Adnym Atelier creates genderless long-term products w/ long-term choices
Working with experimentation, they try different, exclusive, and *always* high-quality fabrics. Now, they added leather to their creations, a material that goes 10/10 w/ all they believe.
Adnym's branding goes miles away from just some graphic lines and a nice pallet: it's all about DNA. They say they are a no-logo brand, committed to changing the fashion scene w/ a particular way of looking at sizing, paying attention to details, and carefully creating long-term products — in other words: "choose less, choose wisely."
We met Stefan and Frippe, ppl behind Adnym's genderless minimal aesthetic, in the brand's studio to share a few thoughts. Roll your scroll.
To kick things off, let's get a little bit back to the past to understand where u guys come from. How did u get together to found Adnym?
Frippe: We have a pretty extensive background in the industry, more or less 30 years of different brands and everything. I used to work for Wrangler, the denim company, before working in retail stores around Stockholm for more than 10 years. Then I got to a point where I needed to take all this accumulated experience and to do it my way. We have a third partner who felt the same way and Stefan also jumped on board.
We didn't really know each other from the start, but we could just see the different expertises we had and that they would work well together. I wanted to focus more on driving the company forward, sales and the whole company part, Johni, the third colleague, was more into brand awareness & Stefan is very good at design and productions.
We created this holy trinity and set out for different partners that we really wanted to work with and decided to go full throttle — Five months later, we had stores.
In less than a year, you guys were connected and Adnym was created.
Frippe: It went pretty quickly, which was really good 'cause we had all the links set up.
Stefan: Frippe came from sales, Johni too, and I had been developing my own brand. I had started a Swedish brand called Hope and was at the same time working with Acne Jeans, so Frippe & I had connections when it came to production. It's not the first time you're coming out trying to find somewhere to produce for you.
What did u guys have in mind when you started the project? What did u want to add to the fashion scene?
Stefan: We came from the denim side. Even while I was doing other things, denim was a big part of my life. We wanted to do something progressive within the denim business, but we also wanted to do a fashion part, as if they were two legs: Adnym and Adnym Atelier.
Our goal was to challenge our market by doing a little bit differently with unisex styles. Everybody's talking about unisex, but when we started Adnym, it wasn't something out there. We have a saying within the company: it's either undersized, on size or oversized. It's really up to you whether you want to be on size or undersize, so we were trying to challenge the market a bit.
U mentioned Adnym *and* Adnym Atelier, what is the difference between how the products are made?
Stefan: It's more around that. Adnym was more denim-oriented from the beginning. We wanted to make trousers with different cuts, but based on denim. We meant to have have six different fits, that were more our basic core business in bottoms than the Atelier part, which was going to be much more fashion-focused, more into a natural approach.
Within the Atelier, the tops, bottoms, and trousers have a different kind of cut, different and more exclusive fabrics. Then, we combine those two worlds in a way. Still, one of the reasons is when you're starting within denim, you need the volume. So that's why we wanted to focus one part of Adnym on a bottoms concept.
We saw on ur website that u guys only work w/ top quality materials. Why do u guys think it is so important to have that type of attention to materials when u are creating all of ur products?
Frippe: From the start, it comes from what you'd like to wear. It kind of goes hand in hand with today's world, 'cause we're very positive & believe very much in slow fashion, like buying something that you can have for a long time, which is timeless. It only gets better the more you wear it, rather than wearing something cheap that you'll throw away after having worn it three times. It just felt natural for us to focus on having the really nicest fabrics out there and to do it in our way with the silhouettes that won't go out of date in a season or two.
Stefan: It is not certainty that the that the fabric has to be expensive to be an interesting fabric, it can also be that you find something that is nice for your purpose. We can also be excited for finding a more basic fabric, if it's something that really fits well into our concept.
We saw that, as u say, "quality materials and modern shapes generate attention and stimulate curiosity". How does leather specifically play a part in that attention and curiosity part?
Frippe: If you're going to the denim landscape, there are these labels and they're saying best stretch, best fit, best quality, etc. So we tried to set ourselves into being the end consumer. When you go to a store and look at these jeans that promises you all these kinds of stuff, you're going to the fitting room and are probably going to be disappointed because it's promised you everything already.
We thought of how we wanted to be seen as a brand, 'cause we're not a logo brand, we're the opposite of that. We want to be a quiet, subtle brand, this is where we get in touch with the end consumer. So we thought we're just gonna be silent, stand out by not saying anything, by being a little bit provoking until the consumer asks: "well, why isn't this telling me anything and why is it quiet?". You create that kind of bond, that's where Adnym happens.
