Work & Business
J.Lindeberg: Bringing Fashion To The Fairways (And Beyond)December 7, 2017
When you think about high-end, fashionable, ready-to-wear garments, golf and skiing aren’t the first two things that come to mind. But for Swedish retailer J.Lindeberg, it’s setting its eyes on proving the stereotypes wrong.
Founded in 1996 by Johan Lindeberg, whose resume boasts other fashion experience with Diesel, J.Lindeberg set out to create a brand that embodied the intersection of fashion and function, particularly in the sports industry and starting out with golf. It was determined to change the golf clothing industry, doing away with boxy shapes and incorporating more structure and tailoring.
The brand did just that, and while shaking up the golf greens, it also made its impact on the global fashion stage: It became the first Swedish brand to appear in Milan’s Fashion Week in 2003.
Worn by celebrities and everyday fashion enthusiasts alike, J.Lindeberg is sold in more than 35 countries and 900 retailers. The brand even has two brick-and-mortar locations in the States – one in New York and the other is an outlet in Florida.
To learn more about the company’s global footprint, especially here in the United States, we caught up with Jonas Andersson, president of J.Lindeberg USA. He shared how the brand is making its mark in the States and what’s coming in 2018.
J.Lindeberg was created to be a disruptor in the fashion industry, particularly in the golf industry. Why has the brand homed in on the golf, and eventually ski, industries in its sportwear collections, and are there any plans to break into more sports markets?
It’s all based on our passion for this lifestyle and our passion for skiing and golf. We see our logo – called the Bridge – as just that…a bridge that bridges the parts of our lifestyle together. It’s built on our own interests and Scandinavian values of equality, progressiveness and inclusiveness. Our latest addition is our activewear collection, also from the fact that this is how we live our lives today – we work, work out, travel, have free time to spend with family and friends.
Johan Lindeberg, who founded the company, departed in 2007 to focus on and pursue other projects. Since his return as creative director at the end of 2016, how has his presence impacted the overall brand and vision for the company?
We have been working on getting the parts of the company to support each other – everything from the look and feel of the products to the marketing. Johan has reinforced that and updated the look to a more modern and relevant look for both existing fans of the brand but also a new, younger generation that might not be as familiar with the brand from when it was first started. He works with overall brand message, images (he is a photographer so he shoots the images for a lot of our campaigns) and, of course, input on product on a conceptual level.
Garments from your collections can be found on everyone, from your neighbor who golfs to A-list celebrities. What makes J.Lindeberg’s designs so universally accepted and admired?
I think it’s all about authenticity and a point of view. We do things we like and are proud of – in the way we want them. Quality and fit are equally important, and if you do things you want to wear yourself and explain why to people around you they tend to get excited. It might not be for everyone, but if you like what we like, you are more than welcome to wear and use our products. Secondly, we have a genuine background in performance sports like golf and ski combined with a genuine fashion perspective. Those worlds are coming closer and closer together, so the brand is, on many levels, more relevant than ever.
What is J.Lindeberg’s most in-demand garment and/or product line?
It varies a bit depending on where you are in the world, but globally, golf is selling in both Asia, Europe and the U.S. But with 150 stores in China, fashion sales are equal in numbers but not as evenly spread out geographically.
A news release that was pushed out at the beginning of the year stated that the company set its sights on 100 percent growth in online revenue by 2018. Is the brand on its way to reaching its goal?
Yes we are. We are investing a lot in finding a new customer that finds much of her or his news online. So, the growth is moving in the right direction.
A majority of our readers live in the States. J.Lindeberg has two brick and mortar locations – any plans to open more stores?
U.S. retail is currently undergoing extreme change, and the physical retail environment in a traditional sense is under pressure. We are not looking for new locations right now, but as the change happens, new possibilities are opening up with omni-channel stores, pop-up concepts etc. It’s interesting to see what happens.
If 2017’s focus was on digital expansion and e-commerce (particularly in North America), what’s on deck for 2018?
The focus is to get more people to discover or re-discover the brand and the lifestyle aspects of it. Most of that will happen online, but we also continue to work with physical retail and existing partners. We want people to understand the core in our lifestyle – in both fashion and sport. We have just signed on another PGA player for next year, and we are changing the way people look at golf (fashion) again – it’s about creating clarity in everything we do – so everyone can see and understand the brand what we are all about.