“We are committed to our values” – An interview with the founder of fashion brand Herrlicher

    Erwin O. Licher is far from an unknown name in the German fashion industry. He is renowned as a fashion and denim connoisseur who is clearly committed to his work – something that is quite a rarity these days, at a time when mainstream and fast fashion seem to be holding sway. We caught up with the founder of the Herrlicher brand for a chat about his own personal ethos and approach.

    First things first, please describe the Herrlicher brand in your own words…
    Herrlicher is timeless, modern, authentic and genuine. We have certain principles and treat our brand with the utmost care.

    What do you mean by “with the utmost care” here?
    We don’t let ourselves be influenced by external factors like moods or fleeting trends. For us, this also includes the approach of only working with good producers within Europe. We deliberately refrain from cooperating with producers from Bangladesh and other low-wage countries. Fabrics and materials for our collection pieces are carefully and meticulously selected. This care is also reflected in the way we treat our employees within the company, as well as our partners and our customers. We stay true to our principles, even if our customers or representatives are expecting something different from us that we’re not. We are committed to our values and don’t buckle under pressure!

    The denim sector is one of the most hotly discussed sectors in the fashion industry right now. As a brand, what are the challenges you are currently faced with?
    The challenge is obvious: washing jeans without wasting water. The fact is, there aren’t many women who want to wear unwashed jeans. And, despite the important sustainability considerations, this is the dilemma we are facing: washing a pair of jeans requires water. The challenge lies in finding a way to take both factors into consideration.

    We invest 100 percent in our work and leave nothing to chance.

    Herrlicher works with Candiani. Many brands boast about the fact that they work with sustainable manufacturers. How do you deal with the topic of sustainability?                             We have already been working with Candiani for over ten years now. But we don’t have to shout this cooperation from the rooftops – we just get on with it. That also applies to all other fabric suppliers we work with, including Royo and Isko, because they can show special certificates for their products and manufacturing methods. We’re not green, but ever since the brand was founded, we’ve been trying to use our resources to address the topic of sustainability. From the beginning we chose not to put plastic or metal labels on our jeans, instead using a paper variation that can be recycled. In the first few years, these hangtags were affixed onto the jeans using a piece of twine. But we stopped doing that eight years ago. Instead we now sew the hangtags onto the waist of the jeans. With these small steps we are doing our bit for sustainability.


    How relevant are trends for you and how do you incorporate them into your collections?
    In a nutshell: our philosophy is timeless, and we don’t follow every trend. Our four designers usually get their inspiration for the collections from the internet. My wife and I also contribute our creative input. Personally, I am a good observer and am often inspired by the world around me. Especially when I’m travelling. I find it particularly interesting at airports, where I like to observe people from other countries who are dressed differently. At the end of the day, it’s about designing fashionable and wearable clothing for our customers.

    How much of Herr Licher is actually in the Herrlicher brand?
    A lot, I hope! (laughing) I work at the company on a daily basis. Both the design and also the production team are sacred to me. We invest 100 percent in our work and leave nothing to chance. Everything is meticulously checked by us, from incoming goods to the outgoing deliveries. Everything has to be right. Our goal is to present the best possible goods to our partner and then ultimately the customer.

    Personally, what do you want to have achieved by the end of the year?
    Peace and contentment, while having fun in the process! (laughing)

    A great closing statement! Thank you very much for talking to us, Mr Licher!


    Interview: Deniz Trosdorff

    You might like the following stories