Theres no doubting the strength of Scandinavian Fashion at the moment, if the likes of Henrik Vibskov and Wood Wood are the first generation in this movement, then Soulland are leading the new generation. With their collections growing in strength and depth, and the opening of their first store US Import, we spoke to Silas Adler during Paris Fashion Week.
Your Fall winter collection ‘Civilised’ has a really strong look, what influenced your decision to take an american story to base your collection around?
The whole thing started when we opened our store in Copenhagen. There was this amazing sign over the store that read “U.S. Import” and when we took over the space, we kept the sign and named our store after it. Because of the store we were talking a lot about the U.S. and how the country differs from Denmark etc. The focus on the U.S. made me curious to dig into some American history and the civil war is difficult to overlook. I found a lot of portraits of soldiers from the civil war and they made a big impact on me. I just worked from there basically.
Your collections have always shown a strong tailoring influence, does that come from your own heritage and upbringing or….. where would you say your creative influence comes from?
It’s hard to say but I appreciate good tailoring and quality myself so obviously I want to try to do my best in this field. However, there has to be a balance between tailoring and design, one can’t dominate the other.
Your brand was started as a small company that printed t-shirts like many other brands of your time, what made you want to produce start a clothing label and produce things for people to wear and what do you think has pushed your brand to grow to where its at today
In some ways it just happened. I think the shift from making t-shirts to making actual clothes was a natural progression for me. I enjoy challenges and learning new skills and a learning how to make clothes from scratch with no training has definitely been a challenge. I’m still learning every day, but luckily some things are routine by now.
How we got to where we are today? A lot of hard work and lots of hours bent over a desk at the office is necessary in order to succeed, not that we have succeeded in the big picture but we have lots of small successes and that keeps me and my team going.
Alot of brands of late have produced collaboration projects with textile manufacturers other designers etc, do you think this is something we can expect from Soulland in the future or do you think it’s not something you would want to do?
We try not to make oblivious collaborations, but we do work with other companies. For the Civilized collection we’ve worked with a small UK based brand called House of Billiam (http://www.houseofbilliam.com/). They customize baseball jackets and other really nice items, and together we developed a jacket (red: It’s black in black baseball/college jacket). This season we’ve also collaborated with the world’s largest fur action house, Kopenhagen Fur. We’ve developed two jackets and a backpack together. They’re quite amazing. We’re going to be a part of Kopenhagen Fur’s show at the upcoming Copenhagen Fashion Week and we’re doing our own show as well.
The design industry can be really full on and its not hard to find yourself spending all your time working. Do you make a conscious effort to maintain a balance between work and play, or do you not see your label as work. —–>how do you keep the label and its look fresh?
To me it’s all the same; my brand is my life and of course there are periods where it feels more like work than play and periods where I spend most of my time with the team. I’m lucky though, through Soulland I get to work closely with a lot of my really good friends on a regular basis and we have a very open office environment, where people are always stopping by. But I also try to focus on my life away from Soulland; my girlfriend, my friends and family.
Keeping the label looking fresh is about taking chances. I’m a strong advocate of pushing menswear and not being too on-trend.
What’s instore for Soulland in the future? Any big things you want to share with us?
Right now we’re spending a lot of time getting our show ready for Copenhagen Fashion Week. It’s going to be held in a beautiful concert hall at the Royal Academy of Music. It’s our biggest venue as of yet and since we do everything in-house there’s a lot of preparation involved. We’re also working on a big project, which I can tell you too much about right now, but as soon as I can, you guys will be the first to now.
Interview by Scott Page.