Filippa K is a label synonymous with the clean, minimal Scandinavian aesthetic beloved of contemporary menswear. Its simple approach perfectly fits into the majority of men’s wardrobes, with garments quickly adopted as staples and applicable to most looks. That it does this with a keen eye on its environmental impact and with sustainability as its guiding watchword, is all the more commendable.

But for a brand so strongly tied in its aesthetic to a classic sartorial look, the appointment of Alexander Schaper, Filippa K’s Design Director for Menswear, arguably represents a bit of a brand shakeup. Previously heading up the concept and design for adidas’ (unfortunately now shuttered) SLVR premium line, will the German designer’s background in sportswear alter Filippa K’s output?

We caught up with Schaper to find out, and to delve a little deeper into the brand that champions sustainability as its guide to growth.

Introduce us to Filippa K menswear and your personal highlights from the latest collection.

The guiding principle behind Filippa K Men is "classic tailoring meets functional streetwear." We combine the precision and clarity of classic sartorial craft with the ease and modernity of streetwear. Functionality is then applied to increase the versatility of certain product groups.

So taking that ethos as a guide, the idea for FW16 emerged as one where we wanted to blend in by sticking out. We created a very modern, hard-edged look; full of attitude yet sophisticated. My personal favorites are the layered pants, the boiled wool hoodies and T-shirts, as well as the functional outerwear.

Filippa K is very much rooted in the northern European/Scandinavian clean, minimal aesthetic. How does the brand differentiate itself from other labels?

Our DNA is rooted in minimalism, simplicity and quality. We want to create a long-lasting personal experience for the consumer by making intelligent choices around the products we create. This is especially true when it comes to our environmental impact, where we act carefully and conscientiously to constantly improve ourselves.

For Filippa K Man, we then also add a sophisticated functionality to the collection to achieve the highest comfort and benefit for our consumers. That can range from the perfect fit to weather-resistant materials or modern manufacturing techniques.

Given that, and with your personal background in sportswear, how is this informing the Filippa K "look" now?

It's having a big influence on the new direction of our men’s collection. Ergonomic and performance pattern cutting, functional materials and modern manufacturing techniques are areas we're very interested in exploring, for example. We want to take the best elements of tailoring, street- and sportswear and combine them to create our own contemporary look.

What does "sustainability" mean to the label and how does it affect the choices you make as a designer?

Sustainability has been a central part of Filippa K's DNA from the very beginning. It informs everything we do to the point where we're continuously looking at new ways of becoming more sustainable, both in our manufacturing process and in our overall offer to our customers. As a fashion brand, for us sustainability means providing products that are long lasting both in quality and in style. We call it "circular design," where we value all our resources and try to create a natural cycle for our products.

So how is this approach incorporated into each collection and piece, from the design to manufacturing?

As a Filippa K designer, you always have this circular design process in the back of your mind during the development process. It affects a lot of the decisions we make, from the pattern cutting to the materials we use and the colors we apply - everything.

With our Front Runners, we took it a step further: a capsule collection of styles that are 100% dedicated to sustainability. Here we looked into every aspect of a product: the materials, threads, filings, trimmings, the production conditions, transportation, packaging. The Front Runner products are the most sustainable products that we can currently provide. The idea is that we learn from these products and apply those lessons as much as we possibly can to the rest of our collection, season by season.

Filippa K makes reference to three core principles that go into each collection: pure construction, new fabrics, and cutting to modern proportions. Talk us through those.

The goal is to create contemporary collections that are looking forward, not backward. Therefore, we need ongoing research for innovative materials and new shapes, together with a very pure construction.

So where do you see Filippa K menswear heading, given your background? What can we expect from the label in the future?

I'm very interested in innovation and so we'll focus on that more in the future. We'll continue with merging functionality with street-savvy tailoring, our footwear and our accessories to create sophisticated looks that are uncompromising and full of attitude. We'll concentrate on innovative materials and modern silhouettes in harmony with our core principles of minimalism, simplicity and quality.

What To Read Next