Sustainability-focused SEVEN LAYER is a modern menswear clothing brand, producing high-performance, luxury products
The Silicon Review
Jamie Lundy, CEO of SEVEN LAYER, or 7L, is a fearless leader and an incredible businessman. Despite his declining health as a result of the long hours at work, he continued to lead from the front. After receiving a clinical depression diagnosis at the age of 38, he thoughtfully decided to sell the family business he was running and retire from engineering. Following this, he became interested in photography, and his passion for it grew with each passing day because it allowed him to be creative. After learning photography on his own for a year, Jamie’s friend invited him to photograph some products for 7L — an England-based menswear clothing brand.
Knowing Jamie’s business skills, his friend asked whether he would be interested in joining the team. A nod from him led to a one-year spell in which Jamie felt everything was coming back to him, such as design, manufacturing, project management, and, of course, photography. He was then named CEO of 7L. He also invested in the brand.
Jamie upped the ante as CEO by establishing a contemporary garment design that would appeal to everyone, regardless of age. He focused on providing a functional yet appealing appearance across seven layers within individual and unique systems. 7L employs the ECWCS concept to integrate outerwear technology with fashionable clothes, with each system featuring a unique set of styles, materials, and uses.
When it comes to connecting humans with clothing, ergonomic design has always been at the heart of 7L’s ideals. To achieve this ever-changing balance, 7L monitors everyday interactions and combines them with the features it believes are vital. This marriage of garment technology and end-user purpose enables 7L to create both practical and fashionable hybrid entities that provide the wearer with a range of answers for changing environments.
Put simply, 7L is a functional-first performance brand that manages to fuse fashion with function and performance with style. The brand offers a combination of innovative design, high-performance fabrics and technically advanced manufacturing, creating luxury products that not only look great, but are built to last a lifetime.
7L was founded in 2015.
The Silicon Review reached out to Mr. Lundy, and here’s what he had to say.
“Our T-shirts and sweatshirts, made with English Fine Cottons using cutting-edge machinery at the Dukinfiled Mill, are the first made in Manchester in more than 50 years. Also, our sweaters will be the first ever made by English Fine Cottons, perhaps the first in Manchester in 50 years by an old cotton mill! More importantly, we approached UK brand Ark-Air about a possible cooperation, and they happily agreed. They make everything in Exeter, so again close to home.”
At the outset, 7L introduced the AW20 Origin System, in which some outfits could interact with one another. For example, the Modular Down Jacket (MDO), which is similar to a ski jacket, links zips within the triple layer (3L) waterproof shell jacket, resulting in a completely Waterproof Down Jacket.
“With the ‘7 Layer System,’ I wanted to take the brand back to its military DNA and modular concept and create more masculine, gritty aesthetic garments that last a long time. The ‘7 Layer System’ was first devised for the US Marines to provide a less cumbersome standard uniform as a 12-piece kit with seven layers of clothing. Layer one would be the foundation layer, which may be a cotton-type clothing, undergarments, or a T-shirt. Layer two would be a lightweight shirt or jumper, layer three a fleece layer, layer four a field or combat jacket, and layers five, six, and seven would be a windproof jacket, a rain jacket, and an arctic cold layer respectively.”
The most widespread misperception is that all of the layers should be worn together. This is untrue. One can pick and choose which layers to wear based on the current weather conditions. They are all meant to operate together or separately, layering up or layering down.
Jamie and his team have significantly accelerated 7L’s growth in the last three years, but it has taken a lot of heart to get there. Launching a global brand so close to the pandemic had a significant influence on its business model, which Jamie handled admirably. When the world started to recover, so did the brand and sales began to rise on a daily basis. Then unfortunately 7L’s warehouse was wrecked by fire in February 2022, destroying all of its archive and current stock.
“We were devastated, and I didn’t know what the next move would be. It took a week or two to digest the situation. I quickly had to let everyone go and jumped back on the drawing board. I designed, procured, marketed, photographed, and ran our flagship store myself trying hard to be ready for Autumn Winter 2022. I took on a new Co-Creative Director, Mike Meikleham, but in the end, delivering a collection for AW22 was too much to ask.”
Bouncing back strongly
It takes six months to manufacture technical fabrics, and with the Covid-19 impediment, Jamie and his team didn’t stand a chance. They made the difficult decision to skip the Autumn Winter 2022 and Spring Summer 2023 campaigns to focus on AW23. Jamie had previously worked on several difficult technical projects, but this one has been the most demanding in terms of facing both mental and financial challenges.
Despite the setbacks, 7L is back on its feet and stronger than ever as it launches the 2023 Winter Campaign. The brand’s ‘7 Layer System’ is fully stocked at the warehouse, and it boasts one of the best teams on the planet. The people that are drawn to and linked with the brand are fantastic.
As the new winter season approaches, one can anticipate seeing some of the best pieces 7L has ever produced. These pieces are made from Swiss, Japanese, Scottish, Portuguese, Italian, and American (California) fabrics.
“Our Layer 4 - Field Layer Parkas - are insane, made from organic Scottish cotton but seam taped and waterproof. And our ADPs (Arctic Down Parkas) and MDOs (Modular Down Parkas) are the best we have ever made. They were manufactured using Schoeller Swiss textiles (with C_Change technology) and Japanese inner fabrics.”
7L is now testing a new Movement System (Active Wear) with UFC fighters from the United States, Brazil, and the United Kingdom. The brand hopes to launch it early next year. 7L is also looking to increase its presence in North America, with potential collaborations with Alpha Industries and others.
“We also have a world-exclusive relationship with Nanga, a manufacturer of down-related products such as parkas, jackets, trousers, and sleeping bags. We created the 7L x NANGA down jacket with Japanese textiles manufactured by Nanga.”
Upholding sustainability practices
Jamie considers himself fortunate to be surrounded by amazing people who share his enthusiasm for sustainability. As it takes a lot of time and effort to figure out what materials are available that have a sustainable story and can be used in a 7L product, Jamie and his team go above and beyond to conduct extensive research.
Note: Some of the quotes in this piece were derived from information provided by Mr. Lundy. These quotes appear to have been used elsewhere as well. We utilized these quotes with Mr. Lundy’s permission.