Mar 23, 2017 | By Samuel Trotman
Get more Denim insights as a WGSN subscriber
Tobbe Lindberg’s The Land of Hope arrives for Spring/Summer 2014, bringing with it a fresh seafaring spirit to the men’s denim market. Stylesight’s denim team sits down and talks to Tobbe on his debut collection and his passion for sea life and all things indigo.
Headed up by denim veteran Tobbe Lindberg, The Land of Hope emerges as the latest name from Sweden’s growing portfolio of premium denim labels. Founded on the ethos of pure product and the belief of hardwearing jeans, Tobbe’s debut collection focuses on the sharp silhouettes Sweden is known for but with a sailored look on its sleeve. With 30 years of experience in the jeanswear industry (former M.D of Lee Jeans Scandinavia) Tobbe surely knows what it takes to create beautifully crafted products.
Like many of the heritage-inspired brands seen in today’s denim market, The Land of Hope’s aesthetic rests heavily on the art of story telling. The undertones of sea life stem from Tobbe’s childhood upbringing in Råå, Sweden, a sleepy fishing port outside Helsingborg. His inspirations from sea life and coastlines, combined with a fascination of sailors on leave (think Astrid Lindgren’s 1964 “Seacrow Island“), is manifested in his assortment of cleanly cut jeans and beautifully tailored jackets all in a strict palette of rich indigos and crisp ecru shades. While the collection relies heavily on archival silhouettes, Tobbe’s strikes a balances between classic and contemporary to create an a range that feels at home in city as it does by the sea. Here we speak to the man himself on the collection, his inspirations and denim style in Sweden:
Sweden and Scandinavia have a completely unique design approach to denim compared to Europe and the US. Why do you think this is?
I believe that parts of the reasons for this is the extraordinary strong denim culture that are carried out by many people up here. Many people have been schooled through strong independent high end denim stores, strong chains like Solo and JC. Many of the retail companies have paid efforts to educate their staff in the denim sphere, and that empowerment has been very evident. So if you as young person gets the chance to learn from the treasures of denim – its hard to not fall in love with denim – a product that is full of life. I think this makes people very motivated to work passionatly with denim.
The level of design you find up here in Sweden and the rest of Scandinavia is often built on that “less is more”, why bling bling efforts is not so common. The “Ingemar Bergman” phenomenon.
You have a great deal of experience in the denim industry and must have seen how the industry has changed over the years. How do you feel the customers demands and knowledge have changed and how have you applied this to your private label?
You are absolutely right! The evolution in the denim industry has been very strong. There are many great brands today who create and produce excellent products, which are the result of great knowledge, competence and passion. Today when walking through the store environment you as consumer find a great variety of brands with good products. To a certain extent you see so many good things but not much of a difference. This is why I believe it is important that we as the creators should spend more time focusing more towards the DNA of the brand. For me and “The Land of Hope” it means that I must stay true to my brand values and brand ID. And when creating / designing I must be on top when it comes to the 3 x F (fit, fabric and finish). There is no room for any compromises in the todays competitive environment.
There is a strong maritime theme throughout your collection. What is it about the story of sea life that inspires you and will this idea continue to drive future collections?
Yes – its very much build on the elements coming from the sea or is connected to the sea like, lighthouses, ship instruments in brass, coastline, etc. All the names of Land of Hope products are names related to the sea, such as Sharp Sailor, On Leave Shirt, Crew Neck, Harbour Guard Jacket, etc. The colour story is also influenced by the maritime environment with different kind of blue shades from the sea, as well as the black and greys coming from the archipelago and the sand from the beach.
The ocean, sea, lakes and water in general has strong impact on me – it makes me feel good. I like to use that good feel and share with people, through the products being developed. Also when consider the maritime aspect, sea / water standing for more than 2/3 of the earth it feels like a never ending source for inspiration, right?
Thinking about the history – we know that the word denim has its origin from the city Nimes in France, where the blue coloured fabric made by cotton was produced. And the the word jeans was a knick name for the Americans when they met sailors from Genua. All of this quite connected to the sea….I will keep the maritime influence, primarily the westcoast (Scandinavia) inspiration and use it in order to express the clean, sharp and rough look. Its about finding the right attitude for the guy/sailor who goes on leave and spends his weekend in the city.
Who is the collection aimed towards?
A male consumer, 23-25 years +. He wants and dares a bit more and prefers style before short fashion trends. “The Land of Hope” products will not remake him, they will just add to his personality. He likes to look sharp. (rough on outside but soft inside). He is a global citizen and he takes care about his local community.
You talk about the belief of strong jeans in your brand ethos. What do you believe to be the key components of making a quality pair of jeans?
The basics is to have the competence yourself and to be surrounded by others who can add with competence. A pair of jeans is in its best form, a piece of art, made by many “hands”. Its important to decide what and who to address, based on that it is important to maximise the 3xF (Fit, Fabric and Finish). And finally, don’t leave any room for compromises. In my case its about my dream – and I need to stay true to that!
Are there any special fabrics, dyes or interesting details you use in your collection?
In fact I try to scale away from all too many advanced finish processes in order to find back to how it once used to be. When looking at my so-called silent sign offs, you find my “underline” with the small “hump”(symbolising the Horizon line and The Land of Hope). The symbol can be found on my back pockets as well on the left chest on most of my tops products, all in matching embroidery colour.
At the same time I try to be consequent with the usage of hardware, i.e buttons, rivets made from brass, ecru thread and label colour to enhance on the maritime feel. Also the outside hangtags/labels are made from canvas – as sails were once made from.
The heritage and workwear trend continues to drive much of the menswear market. How does Land of Hope tap into this and how does your approach differ from other denim brands: for instance your smarter, more tailored look?
Both the heritage and workwear trends are and will be important for the menswear market and in particular for the denim segment. As I see it, there are loads of great original brands who do great authentic products and there are many brands who do excellent copies of what the original brands once used to do. So heritage and workwear will continue to play an important role. Most products existing have an origin in functionality/workwear.
The Land of Hope will carry products that reflects the todays work environment, which is more a work situation where you meet people, you sit behind a desk, you work with your laptop. And after the work hours you hang around and you are dress casual – in fact you try to do the weekday a bit more sharp and exciting. So I like to address a sharp urban look for men who like to be a bit more smarter but with an denim attitude.
Do you collect any vintage maritime wear?
My collected items is a mix of old denim jeans, chino uniforms and sailor uniforms.
What are the next steps for The Land of Hope?
The next steps for The Land of Hope is to make sure it gets the best possible launch in the market place. Im currently having several discussions on how to get it out across Europe and outside Europe. Having said that, I will avoid to rush into situations. It needs to be good for the brand, for the receiver and for the end consumer. Looking ahead towards the new collection it will remain coherent with same inspiration as explained earlier, but will escalate and provoke “positively” with some new products.
I am about to set the sail and look forward to see where the wind will take me.
To find out more on The Land of Hope head over to the official website.
Know what’s next. Become a WGSN member today to benefit from our daily trend intelligence, retail analytics, consumer insights and bespoke consultancy services.