Sneakers
From the ground up

Since appointing Jens Werner as Creative Director, J. Lindeberg has gone through an evolution, leading up to the streetwear-inspired apparel, chunky sneakers, and skate decks debuted at Copenhagen Fashion Week. The brand has at last developed a consistent identity and vision for the future, but Werner promises it hasn’t lost its original spirit and remains rooted in its heritage.

“2018 has been a year for J. Lindeberg to define itself. What we have now is new but then we’re also taking care of what we already have,” explains Werner when we meet with him backstage immediately after the show. “That’s the big challenge, saying ‘OK, what do we do really well already and what do we need to push?’.”

For the Spring/Summer 2019 collection, that’s meant combining tradition with modernity. Werner points out that sportswear has always been at the core of J. Lindeberg’s range (in particular golfing apparel) however such styles have been played out over the years. Rather than continuing to rehash them or taking a different route entirely — Werner preferred to stay true and authentic to the brand — they’ve implemented a clash of oversized and slimmer silhouettes, technical, performance-ready materials, and both fashion-forward and functional finishings. Sharp but ill-fitting suit jackets, for example, match perfectly with elegant shorts while baggy trousers are paired with everything from graphic tees and knits to over proportioned outerwear and skateboards. The chest pack bags are another prime example, Werner tells us that these were developed with cyclists in mind, giving them easy and instant access to small items, however, they clearly fit the current fashion zeitgeist too, the follow-up to the fanny pack and side-bag.

“My inspiration wasn’t so much external, it was more about me adding my own personal touch to J. Lindeberg. I had to think about how I wanted to interpret the brand but also take into account what those on the outside looking in would think. That’s where the skate elements came from, I used to skate a lot and it seemed like something cool that I could bring in that would feed my own desires but also speak to younger people.”

Jens Werner, Creative Director of J. Lindeberg

Werner reiterates this point about the collection being personal and influenced by his own experiences time and time again throughout our discussion. Later that night, at a celebratory press dinner, he reveals that he very nearly cried when the show was over and he received an applause from the crowd, a testament to how much heart and soul he’s putting into his role.

Of course, Werner did look to other sources to help define his vision and once again, it involves a clash of cultures and aesthetics, in this case, the East and West Coasts of America. Werner and his team’s more relaxed, street-ready looks represent urban New York City living as well as the surf-skate looks associated with the West Coast. In contrast, the oversized tailoring reimagines Upper East Side-chic and provides a modern interpretation of Wall Street style, pairing suit jackets and raincoats with sneakers and sportswear. Even the taxi cab yellow, sunset orange, and sky blue color palette alludes to the opposing coasts.

Rounding off almost every look, Werner — who previously worked at adidas on its Y-3, Raf Simons, Rick Owens, Juun J., Kanye West, kolor, and Tom Dixon projects — incorporated J. Lindeberg’s all-new chunky sneaker. The model comes in multiple colorways including all-black and all-white as well as a range with a black or white upper and a contrasting sole highlighted in one of the collection’s key colors: yellow, orange, and blue. “Sneakers are definitely an area we’d like to explore more than we have in the past because they help to create a full look,” Werner explains. “If you don’t do a sneaker you’ll always have to find other brands. Whereas if you do a sneaker in a store say, you give more context to your clothes.”

The SS19 collection also features a capsule developed with renowned Danish architect David Thulstrup who is simultaneously designing the brand’s new store concept, starting with its Stockholm flagship. Titled “Under-Construction” (a reference to J. Lindeberg’s ongoing rebuilding process), it features a hoodie, a sweatshirt, and a t-shirt with black and yellow “do not cross” tape-inspired prints placed around sleeves and seams. As another element of a more contemporary approach, the “Under-Construction” capsule launched immediately after the show see now, buy now style (for EU-based readers, click to cop the teehoodie, and sweatshirt).

“There are always risks for any creator or director, you never know how people will react to decisions. When you’re fully redefining or rebuilding something, the risk is all part of the process.”

Jens Werner, Creative Director of J. Lindeberg

Werner states that the biggest challenge, but also inspiration going forward is maintaining and evolving the brand’s new identity into winter and beyond. Having his and his team’s work seen and attract attention like it has at Copenhagen Fashion Week is only one part of the puzzle and the real goal is, as obvious as it may sound, having J. Lindeberg worn by as many people as possible. With today’s style tribes having so much influence over the way a brand is perceived, this opens the brand up to a whole new stage of evolution as they begin to interpret and contribute to the brand’s developing image.

Check out the J. Lindeberg SS19 collection in the images across the page. Keep up to date with all the latest over on Instagram and visit the link below for more information. For our street style highlights from the show, check out the gallery at the bottom of the page.

 

Words by Aaron Howes
Branded Content Editor
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