Mark Cross CEO Ulrik Garde Due has been at his post for almost a year now, and he is speaking on our Positive Week panel in New York. In honour of both occasions, we spoke with him about the legacy of the American luxury brand, the way he is embedding sustainability into its operations, and their latest initiative that will give new homes to their iconic vintage handbags.
On the brand’s inherent sustainability
The new consumer-centric, digital-first strategy that we have been working on and executing since I joined a year ago is really looking at the values that the Mark Cross company stands for. Within those values, sustainability is one of the most important subjects, because we represent an authentic heritage luxury lifestyle brand. In order to be true to our mission and to the vision of Mark Cross’ future, we have to make sure that we are, from a sustainability point of view, acting in a respectful way.
On the latest Mark Cross initiative
Luxury brands should be emphasising the fact the lifecycle of the products that we make is longer than the fast-moving fashion lifecycle. We have proven that in the last couple of months as we have been preparing for the launch of our own vintage website. In the beginning of October, you will see a link on our website where we buy and sell vintage Mark Cross goods. While we have been studying the vintage market of Mark Cross, it has been a thrill for me to see that there are so many beautiful products out there that may be 100 years old or more but that are still in great condition and still have an amazing amount of history and value. That’s really what I believe luxury should be about. Longevity within the product because of its good quality and timelessness.
On Mark Cross customers and partners
Our consumer is quite sophisticated and educated and they appreciate the quality we are making and take it as a given that we are doing things the right way. More and more consumers, brand ambassadors, influencers and celebrities have been asking for information about how we think of sustainability before they buy into our collection. I see that as a very good sign that there is an awareness overall that is building.
On weaving sustainability into the brand
While we are developing the team rapidly, we make sure that everybody understands the evolution of our culture and that sustainability is a part of everything we are doing, starting with the design process. Another big initiative we are undergoing is opening a new flagship store in November. That’s a good example of how we brief everybody, the architects, merchandisers and the artists that will be doing the props for the store and so on. All have our sustainability mantra in their briefings, so we ensure that we do things in the right way from the beginning, full circle.
On the future of Mark Cross
Innovation is at the top of the agenda. Anything we can do with an updated mindset of finding new ways of working with materials, making beautiful products and creating longevity in a respectful way is really exciting. And it pushes the boundaries for our creative team to make that part of their everyday, starting with the design process. We have some amazing factories in Italy we have been working with for more than 50 years, and we want to keep that exquisite, sustainable level of craftsmanship for the brand.
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Written by - Tara MacInnis