behind the brand
We spoke with Bettina Lempelius, founder of Lempelius and specialist in designing down coats, to ask her about the story behind the Berlin-based brand. Although this year has been difficult, she opens up about enjoying staying in one place and how she finds inspiration in her change of routine.
The Lempelius headquarters in Berlin
First of all, how are you doing?
Thank you, considering the unusual circumstances that we all are facing, I am doing very well. A change of routine can also be an inspiration.
Lempelius was founded in 2004. How did it all begin and what was the initial idea behind the brand?
We started out with a collection of only yellow raincoats, which was the coat of my childhood. Having grown up in Hamburg near the sea, everybody used to have one. This coat very soon evolved in all kinds of new shapes and colours.
"I miss travelling, but at the same time I feel more calm and concentrated staying in one place. Surprisingly I also enjoy this."
How would you describe the aesthetic identity of Lempelius?
Lempelius has a minimalistic and clean look. Our coats are statement pieces, but they do not neglect function. Our customer keeps her Lempelius coat for many years. High quality is part of our identity.
What does a week at the Lempelius headquarters (usually) look like and how has that changed because of Covid-19?
Of course Covid-19 is omnipresent, but as we are a small team, our daily routine has not changed much. We are lucky to have a spacious office to do physical distancing. I miss travelling, but at the same time I feel more calm and concentrated staying in one place. Surprisingly I also enjoy this.
"Our coats are statement pieces, but they do not neglect function."
How is the current worldwide situation influencing your daily routine?
We have noticed that in these uncertain times, we have to act rapidly and adapt quickly, as we do not know what will happen tomorrow and when and where the next lockdown will be. We develop our collection and source our fabrics and accessories in northern Italy, so a lot of our friends and partners were strongly effected by the pandemic. Sticking together and supporting each other has become more important than ever.
How do you stay inspired to come up with new designs? Where do you get your inspiration from?
I live and work in Berlin. Berlin is full of inspiration. Our office is is in a very lively neighbourhood, there is always something to see and to do that makes you think of something new.
What style advice would you give to people who are working from home these days?
Always dress for yourself so you feel good, no matter if you are at home or at the office.
"I love artisanal work and I admire the knowledge and the capability of the people in the sewing room, which is one of my favourite places."
Could you describe your design process (do you play a specific type of music, are you surrounded by people or rather by yourself)?
To have some peace and quiet is very helpful to start the design process. We speak a lot in our team about our vision and what we wish for the next season. I personally like to work directly on the piece rather than on the sketch. Meaning, I start with a new idea and work directly with the material to develop new shapes. We try out, rework and evaluate a lot before we have a final piece.
How do you like to combine your Lempelius coat?
Lempelius coats are versatile, they look great with a high heel boot but just as nice with a chunky sneaker.
What essential should every woman own?
This winter? An oversized, soft and cozy down coat to keep you warm and stylish at the same time.
What does the production process of a Lempelius coat look like?
We produce all our coats in Europe in small family owned factories. We visit them regularly in order to check the quality and support them in case there are any problems. I accompany the production process very closely and have known most working people in the factories for many years. It is a pleasure for me to see the process of cut pieces coming together to a final garment. I love artisanal work and I admire the knowledge and the capability of the people in the sewing room, which is one of my favorite places. Once the coats come out of production, they arrive in Berlin for a final check and we ship from here to all our clients all over the world.
"Lempelius coats are made to last for many seasons, not only in terms of quality but also in terms of design."
How can you keep your coat in the best possible condition?
It is best to always hang your down coat on a hanger to avoid creasing. It is also important to prevent the coat from hanging next to a source of heat and not let it dry in the sun, in case it got wet. Over summer the coats should be stored with enough space and not be compressed. Down coats need to be fluffed up regularly so the down does not clump together.
Sustainability is important for Lempelius. What do you contribute to being sustainable and are there difficulties you had to face to get there?
Lempelius coats are made to last for many seasons, not only in terms of quality but also in terms of design. We take time to thoroughly develop our coats and consider each detail. Sourcing and producing locally gives a lot of transperancy to us and ensures short ways. We use the same materials over years to avoid fabric wastage and produce only by order, in order to prevent a left over stock. Thanks to this, we almost have no waste. We take into account the impact on our environment in everything we do and reevaluate our doing constantly.
Discover the Lempelius collection by Pauw here.