J.Lindeberg is leaning into its sports and fashion heritage as it prepares to relaunch the brand for fall under the direction of a new chief executive officer and creative director.
Today, the Stockholm-based brand will officially release Neil Lewty’s first full collection since joining the brand a year ago. The English native has a résumé that includes senior head of design for Hugo Boss Sportswear, design director of men’s wear for Tommy Hilfiger and head of men’s wear design for Bamford & Sons.
At J.Lindeberg, he joins Hans-Christian Meyer, a 30-year veteran of the fashion industry who spent close to 12 years at Ralph Lauren and had served as CEO of Tiger of Sweden before joining J.Lindeberg last June.
The Cape Makes A Return On The Runway
Meyer attributed J.Lindeberg’s recent success to its ability to quickly “reengineer” its business to adapt to the changing times. The first step was to do a brand study using an outside consultancy as well as in-depth conversations with longtime staff members to have a clear understanding of the company’s DNA. What quickly became clear was that while the brand traces its history to golf, it has evolved over the years to include skiwear and an entire fashion range.
Golf is a legacy category for J.Lindeberg.
So Meyer and Lewty worked together on a brand rebirth that would blend all the categories under one unified message. Meyer said he used the learnings he had acquired working with Ralph Lauren, the company’s former chief operating officer Roger Farah as well as its former CEO Stefan Larsson to set up a framework for success at J.Lindeberg.
So instead of individual silos where each category was designed and marketed independently, the team worked to create one concept that encompassed them all. “If you look at fashion today, there is a blending of fashion and sport,” Lewty said. “My job was to create one concept that is much tighter with a stronger message.”
He said there is now one seasonal color palette and patterns and prints along with technical features are used throughout the line. So a lightweight, technical fabric designed for golfwear can also be used in the fashion portion of the collection. “We’re sharing ideas and that just makes sense,” Lewty explained.
Meyer said the line is now segmented into a sports segment, which is being called JL Sports, and fashion. JL Sports will encompass golf, ski, a new racquet line for spring, as well as pieces that can be used for anything from pickleball to hiking. That line represents 60 percent of sales with the more fashion-forward line accounting for 40 percent of the business. In China, he noted, the fashion line represents a higher percentage of overall sales.
Whether sport or fashion, the brand has come up with a marketing statement for fall intended to amplify its new message: Aim Higher. “We’re really proud of that slogan,” Lewty said. “It has a sports connotation, but it can mean a lot more.”
For the fashion line, there are three capsules being offered: houndstooth, color block and athleisure, which will include bomber suit sets in stretch fabrics, a new jersey shirt program in organic cotton and hemp and coats and blazers in 50 percent recycled wool.
For the sports side, the golf-specific merchandise will have three stories which the brand is calling Gradient Tech, Active Mesh and The Elements. They feature contrasting fabrics and a blend of neutrals and bright colors. Key pieces include fully taped, waterproof jackets, lightweight stretch cotton pique shirts and an increased focus on sustainability, with 80 percent of the fabrics BlueSign or Oeko-Tex certified.
For other outdoor sports such as skiing and mountaineering — as well as “relaxing in the valley” — J.Lindeberg is offering elevated classics including a hood on coats for the extreme adventurer called the Cliff XTR Hood made from recycled polyamide fabric originally used for parachutes. Lewty said this collection overall is intended to offer “cutting-edge style for both on and off the slopes. It celebrates the house codes we live by: telling the J.Lindeberg story through the contrasts that helped form our unique expression.”
The line features technical details.
Meyer said the sports line is carried at 525 points of sale around the world, and 30 percent of the business comes from the U.S. where it is sold in 25 states. The bulk of the business is still in Europe, where there are also 14 monobrand stores in Scandinavia.
With the design on the right trajectory, J.Lindeberg is focused on ensuring the quality, price points and distribution are right and the supply chain is working properly. “It’s not rocket science — you have to have the right quality, the right price point and the right supply chain management,” Lewty said.
Meyer agreed. “We have to get the brand right and the business right and get our house in order.” The game plan is to offer “good, quality basics” with a modern sensibility and some fashion pieces as the icing on top: think a leather suit or a pink golf outfit.
“We won’t restart every season but build on what we have,” Meyer said. “It’s an easily understandable concept, but there’s a lot more to come.”
Since 2012, J.Lindeberg has been owned by Anders Holch Povlsen, Dan Friis and Allan Warburg of the Bestseller group. The brand has relaunched a number of times in the past few years, bringing back its founder for a two-year stint in 2015, and under the design direction of Jens Werner, who had designed for Tory Sport, Y-3, Yeezy and others, in 2019.
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