You pick them up, you go into the fitting room and you don't have a preset mind. Hopefully, you come back and you want another pair. Silence and curiosity is our way for you to want to learn more. When you see our products, you only meet the line, our logo. And the line never takes sides, it's always in between, we're not men or women, we're not from east or west, we're the combination of all of them. That's the nice thing with the line, it creates curiosity in our minds.
It is like you're trying not to focus on a message or a promise, but experience and something that it's up to the person who's choosing and wearing ur clothes.
Frippe: Just to give you a comparison.
If you bought a pair of G-Star jeans in the 2000s, with those details and the design, they did a great job, but they had this big 96 on the jeans. So when you put those on you disappear and become the product you're wearing, because that is more visible than you are. We want to be the opposite of that, we want to strengthen the integrity of the person you are. You should wear something of Adnym which feels like you. We can't have big logos & we can't have big things just screaming out like that, because that would take away the important point, which is yourself.
Do u think the choice of materials like leather, for example, plays a part inthe brand connection w/ ppl?
Stefan: It is quite hard because, at the end of the day, we do fashion. We are trying to be, as Frippe said, slow. Leather, for us, is something that's interesting because it changes organically, you can work with different finishes, it can change when you wear it, it's kind of a fabric that goes well with our DNA.
When we launched our leather pieces, we wanted to do something different. There was a 70s inspiration of all this old man's jacket, but right now, it is the opposite, we're looking at rub-off finishes, which is more towards the biking thing. For us, it's a matter of not looking too much at what the market is doing, it's more what feels right for us for the time being.
I used to work with leather before, I did wash treatments and everything. It's pretty hard, but is also something that really says a lot to people, because if you wear a leather jacket, you can feel really kind of aggressive or luxurious.
It's the first season we do leather and now it's the second we're showing this. We didn't really know what to expect 'cause we've been on the market for only one season and people really liked it.
What was the feedback from the first season w/ leather?
Stefan: Very, very good. For us, it's kind of a way of testing: could we do leather and collection? Will we be able to produce it? It's a lot of sensitivity, too, it was not granted that we should succeed, so when we managed to do the first production and it came out, people actually loved it. We wanted to do another go, 'cause now we feel it's a part of the line.
U also thought about it because of its sustainable approach?
Frippe: It fits with the brand really well, you could wear it and it just transforms with you. It's like putting on a pair of dry jeans or raw jeans, it becomes your second skin and you can draw when you know that the creases in the arms are your own, you made those. Now that kind of feeling goes really well with the Adnym brand, the long-lasting part and everything. If you look into the silhouettes with the leather, it actually works really well with Adnym's DNA. I really hope we can work with it long term as it is a long-term product.
Stefan: Sustainability is something that is everywhere right now. A lot of brands are doing it because you're supposed to be like that, but it doesn't feel like they're doing it for the right reason. We didn't have any intention of doing leather this time, and I was approached by a friend of mine that found this factory and told me about the sustainability they were working with that has a green leather supply, which is not that common. We have a lot of fabrics that are ecological, but that was not the reason why we actually picked them, it was more something that we liked the fabric and then it's added value if you have this recycled fabric or ecological cotton, for example. It's within our DNA, but it's not something that is driving the force if you understand what I mean.
What you say is interesting because u r focusing more on choosing based on your brand's DNA instead of ppl's expectations. It’s good to have a strong belief in the brand's DNA and that leads to u choosing what it's going to be the next collection and its clothes and materials. How would u like ppl to see your brand when they see the clothes and everything else?
Stefan: I think integrity is something that's been very strong in our minds since starting Adnym and basically not showing the name, obviously. We want people to find the brand because they tried it on and they felt there was something that they were missing, such as liking the silhouette or the feeling when you put it on. It’s really interesting to me when people can find the brand, embrace it in their own way and it's not that we are forcing you to wear it.
Frippe: I think when we come back to a sales perspective it's harder to penetrate when you're not showing off logos. But once we've got the customers to try it on and buy it, they almost always come back, so they can find their brand, something that they really liked, and we can see that it's happening quicker and quicker, which is the ultimate kind of confirmation that we're doing something right. It takes a little bit longer, but we haven't in any way compromised with what we feel is the most important things, like integrity, as Stefan says: "find us, grow with us, develop with us." Maybe the first time you only want a pair of regular tapered denim. Maybe next time you buy this kind of pants, because you feel like you're taking steps with us.
