I’ve got a lot of love for anything stripped back and minimal, plus I’ve also got plenty of time for sneakers, so combining the two is always a winning combination for me. That’s right, we’re talking about minimal sneakers, specifically minimal sneakers from new French upstart Lenger, who are currently Kickstarting their way to bringing us high-quality leather trainers at a price that won’t make your eyes water.
In something that’s becoming quite a trend, Lenger is focusing on one doing one thing brilliantly, honing in on the process of making meticulously made leather trainers as efficient, cost effective and beautiful as possible. Eight months has been spent working on one sole design, ensuring that any unnecessary frivolities are removed, stitches are hidden and the finished product is a minimal masterpiece.
...and boy is it. But the thing that gets me excited here is the price. I am all about investing once and buying well in menswear, but the day to day throes of real-life working, freelancing meeting and generally moving mean that I don’t always trust myself to stump up the big bucks when it comes to trainers, especially all white leather ones. That’s why I think what Lenger have going on is great because the price is really fair for (what seems like) a pretty top notch product. I can see this being a hit within menswear circles who might love that minimal look but don’t always want to be risking dirtying their Common Projects.
I caught up with Thibault Boullenger, Lenger’s founder, to learn more about the brand’s drives, ambitions and more at what’s a very exciting time for the new minimal sneaker enthusiasts on the block. The Kickstarter campaign is live now, so if you like what you see, be sure to bag yourself some trainers and support the Lenger team into production.
Start off by introducing Lenger and telling us a little bit
I founded Lenger four years ago while living in New York with the idea of creating essential and high-quality objects with a minimalist approach at a fair price. I first worked during the weekends on it in order to slowly discover the fashion industry and how to create a brand. This year, I came back to Paris, my hometown, and felt–along with the small team working on Lenger–that we could push it further with this big project... the sneakers!
Can you tell me a little bit about Lenger and what's going on right now?
What we learn is that we can't provide 'affordable luxury' following the traditional business model in the industry. We had to come up with something new, and starting with the crowdfunding campaign is a good start.
First, it took a lot of time to understand the industry, how things are done, what makes a good of quality, how the retail system works, etc. Then we decided we could cut most of two enormous budgets: logistics & retailers. By doing pre-orders, we don't stock, or keep unsold inventory and ship everything at once. Also, we sell 100% online and talk directly to people so we don't need marketplaces or retailers. Those 2 points allow us to offer affordable high-quality products.
Why minimal sneakers?
First, we're very inspired by Scandinavian fashion! It's something most of us see with different outfits and this is why we think it's super cool. Also, it makes much more sense with the other side of Lenger, the "affordable luxury" side, because we need to sell in quantity to exist and the less we have the more we're appealing to different groups of people.
What makes Lenger shoes different to other minimal sneakers brands out there?
There are so minimal sneakers out there, but all of them are $200/300+. I personally don't want to spend this money on a pair of sneakers no matter how high quality they are. This is why I think we're a unique alternative to this trend!
Let's talk about style, how would you wear Lenger sneakers and what with?
Because it's so minimalist, I think that's the beauty of it. You can wear anything you want with them, really!