johan lindeberg on his return to the brand that bears his name

After 9 years away, the creative polymath has returned to lifestyle brand J.Lindeberg, and is looking to change things up.

by Lynette Nylander
20 October 2016, 10:25am

Photographer, creative consultant, brand builder - is there anything Johan Lindeberg can't do? Part of fashion's cool set for over twenty years, the Swedish-born New York-based entrepreneur has made his name off the back of his involvement with innovative brands, light years ahead of their time. Take his time at Diesel, for example. In his role as their International Marketing Director, Johan navigated the denim stalwarts through some some of their most fruitful periods ever, conceiving their iconic Successful Living campaigns. With brand BLK DNM, he re-contextualised downtown New York cool, its signature drainpipe jeans, with its leather jackets outfitting the city's coolest guys and girls and its DIY ad campaigns making the industry stand up and pay attention. Then there's the label that is arguably Johan's biggest success, his eponymous label J.Lindeberg. Created in 1996 to revolutionise the world of golfwear, the success of the brand quickly snowballed and was soon an international lifestyle brand, with hundreds of employees in its HQ in Sweden. Johan parted ways with the brand in 2007 after creative differences but now after a 9 year hiatus, he's back in the role of Creative Consultant and ready to take what he's learned in his time away. First order of business? To redesign the brand's womenswear offering, as well as bringing his closest friends, family and collaborators together for The Bridge Series, a guerilla-style campaign that bridges the gap between the brand's sporty past and its fashionable future. With the likes of skateboarder Arsun Sorrenti, artist Loreen, model (and Johan's daughter) Blue Lindeberg and Milk Studios' Mazdack Rassi, the future looks bright for J.Lindeberg. We asked to meet up to answer questions about how the industry has evolved and what he has in-store and he was happy to oblige...

Arsun Sorrenti

On how the industry has changed...
"Since I was last at J.Lindeberg, I don't know if it has changed as much as people like to think it has. The way I build brands hasn't changed. I am a very passionate brand builder and I think what I am doing now feels better than ever. With everything I work on, I live my brand somehow, and believe the brand has to have a purpose. Obviously, the whole digital thing has opened things up. If I had had Facebook and Instagram when I built J.Lindeberg maybe it would have been easier. I think we communicated quite well regardless and created a movement. I think the industry is constantly going in cycles though."

His main objectives returning to J.Lindeberg...
"I've been away 9 years and have learned a lot, I have had an amazing creative journey. I was contacted last June and asked if I could come back and I think as I have been outside the brand, I look at things differently. With a brand like J.Lindeberg, it lacked a little bit of soul in the past ten years, and I would like to bring that back. It's just like Helmut Lang, without Helmut Lang, it's hard. I want to bring back creativity, I am a creative machine so I hope to add more innovation. When I created the brand initially, I was in a completely different place to where I am now, I now live an international life. I created The Bridge, our new campaign and I re-designed the entire women's collection, I am a massive feminist and think that women should take over the world! I wanted to put the priority back on womenswear, we can't have a lifestyle brand and not have the female presence within that. It launches Fall 17 and looks great."

Blue Lindeberg

What each individual ambassador brought to the campaign...
"When I decided to come back I wanted to consolidate our voice. We had our sport offering, different from our fashion offering but fashion right now is all about the mix. I wanted to create The Bridge to package the brand around different personalities; to create a voice and to say something. At the beginning of J.Lindeberg I had Dave Gahan from Depeche Mode, Juliette Lewis, Carl Barat, Alison Mosshart and I wanted to pick up where I left off. Waris is one my best friends, Arsun [Sorrenti] because Mario is a friend and his sister Gray Sorrenti is good friends with my daughter Blue, Mazdack Rassi is a great friend and inspiration of mine too. Cultural relevancy is a great expression and exactly what I was trying to do with The Bridge."

On what can we expect from the future of J.Lindeberg…
"I like brands that inspire. We want to dress people who want to change the world. With BLK DNM, we were more inspired by protest, with J. Lindeberg it's about engaging and actually doing something. The ambassadors chosen show it's not about age, I don't care about age, it's about who you are and what you do. I like to read i-D for example, maybe I am not your target age group but I have a modern mindset and that is what is important. The new womenswear is coming but we will change everything, it's about going out there and inspiring. Innovation on all levels and having fun."

Waris Ahluwalia


Text Lynette Nylander