J.Lindeberg’s Relaunch Is A Balancing Act of Sports and Fashion

J.Lindeberg’s Relaunch Is A Balancing Act of Sports and Fashion

J.Lindeberg’s Relaunch Is A Balancing Act of Sports and Fashion

With two very distinct worlds at play, the house’s head of design, Neil Lewty explains how the two found common ground

With two very distinct worlds at play, the house’s head of design, Neil Lewty explains how the two found common ground

Text: Kevin Ponce

A question asked often is ‘Can sports and fashion ever coexist?’ Of course, this goes beyond just having the occasional prized quarterback or soccer siren throw a suit on for a campaign and calling it a day–the real question is if there is space for everyday users of tried-and-true sportswear giants to dabble in the ready-to-wear seriousness (and elevated chicness) of fashion? J. Lindeberg has the answers.

Courtesy of J. Lindeberg

With the launch of the brand’s ‘Crossover Campaign’ for the Fall/Winter 2022 season, a new beginning emerges for J.Lindeberg as the house that was already known for its unique flair of athletic wear and dressing many athletes around the globe re-enters the style game. The mission? Fusing two distinct codes of the brand into multi-purpose and extremely wearable looks that will take you from the slopes to the streets with ease. As seen on the runway, shown in the center of Stockholm in an auditorium packed with eager fashion insiders, a lineup of models got their head in the game with looks that celebrated a contrast of refined tailoring paired with traditional athleticism—think sleek blazers paired with running shorts, leather overcoats with golfing pants, biker jackets and ski trousers.

Courtesy of J. Lindeberg

It’s where technical jackets, once designed to keep up with the mobility of the user and contain design elements to provide more usability for the person, play with the use of fine fabrications such as Fine Italian Wool and functionality, such as removable pockets. And with the industry slowly and most certainly surely returning to its roots of savoir-faire, J. Lindeberg takes the opportunity to ignite a conversation about wearability based on the user and turns the notion of staying in one line on its head.

With the new collection already available for purchase with their "See Now, Buy Now" approach, V caught up with Neil Lewty to talk about Stockholm’s highly hyped show before it kicked off.

V Magazine: So where is the show exactly?

Neil Lewty: It’s just around this corner here! We're in an underground space, like an auditorium, so it's really hot and a lot of running around, hence the activewear I’m wearing. *laughs*

V: When did you start setting everything up?

NL: We've been working on this concept for a while and planning exactly what we're going to do and where we're going to do it. It snowballed in the last four days, and we've really kind of buckled down and worked [out] the casting of models, all that fittings. We did not produce anything specifically for [the show]. All these garments are available to buy [now], so everything you see is completely available. I think it's really nice to do that and show people that this is actually what we're doing. It's not a fabrication, it's not smoke and mirrors, this is our look exactly–combining the fashion and the sport is what gives it a kind of uniqueness.

Courtesy of J. Lindeberg

V: Totally. I like that approach because, with the regular show schedules, you essentially present a year ahead. Customers have to wait months for it all to be produced and it becomes time-consuming to get everything out. Everyone seems so hyped about the excitement surrounding the show, I can feel the city buzzing.

NL: We're releasing the campaign, the stores are going to have all of the new collection in and it just feels really right. Doing a show that is "see now, buy now" is the new way of doing everything in my opinion.

V: I agree. Why would you want to see seasonal pieces that aren’t timed with what’s happening with the present, you know?

NL: That’s the thing–we're always a month ahead here in Stockholm. So it starts to get cold [early] in September and you are starting to think about those winter jackets.

Courtesy of J. Lindeberg

V: This collection is a big one because it’s the merging of sportswear and ready-to-wear into one. Why was now the perfect time to bring these categories together for a cohesive story?

NL: This is my first winter collection for J. Lindeberg. So when I came to the brand, everyone was designing different [categories] and I really wanted to sort of open that up and design the whole collection as one unit. So I sat down with the design team who are fantastic people, and so, so talented. I said, ‘okay, let's just do one concept, which is going to override golf, ski, racket, and fashion. And then we're going to work in color palettes, patterns, and prints that all match up.' The same color stories that you're getting in ski are also happening in fashion because my end goal was to cross all these looks over because now, with the way we dress, we don't specifically go out and buy stuff for golf.

V: That’s right.

NL: The idea of being able to mix and match what we've got in a collection, pull it together from a color perspective, and really niche it into our patterns and our print stories really appealed [itself to me]. This collection is like the culmination of that. You'll see it in the show, these looks are completely crossing over fashion and sport, and essentially, that's what the brand is– the connection between fashion and sport. We're a brand of contrast. We will launch in New York and in Stockholm at the same time, which is kind of mental.

V: I like that you touched upon not separating the two because everyone, in some form of fashion, is wearing sportswear with their day and evening wear, regularly.

NL: I just think it's a bit hard to sort of go to a brand and buy that total [sport] look. You might go buy some leggings or whatever, and then get a great blazer. But then you think ‘I want to go to the office in those leggings’. There are some small brands that are kind of pushing that kind of aesthetic as well.

Courtesy of J. Lindeberg

V: But, what's in the middle?

NL: Exactly. I think we want to present functional fashion from a new point of view. The colors and the prints, and the way we are building these collections together are exciting.

V:  How many looks in total will the collection entail?

NL: We've done 40 looks. It makes me smile when I think about it. We're coming out of our lockdown and the euphoria of being able to go out and do stuff and dress again is gaining more importance. It's really nice to be able to have a sports brand, where we've got these sporty colors and energy, and then combine it with fashion tailoring. That connection, that tension is really exciting for me.

V: It's almost a reflection of where we are in life right now, which is interesting because everyone was stuck in loungewear and sportswear, just being at home. And now, I don't think anyone is willing to sacrifice their comfort anymore. Out of all the looks, what's your personal favorite from the collection that stuck with you?

NL: What's really cool is that we've done these ski jackets and they kind of tell a story because of the pattern on them. We've morphed the logo [pattern] so there’s a lot of movement into it. When we looked at the design work of it, we're like ‘okay, how do things work in the body when you're hitting a golf ball or you're skiing?’. So we’ve applied this sort of movement to the pattern that is really interesting because it gives us energy like that. The ski jacket is designed so that you can zip out all of the functionality in it. So you can just wear it in the city just as a regular Jacket. It’s got the feel,  the warmth, the technicality, but you can take that jacket and you can also hit the ski slopes in it.

Courtesy of J. Lindeberg

Kevin Ponce is V’s Digital & Beauty Editor.

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Credits: All Images Courtesy of J. Lindeberg


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