By Lisa Deurer, LD13
Farm to Fashion
LD13, a fashion label based in the U.S. and Germany, created a high-end heritage breed textile, the first of its kind, from Romeldale wool. The brand used the textile to create a coat and jacket for their Wardrobe Harvest collection. In addition, they built an entirely transparent supply chain where they source, manufacture and sew garments made from heritage breed sheep within the U.S.
Romeldale/CVM sheep are listed as Threatened on The Livestock Conservancy’s Conservation Priority List.
Together with Isabella Rossellini (Mama Farm, Ambassador of The Livestock Conservancy), Marie Minnich (Marushka Farms, Board Member of The Livestock Conservancy), Jacob Long (American Woolen), and Brendan McCarthy, Lisa’s mentor/professor, LD13 created a Farm to a Fashion system to bring back local and independent supply chains to the U.S. while working with an endangered sheep breed the Romeldale.
Making a Heritage Breed Textile
The Romeldale textile was a two-year-long project where Lisa Deurer, the entrepreneur and creative director of LD13, reached out to Marie Minnich, the farmer Lisa met at the Rhinebeck Sheep Festival who raises Romeldales on Marushka Farms. Lisa asked Marie if she would be interested in collaborating on a heritage breed textile.
Back then, Lisa was still a Fashion student at Parsons School of Design, envisioning and creating new ideas, garments, and systems around a Farm to Fashion lifestyle for her thesis collection. Lisa remembers a 2-hour phone call with Marie at the height of the pandemic in 2020, where both shared a passion for wool, sheep, and the craft to get this project started. Together, they sourced 500 pounds of wool from Marie’s Romeldales.
At the same time, Lisa pitched the project to Jacob Long, CEO of American Woolen Company, a textile mill in Connecticut.
Jacob was inspired and excited that a young designer showed interest in helping him and the farmers out there to make a statement about homegrown luxury, heritage, craft, sustainability, and biodiversity. After Jacob agreed, they began production, which Lisa remembered as an up-and-down period.
The pandemic slowed production processes since Jacob and the scouring places weren’t operating due to COVID. Despite the hiccups, her project found a voice with the support of several people, including Lisa’s mentor, Brendan McCarthy, and Isabella Rossellini.
A former engineer, Shawn, helped them to wash the wool with a self-build scouring facility in Kentucky. Jacob and his team at American Woolen wove and spun the Romeldale textile in Connecticut.
The Big Debut: New York Fashion Week
Finally, in February 2022, the pilot fabric was delivered to Brooklyn, NYC where LD13 used it to fabricate garments for their 2023 cross-seasonal collection “WARDROBE HARVEST.” LD13 showcased the collection earlier this month at New York Fashion Week.
Lisa’s success story didn’t happen overnight, but it happened with an outstanding team, and passionate people who believe that local goods, a rare heritage breed sheep, and the arts in the craft are the luxury statement one can make in creating and sustaining culture. To spread the word about the LD13’s Farm To fashion concept, they created the “Farm to Wardrobe” podcast where they educate and share insights into their new luxury/ value system concept.
Sneak Peek of LD’s Wardrobe Harvest Collection
MORE ABOUT Lisa Deurer and her brand, LD13:
“We aspire to become a luxury fashion brand within the avant-garde niche that acts more fashion-consciously in sourcing and building supply chains while producing edgy pieces for the extra unique moment in one’s wardrobe. In our privileged world, we see the need to reinvent luxury embedded with a value system that supports a more fashion-conscious mindset while keeping the arts of the craft alive. LD13 represents the new luxury of a family-owned business that supports local/ independent systems, co-designs with people/communities we care about, and materials we reimagine and source meaningfully, such as animals we support its biodiversity while creating garments based on love.”
When The Livestock Conservancy launched the Shave ‘Em to Save ‘Em Initiative, many fiber artists and producers alike began a journey that has led to a revolution of new interest in utilizing rare breed wool. Sheep breeds, such as the Romeldale, were once rarely considered for use by fiber artists and designers which resulted in them becoming highly endangered. It’s been a time of discovery for many. Artists now revel in the wide array of colors, textures, and uses these fibers fit best. Some are soft to the touch, others durable for outerwear or rugs. Many of the breeds thrive where commercial sheep cannot. They are the perfect fit for developing more sustainable and biodiverse fiber system in America. This thought has opened an interesting new door for rare breeds into the world of fashion.