We liked something u mentioned not only on ur website but rn: integrity. How difficult it is to keep that in mind when u r running a business and making all decisions? How do u guys feel about it now that your brand is 3 yo?
Frippe: We can see we're taking steps all the way & all the time in the right direction. We want to talk about integrity to our consumers, not divided in gender, not talking about male or female, but a collection for people. It's easy, we make a collection for human beings and then you choose how you want to wear them. Integrity comes to wear the way you like it.
As a designer at a no-logo brand, how do u see the fashion world when u have brands creating and launching collections on a weekly & monthly basis w/ all their huge logos?
Stefan: I think it's quite aggressive when it comes to labels, but labels in a different way. Before it was more of a luxury house and now you have the street fashion that came into that universe with different brands and from them. Everything was built around them with basically only logos and people bought this kind of brand, like Supreme and Off-White. They really want to show that "Look at me, I'm an Off-White guy, my whole back is branded."
We will see it go away a bit to be a little bit more quiet, but they will always be there because if you look at a brand like Jil Sander or Helmut Lang, I think it's nice, it's real. It would be quite nice to write Adnym on a t-shirt, but it's like integrity, you know?
Some ppl are almost like billboards for noisy brands. Do u think that brand-based clothes can coexist w/ a more minimalistic approach?
Stefan: I always had a problem with designing things too bold, sometimes I really have to try to do something extra because it has to be more to the people. Magazines want to have things that are a pink coat or a big logo or something that's really huge, they’re not things that I want to wear and I have difficulty designing things that I don't think are nice. I've been working professionally for other brands and that's a different thing. When you're working with your own brand, if it doesn't feel right, how can we stand behind it? We are such a small company, so let's say that this company will grow, hopefully, we will be able to keep this kind of small, quick working company that can be strong with honor and integrity in our DNA.
Just as an example, do u see yourselves perhaps in the future working with Off-White or Supreme?
Stefan: I guess, but it depends on how you want to do it. If we can put Supreme inside the jacket.
Frippe: It's only a really interesting question when you talk about those specific brands, but it could be a cool thing. For example, we did our coats, so they have been a really good sales, it's a really nice product and has a very Adnym kind of silhouette. If we did that with Supreme, with our design and their logos, for example, I think we could still be true to ourselves because it would be our design and we're always gonna be more about design than the flashy things. That could be an option, as long as the design and shape is ours.
Stefan: I think it's also a matter of where you're coming from. If you take ACNE, they were collaborating with Lanvin when I was there, and Lanvin was one of the brands that were at the strongest peak at that time. They wanted to do denim, so they went to ACNE because they know denim.
For ACNE, that was such a great success that they were kind of next to one of the most talked-about fashion brands at that time. It's all about the timing. Why should Supreme want to do something with us and all the other way around? Today it's a lot of collaborations and I don't know what I think about it, really. As you said, every six weeks, there’s a new collection, it goes faster and faster, but if Comme Des Garçons would ask, "do you wanna do something together?”, our answer would be "Hell yeah!"
Can u guys share with us what the plans for the future of Adnym are?
Frippe: To continue to grow at your own steady pace, finding the right accounts to spread the word with us, kind of seeing the distribution as partners who want to be a part of the journey together and never compromise on the ones that we work with.
Obviously, we need to reach out better, so we try to work with certain agents which we feel very comfortable with, the ones who understand the brand and our way of speaking about Adnym. It has to happen, so we want to make sure that we use the gratitude effect to lay the foundation and then take it step by step. Then obviously, Stefan need to keep doing great products as well.
Stefan: It's a matter of getting a base in pace with the company. We would probably need some people within the company that could support us to keep doing a good quality, we need people to offload and support us. To do the same kind of job and for that you need to increase sales to get a better financial situation. That's the crucial point when you're starting a brand.
Final question: name three brands that u admire.
Stefan: Inspiration-wise I would say that brands that I really look up to is Rick Owens, because he's doing his thing, he hasn't changed, he's doing whatever fashion is, wide silhouettes or tight silhouettes. I would also say Comme Des Garçons, because they are very creative, they have different kinds of capsules and they can do basically anything, but I like the way they approach fashion.
Frippe: I would say like the military attire as well, in another kind of way. That doesn't necessarily have to be a specific designer in that kind of thing, but the functional approach, because we use a lot of functional fabrics. With the Army, you always have that kind of uniform-look mood.
Stefan: Kind of Bauhaus, very raw and clean. I love a fabric so stiff you can kill somebody with it, with the contrary to our fabric that is very soft and crinkled. Those are two worlds, it's something that makes it interesting.
Shhhh. Adnym working.