Who is… Xandres?
The story of Belgian fashion house Xandres goes back to 1927, when it still produced workwear under the name of Andries & Co. Meanwhile, the company encompasses corporate fashion as well as two successful fashion brands: Xandres and Xandres Gold (the elegant plus-size collection). Each of these labels is high-quality, both in terms of comfort and fit as well as aesthetics.
Convinced that working sustainably is the only way forward, Xandres has developed a strategic plan that steers clear from ‘design to waste’ and makes way for sustainable sourcing, carbon-neutral logistics, transparent production sites, sustainable packaging and a closed loop.
Xandres reduces its logistic footprint by deliberately sourcing from a limited number of countries – mainly Portugal, Italy and China, and, to a lesser extent, India – and a small number of suppliers, some of whom Xandres has been partnering with for more than twenty-five years. The company puts great stock in long-term, close collaborations and regularly has its sourcing team travel abroad to visit its partners.
To achieve its goal of completely responsible sourcing, Xandres is currently drawing up a questionnaire for its partners, to map the latter’s social and environmental risks and mitigate these through specific action plans. In the near future, Xandres wants to develop a materials database containing – among other things – fabrics and haberdasheries, each accompanied by the available certifications.
Xandres, Xandres Gold and Xandres Studio are synonymous with high-quality, timeless design. Moreover, Xandres reduces waste through optimal material use.
In addition, Xandres is setting up a quality framework consisting of a personal definition of quality as well as a consistent verification system. This will enable the company to objectively measure its performance in this regard. Finally, the fashion enterprise wants to focus more on its Essentials and Classics collections, which are always in stock and consist of items that are made as sustainably as possible.
Using harmful chemicals during the production process is out of the question for Xandres. For instance, the company opposes the sandblasting of jeans and opts for natural dyes wherever possible.
Xandres has a team of seamstresses in its own atelier in Destelbergen, but it also keeps a close eye on its production partners abroad through regular factory visits. The company wants to move towards a more sustainable future together with these partners – auditing them, raising awareness and making improvements wherever possible. Xandres is currently drawing up a questionnaire as well as a Code of Conduct that every partner will be asked to sign.
When refurbishing its stores, Xandres consistently invests in energy-efficient led lighting, and the bags it provides are made from recycled plastic. But Xandres realises there is still much room for improvement when it comes to packaging materials. That’s why the company is doing market research and consulting with its logistics partner to reduce their impact in this respect. Just like in the production phase, Xandres attaches a lot of importance to a close collaboration with a trusted company, nudging it towards a more sustainable way of working. In other words, Xandres prefers to take the green route together with its existing logistics partner rather than opting for another company that may have already progressed further.
Some of the specific goals are using less and 100% recyclable primary packaging materials and reusing both primary and secondary packaging materials (which involves setting up a take-back system as well). For instance, Xandres is looking into high-quality garment bags and boxes to reuse.
By focusing on, among other things, maintenance, Xandres wants to extend the lifespan of its clothes as much as possible. The company translates this resolution into three action points: first, exploring the option of maintenance tips that fit in perfectly with the quality framework that’s currently being developed; second, identifying marketing actions to encourage good use and keep items in top condition for years and years to come; and third, looking into the possibility of launching a repair programme.
In the further future, the company plans to collect half of the items it sells, and to make the most of the materials it takes back. It is currently looking for partners that can help close the loop.
What challenges are you currently facing?
Desrumaux: “Communication features high on the agenda here; we think it’s important to be honest. On the one hand, we’re looking for a way to get started, and on the other, we know we’re not perfect yet. Openly admitting the latter always entails the risk of becoming a target for the press, yet we don’t let that discourage us: transparency also means talking about how we’re not entirely there (yet).”
What does sustainability mean for you?
Patrick Desrumaux: “First and foremost, sustainability comes down to extending a product’s useful life, and producing high-quality items with a timeless design. In addition, working sustainably means keeping our entire supply chain under control: from selecting sustainable materials and reliable partners to, in the longer term, closing the loop with take-back systems.”
Which lesson(s) do you want to share?
Desrumaux: “Teamwork makes the dream work. Not only the management is really committed; we have established a core team that regularly meets up and makes sure sustainability is on the minds of everyone in the company. The entire organisation supports our sustainability efforts and that close involvement really bears fruit.”
This page was created in August 2019. Curious to find out where Labels by Andres stands now? Feel free to get in touch with them via firstname.lastname@example.org!