Lucentement preserves the power of artisanship
Founded in 2013 by two Amsterdam-based brothers with a passion for fine craft, Lucentement was born from the drive to preserve the power of artisanship in the age of mass production & consumption.
Growing up in a conservative city in the Netherlands where creativity and diversity was avoided rather than celebrated, Ralph and Oscar knew early on that their imaginative thinking and entrepreneurial spirit would take them elsewhere. When a family member first introduced the duo to design through a pair of Carol Christian Poell boots in 2008, the two were immediately captured by the incomparably obscure aesthetic, and their attraction to the Avant-Garde was born.
The growing obsession led to the discovery of more and more offbeat creatives, and a deepened appreciation for the artisan craft ― something that the brothers noticed declining in the digital age. Thus, Lucentement came to be: a curated online platform build to elevate modern avant-garde fashion.
Scroll to meet and join Ralph & Oscar on their journey alongside creatives like Ronny Schröder from ESDE bags, with whom we chatted last year.
Describe LUCENTEMENT in one tweet.
The facilitator to a modern Avant-Garde era.
Lucentement was founded by my brother Ralph and me, Oscar. Although we are currently located in Amsterdam, we grew up in a small village in the middle of the Netherlands.
Growing up in a conservative village was certainly a different experience, in international cities creativity is appreciated, but it’s obnoxious in smaller villages. My brother and I discovered at a very young age that our way of diverse thinking, creative yet impulsive actions, and entrepreneurial mindset wasn’t appreciated by many.
We felt that there was significantly more to discover than the environment we came from. Unimaginable dreams and ideas were always the topic of discussion within our family. We challenge each other to never take no for an answer, with the added mindset that the ceiling can’t ever be reached.
I was always fascinated by everything that was different ― everything that the average person didn’t like or accept drew my attention. Art & clothing were the pillars of my attention at that young age, while my brother enlarged his interest in mechanical design and structures.
Our first actual affiliation with design came when our cousin showed us a pair of Carol Christian Poell Prosthetic Titanium boots, back in 2008. We were immediately drawn to the uncompromised, obscure aesthetic of Carol Christian Poell, and this was our first step into the Avant Garde scene.
This obsession kept evolving and brought us to the point where we started doing research on particular designers. Back then, this was mainly focused on Carol Christian Poell, Carpe Diem, Maurizio Amadei and Rick Owens. We found that, unlike anything else you Googled, this particular style was kept utterly confidential. And so Lucentement started.
To further the story, we grew up in an era where the internet was becoming accessible to anybody who had a desktop installed. In the beginning, this movement positively triggered communities to share their knowledge and experience mutually. However, we soon saw high-end brands with extensive marketing budgets accelerate their business in the internet era. Business models were focused on reducing costs by decreasing the quality of materials and producing less innovative and unique designs, while increasing spend in marketing and promotion. The result was a less creative environment, where the work of artisans is cheaply copied, slightly adjusted to a more mainstream audience where influencers play a huge part in the success of a brand.
Additionally, the vision in the artisan world is to respectfully keep their work secret to allow it to speak for itself. Many items and collections were prohibited from photography. This secretive vision was the pillar of success in the era before the internet, because everything was new and not easily accessible. This secretive mindset in the new internet era is rather destructive, as the internet made everything accessible with one click.
This slowly depreciated the work of real artisans and made it much more difficult for Artisans to sustain in an era where accessibility of information and storytelling is becoming the key to success.
Since we were always fascinated by the craft, distinct materials, creativity and the uniqueness of the work from Artisans. And saw a decreasing trend in popularity of our segment, we decided to help out designers by boosting their work through the modern media channels like Instagram, Facebook, Spotify and YouTube.
We felt the necessity to protect and at the same time credit this niche for their individual work. As you could imagine, this was not appreciated by everyone in the scene back at that time.
Your online shop somehow conveys the craft and quality of your pieces & materials very well. How does that work and why that's important for you?
The key elements we find in our way of working are; thoughtful acting, limitless visualization and precise execution. The designers we work with all have their own approach, while each maintains the same mindset. For us, this is the only way to keep innovating and to disrupt one’s perspective on online shopping. It’s extremely important to us to provide an offline experience to our audience when visiting our website and shop. We provide as much detail as possible via photography and videography and provide the storytelling aspect via our podcasts, journal and IG posts.
When my brother and I brainstorm on collaborations, we always keep a few metrics in mind. For instance, we only work with like-minded people that often started from nothing, as we started Lucentement without funding or any support. Subsequently, we focus on designers that have found their own niche and aesthetics within the Avant Garde niche and we strive to show our audience relatively new or unknown designers.
We met James Kearns, the self-taught shoemaker from London, in Paris a few years ago. There were good vibrations between the three of us from the very first moment and already during this meeting we organically merged into a project. A week after Paris Fashion Week, I flew to London to meet him in his atelier and to talk about the collaboration. We drafted the first prototype and the rest was history.
Ronny Schroder, the maker of ESDE Bags, is like James, a self-taught artisan. He taught himself crafting through studying books and watching YouTube videos. Something which amazes us and fits our profile too, as Ralph and I have no background in Fashion. Ralph studied mechanical engineering and I studied commercial economics.
We got in touch with Ronny Schroder 3 years ago. Already before our collaboration with James, we talked about collaborating. However, somehow the actual collaboration and meeting each other got moved forward. Last April, we had a few calls and scheduled a meeting to make the collaboration a reality. Thus, we visited Ronny in his atelier in Dusseldorf and we had a full day of brainstorming, conceptualizing and executing. At the end of the day, we both went home with a satisfied feeling and 3 weeks later we went back to Dusseldorf to collect the prototypes for our editorial.
It’s hard to explain in words what the journey of Lucentement means to us. We had been fans of the designers we work with for many years before actually meeting them. Going to Paris Fashion Week, visiting runways, meeting and working with designers like Deepti, Isaac Sellam and Maurizio Amadei were all real turning points in our journey and vision. The feeling we get after meeting, talking and eventually working with them is hard to put into words. It motivates us deeply to continue to work on becoming the most trusted, storytelling e-commerce platform within the Avant-Garde niche.
We just launched our collaboration and podcast with Maurizio Amadei, which is our most exciting project to date. Looking forward to future collaborations, we can’t provide too many details yet. However, we are working with designers like Deepti, Isaac Sellam, Leon Emanuel Blanck and Tobias Birk Nielsen. A collaboration with one of these designers could be coming in the near future.
Lucentement and their founders go beyond design and art. It represents a movement of free thinking, exploration, putting yourself in hard situations to get out stronger, and daring yourself to follow your dreams. My brother and I find interest and inspiration in so many different niches: from creating music and skateboarding to experimenting with alternative healthy lifestyles like Fasting & Wim Hof breathing methods, and wine tasting. Everything that involves depth, craft, and detail excites us.
Complete the sentence "One day we will... "
...become the most trusted and disruptive storytelling online platform within the Avant-Garde Niche.
Let's hear it for industry disruptors who do it for the culture.
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