To meet our high quality standards, considerable effort goes into our product design and selection of materials.
Over time, our range has come to encompass everything from elegant dress gloves to tough alpine gloves and hardwearing work gloves. Design at Hestra is very much about the many small steps and details, and continuous improvements. Despite the wide range of styles, many types of gloves actually share characteristics, and designs from previous styles often inspire new styles. No matter the type of glove, the design process involves compromises where function, durability, materials, sustainability and cost are considered, with properties balanced against one another.
We strive to consistently meet and, if possible, exceed the expectations of our customers and partners. That is why our design process always starts from the needs of the user at hand. There are possible trade-offs that need to be considered, such as thicker materials being more durable but less supple. Often we favour leather, wool and other well-proven materials over newer supposedly high-tech materials that may not fulfil our expectations in the long run. Careful patternmaking is one of the cornerstones in the development and what ultimately determines fit and function, and the tolerance for deviations is small when working with gloves. Each design sketch is translated into a pattern construction and later as a sample at one of our factories. The samples are assessed by the design team at our headquarters in Hestra, sometimes with assistance from our network of testers, whether professionals or colleagues in our team. That way, we can identify and address potential issues before our gloves enter production.
A dedication to quality and durability is engrained in our business. With that comes a conviction that products that can be mended should be mended, rather than disposed. Our replaceable linings, which were introduced in the 1980s by third-generation Magnusson brothers Claes and Svante, is evidence of this. At the time, fast-fashion was gaining ground and the innovation was considered replaceable. Over the years, the tables have turned and the replaceable liners have grown in prominence. Not only do they extend the lifetime of a pair of gloves, but they also add the functionality of being able to adjust the warmth by adding or removing the liner. Furthermore, the liner can be easily washed or dried by removing it from the gloves.
Our approach is to make small, continuous improvements to improve product quality, but also to cater to the changing needs of the consumers. We regularly integrate more sustainable materials into our products, but never at the expense of quality and durability of the gloves.
The quality and durability of a material are evaluated in field tests along with abrasion resistance testing in our inhouse laboratory’s Martindale machine. The machine simulates abrasion from wear by rubbing the material against an abrasive surface. Materials that pass the tests are often sent to accredited laboratories for further testing before they go into production.
Other factors that are considered in the materials selection process include sustainability performance, materials composition and characteristics. Sustainability performance is assessed by factors such as water consumption, chemical use and the proximity between the supplier and factory.
We introduce new materials into our range over a longer period. It is important that the qualities of the new material match the construction of the glove and its other materials. To discover and explore new and improved materials, we regularly visit trade fairs and partner with academia. One such partnership is The Swedish School of Textiles’ Corporate Challenge, where textile students were tasked to find new ways of sustainable design by looking at old Hestra gloves and materials. The results are currently included in an exhibition at the university in Borås.
Our home region Småland is known for its prudent mindset. Here you take good care of your things, enjoy saving re- sources and thoroughly consider the real benefits of buying something new. Much of this approach can be found in Hestra’s product and design philosophy: We make gloves that last. A pair of Hestra can be used for many years. And even the design itself – from forms, colours, functions and the choice of material to the way a model is constructed and produced – is intended to have a long life.
80 percent of the range is carried over to each new season, often no more than 2–3 new colours are introduced each year. This brings many benefits – stability for our suppliers, more manageable production, reduced waste, gradual qual- ity improvements, and less need for our retailers to clear out and replace their stock every season. New designs are only introduced after careful, comprehensive testing and as a common-sense decision of different departments. And when
it comes to new materials, we examine quality and durability in our in-house laboratory and assess the sustainability performance using factors like water consumption, chemical use and the proximity between the supplier and factory.
To prolong the product lifetime, Hestra introduces more and more models with detachable liners that makes it easy to replace just the inside when needed. At the same time we help the customer to take care of the outside. Video tutorials show how to clean and impregnate leather and functional materials or how to fix small damages. Beyond that, a professional repair service has been built up, not least for work gloves that are especially exposed to abrasion.
Together with the Swedish School of Textiles in Borås, Hestra’s design department is developing strategies for a circular future and studying how materials can be reused. Even possibilities for secondhand activities are being examined, focusing on kids gloves in the first phase.
Read the full report here.