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Nona Source, the platform aiming at reducing LVMH luxury deadstock fabrics

LVMH brands luxury deadstock fabrics at competitive prices: the project is committed to support a circular fashion economy model

LVMH and the Circular Economy: the universe of ‘sleeping beauties’

The timing within the fashion industry allows luxury brands, that offer collections a year in advance, to take orders in anticipation and produce what is required for in-store sales. According to this quite logical reflection, there would not seem to be a risk of waste in terms of materials. Consumer market analysis and sales from previous years still do not predict perfectly the future performances and generate overproduction. Actually, the unused textiles, together with unsold garments, contribute to the accumulation in the warehouses of the various fashion houses. Discovering this universe of ‘sleeping beauties’ within the LVMH group, Romain Brabo, expert and previously employed in the area related to the quality of raw materials at Givenchy and Kenzo, thought about a resale platform. Together with Marie Falguera, also previously employed in the textiles department for the Kenzo company, they created Nona Source. The presence of leftovers at the end of the creative process leading to the production of the collections and their subsequent depreciation were the basis for the creation of the start-up. Designed to reduce the level of waste produced by the fashion industry, Nona Source boosts circularity in the use of materials. The project is encouraged by the massive presence of fine materials belonging to LVMH’s luxury fashion houses. One of the challenges in building the project was the idea of proposing a different buying experience in the fabrics sector, completely developed online through the dedicated platform. This solution allows anyone to access information transparently and control materials’ availability and details in terms of quantity in meters, colors, prices. Falguera explaining about their mission states: «What Nona Source is dedicated to is to allow creatives to easily access to high quality materials at a competitive price whilst encouraging the creative reuse of existing resources». 

LVMH deadstock: Re-use the R chosen to develop the project

Nona in Roman mythology is one of the three Parcae, the one in charge of spinning the thread of life that represents the need to change and the human fate. Together with the sourcing part it was designed as signing a new beginning in the fabrics industry. One of the bases on which Nona Source is founded is the circularity, the possibility to give a second life to already available resources and materials. The project was born within the LVMH DARE program, an incubator that encourages creativity and innovation for the development of some entrepreneurial ideas. The ability to create a circular fashion model is connected to favoring smaller companies or young talents who aim to develop a career in this field. The access to certain types of materials, of superior quality, or stocks is effectively difficult for smaller realities, explains Falguera, when they looked at the group leftovers and at that obstacle for young designers they decided to create that bridge. Materials, excluding branded ones, are selected by experts internally and then displayed and sold within the platform at a cost that results in seventy percent less than the initial cost. Materials with logos are not included because they are intellectual properties of the firms and it avoids the phenomenon of counterfeiting already widespread in the luxury sector. These types of fabrics are usually recycled to create new fibers. In order to promote the sustainability of the project, because the warehouses are located in France, the radius of action is limited to Europe, this also allows to receive the fabrics in a short time that can go from three to nine days. Main players, despite the online platform and the future development of a showroom, are the warehouses, since Nona Source also operates at a supply chain level, the pieces bought from LVMH fashion brands are moved into a warehouse in order to be controlled and treated by Nona Source’s experts. From that point they are shipped to buyers. A change in the traditional model of fashion has favored the development of the platform, affirms Falguera, referring to the increasing use of practices close to the respect of materials, people and the environment.

Nona Source is a B2B platform that sells ‘re-sourced’ materials online

Nona Source, how the platform works

Falguera specifies Nona Source is not a marketplace, it is developed as an e-shop, LVMH Maison sell deadstock materials to them and the platform provides contact with buying companies. It seems complicated to imagine a virtual fabric buying process, through the e-shop the team re-proposes the touch and feel experience online. Samples digital rendering was one of the biggest challenges in the ideation of the platform, states Falguera, different fabrics e-shops have been analyzed in order to create a pure system, easy to be understood and to navigate especially in showing the tissues qualities. This avoids the traditional sampling giving back to the user the features of the different materials, purchasable by roll, skin or panel. The online shop was conceived with a group of designers and eco-designers, states Falguera, in order to construct a tool based on their needs, because during the creative process they may already be oriented towards something specific or they prefer to be guided and inspired in their fabrics’ choice. The sourcing process starts with the analysis of the materials composition and weight, later there are the choice of the type of material such as cotton woven, leather, knit. Another section of the platform is called inspiration where tissues can be found according to the occasion of use, as casualwear, ceremony, sportswear, or to patterns and properties, when even pieces from haute couture are available, but also ones with technical features as water resistance. For each product, descriptive videos, showcases and mannequin tests were created to understand the fall and drape view, the stretching, the transparency. Colors are also rendered identically through the use of a new technology. Professionals from registered companies only need to connect and choose the textile that fits most their needs adding them to the cart. When there is the need to have more information, especially regarding the performances of the material, seeing the impossibility to see it physically, appointments for counseling can be organized with Nona Source experts.

Lampoon reporting: deadstock reselling 

This project has a value for fashion houses that at the end of the year find themselves with these materials to depreciate and have a reference to turn to in order to provide these fabrics with a second life. One uncomfortable issue could be not having the ability to physically test materials, so after the various restraints put on the development of Nona Source by Covid, the project will also be developed at the showroom level in Paris. The process of recruitment of the deadstock fabrics is not only related to ascertaining the quality of the products, already defined by their derivation from luxury brands, but goes to search for that information that may have been lost. At the end of the production process, these inventories are in fact depreciated and the knowledge about the product is lost, even the most basic such as the composition of the material. Traceability is at the basis of the promotion of a reliable circular fashion model, Falguera reiterates, Nona Source with its direct connection with luxury Maison is capable of directly receiving the goods data. Another relevant point is related to the initial stage in the creation and development of a young company, with that platform it is easy to access the materials through a laptop, without having to have connections with brands or go to look for suppliers. The additional guidance offered on appointments stresses the human approach to small entrepreneurs. Affordability is provided by the roll sale mode and by some regulations, such as a minimum of meters to buy, which enable not to have deadstock fabrics anymore. The selection of the geographical area in which to operate could be a limitation, but Falguera explains that this decision aims to avoid imports and exports, given the massive presence of designers operating in Europe, who want to implement a change in the fashion system and who are loyal to the values of the project. Questions could be raised as to whether the project is driven more by an ethical issue or a revenue issue to sell the remaining inventory and reduce the waste of money in terms of the group. It is clear according to Falguera that making profits is not the aim of Nona Source and it can be checked looking at the really competitive prices and the high discounts on that, the ethical issue of encouraging the circular fashion model involving LVMH maison is the core of the project. Moving a large group to rethink its standard and consolidated model by making it realize the consequences caused in the last years by this behavior, it is critical given the broad scope of their work. The activity of Nona Source is combined with one of the pillars of the group’s LIFE 360 program. This model of circular economy is leading to a change in the fashion model starting from the production process, the positive aspect in this, Falguera explains, is that working with deadstock fabrics you only have to wait for the product to be delivered and not for the entire process of the material creation. On the other side from the buying brand point of view the choice in terms of colors, quantity and attributes of the fabrics is limited. That is why the project itself was born thinking of smaller realities with limited collections, but even large companies are adapting to creating with what is already available, perhaps through capsule collections.

Nona Source

Nona Source is a B2B platform that sells “re-sourced” materials online. It’s open to all brands, as well as to independent designers

Chiara Narciso

The writer does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article.

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