J.LINDEBERG | Neil Lewty on SS24

J.Lindeberg's Chief Creative Officer on the latest collection

Written by

Brendan Le

Photographed by

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Styled by

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Motorsport merges with the city in Swedish clothing brand J.Lindeberg’s SS24 collection. Influenced by the islands of New York’s Manhattan and Gotland, just off the shore of Sweden, J.Lindeberg references its dual homes in the latest line. Launched by Johan Lindeberg in both Stockholm, Sweden, and New York City in 1996, the brand became known for its athleisure with its famed tennis, ski, and golfwear. When J.Lindeberg’s current Chief Creative Officer, Neil Lewty, assumed the role in 2020, he sought to modernize sportswear by blurring the line between fashion and sport in the creative process of constructing collections. The resulting aesthetic is a progressive take on athleisure, right up against the boundaries of what casual sportswear can or should look like.

The SS24 collection is a reflection of the updated identity that Lewty intended to curate for J.Lindeberg. Drawing from staples in motocross apparel like biker shorts, leather jackets, and gradient lens goggles, Lewty mediates the conversation between contrasts: the urbanite and the remote islander; the biker and the pedestrian; the high fashion and the casual. Bold primary colors pop against neutrals. Worlds converge and strike a balance.

Lewty's reinvention of J.Lindeberg's creative vision has paid off, with the company posting personal best numbers for its last two financial years. He aims to continue the brand's evolution, in tandem with his own. Ahead of J.Lindeberg’s presentation at Copenhagen Fashion Week, FLAUNT spoke with Lewty about inspiration, style, brand legacy, and social media.

What did the vision and beginnings of this collection look like? What were the initial inspirations and first pieces that were being created?

With each collection (men’s, women’s, golf and fashion), I always want to style them together so we work on a concept and color card that lets us blend it all. For SS24, we were inspired by islands and started looking at Manhattan and Gotland, a small island off the east coast of Sweden. We imagine taking a journey from one to the other—quite opposite places. We like the contrast thinking here at JL.

Sport is threaded into our core, so when we discovered that Gotland had the world’s largest motocross race annually, we were compelled to follow that road. We started looking at graphics and various motifs from Gotland and the world of motocross. From there, things just continued to develop as the collection came together.

For a collection created with Gotland and Manhattan in mind, what does each city mean to you? What are the similarities and differences in the style between the two places, and how exactly did you incorporate those identities into this collection?

New York is full of energy, rich in diversity and it’s always on the move. Each time I visit NY, I can’t wait to get into the thick of it. I also like the anonymity and am interested in seeing how people from all walks of life dress in the city.

Gotland is about retreating from city life and enjoying nature and the serenity of the sea and landscape.

The looks we presented at CHPFW are a combination of these two worlds – tailoring and city styles such as the modern t-shirt and loose bottoms combined with technical outdoor items from our new hiking collection. The result is a raver/hiker/biker/golfer look!

Has your personal style and approach to creation changed since your first designs with J.Lindeberg in 2021 to the most recent SS24 collection?

The approach is the same—design all lines to work together. My personal style is a mix. I love sports and fashion in equal terms which emulates through each season’s debut. I wear a lot of our gear, more so than any other brand I have worked at. I guess you could say my personal evolves along with the brand’s development.

When coming on as head of design, how did you consider consistency with the J.Lindeberg legacy while also bringing a fresh vision to the brand?

It was monumental to do a show in Stockholm last year and people recognizing the DNA of JL in what we were presenting. We always need to refine and sharpen what we are doing, but it feels that we are on the right path.

There are a lot of aesthetics to blend together at JL—rock and roll, 70s, golf, high quality fashion—all these concepts need to be woven into what we do. You can’t hold up every piece of the collection and hope to get all that in but sometimes we produce a style that tells that story, then everything can filter down from there. For example, our FW23 collection has a one-piece leather flared ski jumpsuit!

In your designs, what are the necessary qualities a garment must have?

Fashion, function, and quality. This makes our collections more sustainable from the get-go.

What about fashion culture is most intriguing to you at the moment? Is social media helpful or destructive in the evolution of fashion?

Social media has shifted the fashion culture in a way where we see way more way quicker than we used to. From this, it’s less likely that you discover trends or subcultures when you travel, it’s more viral, which makes it more flat in a sense. For me, social media is another tool for researching, discovering, and documenting. I get more inspiration out of conversation with like-minded creatives. I suppose digital fashion is most intriguing for me at the moment. Fashion that is purely created in and for the digital world is bound to influence IRL fashion.

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Neil Lewty, J.Lindeberg, Copenhagen Fashion Week, Brendan Le