David de Rothschild, the British environmentalist who once sailed across the Pacific Ocean in a boat made from recycled plastic bottles, is casting off for his next adventure: a new business, aptly known as The Lost Explorer, that traffics in “goods, apparel, and things you didn’t know you needed.” Located in the Venice neighborhood of Los Angeles, the company plans to unveil its first collection, a wool-based line of outerwear inspired by pieces de Rothschild himself owns, in October. Form, according to de Rothschild, will follow function. For textile development, the banking scion turned to Schoeller Textil AG, a Swiss company that specializes in sustainable, biomimicry-inspired technologies such as water-repellant finishes that copy self-cleaning lotus leaves and windproof membranes that react like pinecones to changing temperatures. We spoke to de Rothschild to learn more about the partnership.
What’s the Lost Explorer about?
The Lost Explorer is an outfitter for everyday explorers, bringing together style and natural performance. The whole collection is inspired by our love of culture, history, travel and the uniquely functional products we have found along the journey.
We are explorers of both the human world and natural world, and the fascinating way they coexist.
How did you come to collaborate with Schoeller?
Schoeller has always been at the top of list of companies that we are keen to collaborate with. So we decided to do some digging into our network to see who we knew who could find a way to connect with the innovative Swiss company.
“The Lost Explorer is an outfitter for everyday explorers, bringing together style and natural performance.”
Jono, our head of design and co-founder, sat down and had pizza and meatballs with Tom Weinbeinder of Schoeller U.S.A. at Tony‘s in San Francisco. Great pizza! Tom and Jono discovered that our two companies share some passions and future thinking regarding the apparel industry.
After further explaining our direction and vision for the brand. Tom insisted we speak with Siegfried Winkelbeiner, the CEO of Schoeller, and the rest is history.
What kind of role will nature and biomimicry play in the brand?
When it comes to curating our collections, our approach from the outset has always been about the materials story being first. So with this in mind, the materials, processes, and intentions that go into the design of our goods and apparel, will always place nature as the face of the brand.
All design is a collaboration between humans and nature, but ultimately the part where we hold the greatest responsibility, is how nature’s concerns and contributions will be considered or dismissed.
In practical terms, we see Schoeller as part of an extended family of innovators. We want to push The Lost Explorer and Schoeller to the forefront of what we call “natural performance.”
What are some of the materials you’ll be using?
Both the apparel and goods part of the first will be anchored in Schoeller Naturetec wool blends with Corkshell [made from a byproduct of cork production].
We chose this textile technology as it’s both water-resistant and highly breathable, not to mention that we believe it’s a material that needs to be explored more in terms of applications and performance.
The collection speaks to nature’s simplicity, functionality, and ability to outfit our customers for the adventure that is everyday life.
How do you plan to use Corkshell?
For the apparel, we plan to launch with a mountain-inspired jacket as well as a vintage 1920s fireman’s jacket remade out of Schoeller fabrics with Corkshell.
We are also releasing a limited-edition performance Californian construction slipper and a vintage-inspired traveler bag that doubles up as the perfect weekender bag.
“The collection speaks to nature’s simplicity, functionality, and ability to outfit our customers for the adventure that is everyday life.”
The idea is to create a collection of different products that are anchored by the same material, again reinforcing the story we want to tell that puts nature first.
What’s the broader mission behind The Lost Explorer?
We hope to challenge the norm of what is expected from the adventure and performance industry. Also, we see the partnership as a fresh perspective, perhaps we are interested in creating a broad platform that can house stories, ideas, passions, and adventures of all different kinds of people.
Adventure is personal to everyone, and arises from a deep connection with the world around us. Our intention is to always advocate for adventure.
Whether you’re walking to the corner store, or traveling halfway around the world your notion of adventure is only limited by how courageous your curiosity can be.
We don’t want to be defined by one thing: rather sculpted by many, a path that Schoeller has been treading for some time.