U.S. IMPORT Interview with Silas Adler and Stine Kinch
Founded back in 2002, Danish label Soulland began life as a label whose produce consisted exclusively of homemade T-shirts. 8 years on, Soulland has evolved into a celebrated label consistently creating full menswear collections that amongst Europe’s best. Soulland’s founder Silas Adler recently sat down with SLAMXHYPE to answer questions about the brand’s latest retail venture; a project conceived with fellow Soullander Stine Kinch who was also on hand to answer questions. Entitled “U.S. Import” the store will of course carry Soulland as well as a number of contemporary labels including House of Billion, Pendleton Woolen Mills, Libertine-Libertine and several more. Excerpts of the interview can be found below.
Can you both tell us about your backgrounds and how your path led you to where you are today?
Stine – I have a degree in textile design from a Danish Design School and I did my major at Universität der Kunste in Berlin in “Raum und Scenografie. I applied to the school because at the time Vivienne Westwood was a teacher there, though I never attended one of her classes. To me Vivienne Westwood is über-über. I wouldn’t wear her design, but I’m really into her approach and will to communicate visually. I’ve always had a deep passion for fashion but never felt like designing clothes. It’s the space around it all and the search for the underlying meaning of it that drives me. There must be something to it since a whole generation is so obsessed with new sneaks and it-girls – you could say that I’m driven by a possibility to communicate.
I opened my first retail space in Copenhagen a few years ago, Force of Nature, and this led me to Soulland and the opportunity to be a part of U.S. Import. Creating the physical space and visualizing a feeling is what turns me on – and most importantly being a part of a team that helps and supports each other.
Silas – Well, I founded Soulland and work as the designer and creative director. For the last couple of years we have been focusing on building the brand and making all that work. It’s been a bumpy ride but things are definitely moving in the right direction and we have a really good team in place.
How would you describe the philosophy of Soulland and what separates your design ethos from others out there?
Silas – We get this kind of question a lot and it’s always really hard to answer. I don’t spend a lot of time looking at other men’s wear brands so it’s hard for me to explain. I do believe that Soulland is doing something that is important in contemporary menswear and that is giving back when we design. As with many other brands, the past has a big impact on our design and brand, but I’m very conscious of adding something from the present to the design. For instance, when we made the Adler fedora it was not only about working with Danish heritage, it was also about designing for the future and creating something new with something old. We think like that all the time. You can’t steal but you can borrow, and borrowing also indicates that you give back at some point.
How did the name of the store come about? Does it have a hidden meaning?
Silas – The name has been the name of the store for 25 years. The two prior owners kept it and we wanted to do the same. There are many hidden meanings and we will tell you about them, when you come visit the store. However, our slogan “we love our customers” obvious be clear to everyone. The phrase is from the hangers you get when you pick up dry cleaning and symbolizes great service, which we intend to provide. We are not into the “don’t talk to the customers thing”. That era is over.
Stine – In so many ways the name of the store and the sign reflect our consumer history in Europe – it would be so interesting to write a novel just about that – but we mostly visualize, so who knows what the future brings on that topic… it feels like it’s never ending at this point in time.