How L’Homme Rouge Breaks Swedish StereotypeMarch 21, 2019
In the world of fashion, L’Homme Rouge somewhat breaks a stereotype.
In France, the stereotype is “Parisian Chic.” In Italy, glamour predominates. In Sweden and throughout Scandinavia, minimalism is the assumed expression of fashion. L’Homme Rouge attempts to break that preconceived notion with its unique take on altered formal wear.
What is L’Homme Rouge?
L’Homme Rouge, meaning “The Red Man” in French, is a menswear company launched in Sweden in 2010 by brothers John-Ruben Holtback and Carl-Johan Holtback along with their college friends Axel Trägårdh and Jonatan Härngren. The brothers were studying economics in Lund when they met Trägårdh, and later met Härngren, who joined them after finishing his fashion design degree in Copenhagen, while working on a video project. According to John-Ruben in an article by online fashion magazine HYPEBEAST, the four young men were united by one motivating factor: “We all shared that feeling of unfulfillment.”
The brand started with a variety of experiments. First, the founders were buying and remodeling old pieces of furniture, then they were randomly placing unusual objects in public spaces. Then they made a knitted wool hat, sold 800 of them, and suddenly L’Homme Rouge was a serious brand.
It initially focused on accessories such as hats and scarves. After three years, L’Homme Rouge began producing its first items of clothing and soon held its first fashion show just outside of Stockholm. After its first show, Vogue said, “The quartet are quite serious and focused on telling deep, and somewhat esoteric, stories.”
L’Homme Rouge’s accolades and recognition
Fast forward to 2017 and L’Homme Rouge was receiving a considerable amount of recognition for their pieces, including winning that year’s International Woolmark Award, one of the most prestigious awards in fashion (previous winners include the likes of of Karl Lagerfeld, Yves Saint Laurent and Ralph Lauren).
In an interview with HYPEBEAST, John-Ruben spoke about how the award boosted L’Homme Rouge brand’s recognition. “Both the nomination and win have definitely helped us elevate the brand status,” he said. “This is the first time a Swedish menswear brand has been nominated to compete for the Woolmark prize, so that alone made people excited we were up there.”
One unique aspect of L’Homme Rouge is its emphasis on sustainability. The brand is especially committed to advising its customers on how best to take care of clothes and what to do with them when they are no longer useful. Its website reads: “As a clothing brand… We strive to produce garments with minimal environmental impact without compromising on the quality.”
The name may not carry the same weight as Gucci and Chanel in the name of fashion, but L’Homme Rouge creates beautiful and practical clothing pieces. With an emphasis on breaking stereotypes and making fashion a more sustainable industry for the world and the people in it, the Swedish brand’s pieces tell a unique story.