our owner Jamie Lundy.
"We speak to Jamie Lundy, the award-winning engineer at the creative helm of 7L (SEVEN LAYER), about his AW20 ORIGINS collection".
It all started in Manchester for the innovative head of luxury outerwear specialists 7L, Jamie Lundy. Born in Stockport, an affinity for the vibrant Northern city has coloured everything he’s done in life, whether it be snagging awards for his forward-thinking engineering work, or taking over the most technically advanced luxury brand in the UK.
The label’s name takes after its own unique SEVEN layers (7L) System, that allows for the wearer to layer up or down dependent on the surrounding environmental conditions. Think the US’ Military’s own Generation III Extended Climate Weather Clothing System (ECWCS), from which they took immense inspiration, but made heaps more fashionable.
Lundy spent three intense years restructuring the brand, putting his wide-spanning creative skill-set and unrivalled attention to detail to the test as he forges the path for 7L’s future. As he sees it, the entrepreneur-turned-designer wants 7L to grow organically with the heritage of its military design, a consistent factor to ensure innovation of his fabrics and elements of design that are integral for any brands’ longevity.
We caught up with the new kid on Manchester’s fashion block below, digging deep into Lundy’s creative outlook and the brand’s upcoming ORIGIN collection. Take a look…
Hi Jamie, how has lockdown been for you? Has the experience changed your outlook on work/life/your creativity?
Hi, pleasure talking to you. I think the pandemic has made us all re-evaluate and think about what’s most important to us and that’s of course family and friends and being healthy. In terms of work/life balance I’m always busy and that hasn’t changed, but I think all brands need to understand and be aware of how the landscape is changing, and has changed forever potentially due to COVID. As a team we have been working tirelessly on the new SEVEN LAYER ORIGIN collection that we launch this month. I’m proud of what we have achieved and it has been so well received already.
In terms of creativity, I would like to think that my attention to detail, evolved from many years as a design engineer, has continued and the passion I have with the team keeps us motivated and excited to achieve the goals we have.
How do you think 7L has grown since you took the reigns?
The idea was to understand the business and how I could build a team from the start that believed in the same values – design, function and simplicity, no hidden agendas and honest, well thought-out product. So it was about re-adjusting and tweaking something rather than changing something bad, which wasn’t the case. This first collection is the vision and we go onward. What you will see is beautifully made garments that carry a clear and understandable narrative about functionality and performance with a very natural style – prime territory for the connoisseurs of outerwear.
What were your first goals for the label?
I want the brand to stay true to what I believe in. It’s easier said than done. Initial thoughts and creativity can often be compromised along the way for various reasons, so it’s fundamentally important to stick and stay to true to what you’re trying to achieve. Honesty, technical-detailing, function, innovation and style are all values captured in every garment and in every partnership we undertake. Yes, there are learning curves, but our goal of making people sit up to think ‘Holy shit, who are these people’ is alive and kicking throughout the launch collection.
Why is the Made in England craftsmanship aspect so important to you (particularly looking at Manchester manufacturing and the talent coming from up north)?
This country and especially the North West and Manchester was synonymous with manufacturing yesteryear, you just have to visit the countless mills around this part of the country and further afield. The craftsmanship of this country was and still is highly respected the world over and it’s important for us to try to drive a new wave of that by not only supporting the industry but creating the finest garments, which we can here, for the 7L label. Our T-shirts and sweatshirts that we have made with English Fine Cotton with state-of-the-art machinery at the Dukinfiled Mill are the first made here in Manchester for more than 50 years.
And the brand new ORIGIN collection is going live in September – what is the aspect you’re most excited about?
It has to be the anticipation of how the consumer and those interested enough to take a look will receive the garments and the collection as a whole. We are very proud of it, it has numerous pull out pieces and stories around those pieces to tell and its just an exciting moment in time for us, especially after all the hard work and nervousness of the past few months.
How did you go about sourcing your manufacturers and collaborators?
Research, hard work and lots of travelling around the world banging on peoples doors (not quite literally). We started with a very small supply chain and evolved it from there. I’m old school and still love face-to-face meetings, so once I was given the opportunity to present the brand to new or larger suppliers (Schoeller etc…), potential manufacturers and other brands (ArkAir & English Fine Cottons) they could see the longevity and purpose to what 7L was trying to achieve. My extensive experience in supply chain management and manufacturing in engineering obviously helped too.
What is your favourite piece from the forthcoming drop?
Ha ha ha! I can’t pinpoint a particular piece, that would be wrong of me. I can say that we have a collection that is interesting, impactful and bursting with quality throughout the seven-layered system. From the base layer T’s and sweats mentioned in partnership with EFC through to the ArkAir Field Parka in night camo print, through to the bold orange Half-Zip Smock, stretch Travel Over-shirt and the Modula Down Jacket. There’s so much to get into which, for an entire collection feels amazing. No weak links.
Why do you think sustainability is becoming increasingly “cool”, especially amongst younger shoppers?
I honestly don’t think it has become increasingly ‘cool’ I think that younger people are savvier about the environment and about how to care for it. The knowledge and access to information is more readily available and terms like ‘fast fashion’ are widely used and understood. I think there is an element of feeling ‘cooler’ because you are ‘fitting in’ to a criteria that has become more fashion-led and focussed perhaps, but generally I think we are all understanding that we need to be thinking more about the environment and from a brand owner’s perspective, how we are responsible for implementing channels that are more sustainable and friendly.
What do you think ushered in this renaissance of outerwear brands going from nerdy or functional to becoming the “thing to wear” – and where do you think 7L sits amongst this?
That’s a really interesting point. I’m a Manchester lad and remember the renaissance of outerwear becoming the ‘thing to wear’ during the Nineties. It was basically the likes of The Charlatans and then OASIS and the football terraces that brought in this kind of New Model Army of big coat wearing Northerners – it was all about the shoes and the coats.
The Anorak brigade became cool when the likes of Blur were wearing them on stage and the rise of Oi Polo and the Hipster movement alongside the more stylised outwear of CP and Stone Island on the flip-side of that coin. Then it became more about ‘the look’ than function. i.e you don’t need to wear your coat or your anorak when it’s wet or cold.
The evolution of that now sees consumers more savvy and interested/critical in garments that don’t serve a purpose or enable a function alongside style. Lifestyles have changed, the climate has changed. How many times do you now put on a rain mac and sweat but you need it because it’s raining? SEVEN LAYER is at the forefront of providing functional garments with a fashionable appearance.
What’s next for you? What are you excited about in 2020?
Well let’s not forget that this is a year that we probably all want to forget, but the flip side to that is I think we’ve all learnt valuable lessons. The way we treat or interact with family, friends and the local community, the way we work and the importance of mental wellbeing. We almost went back to basics playing board games, card games and just talking. How many of us will continue to do that when we get back to normal and what is ‘normal’? Sometimes less is more. Quality over quantity.
In many ways, the pandemic has not just shifted my creative process and my engineered approach to design, but also the way I’m thinking, questioning what’s actually important to us and what’s important to the way we want to live. Keeping fit, walking, trekking, work. It’s all about balance. Whether that’s at home, work or in a functional garment. Taking all of that and putting it into our design is what we strive to do, creating something beautiful, yet functional and purposeful.
In terms of Autumn Winter 20, we are excited to now let the ORIGIN Collection do its job to put SEVEN LAYER on the map and to raise our profile, but the really big news is that we are launching our flagship store in Alderley Edge, Cheshire this November, so stay tuned for that one.
Shop the brand’s AW20 ORIGINS collection www.sevenlayer.com
CEO Jamie Lundy talks to Square Miles Editor Mark Hedley...