Soulland SS20 - Backstage with Silas Adler
In an emotional ode to the brands home neighbourhood of Frederiksberg, Silas Adler and Jacob Kamp-Berliner along with recent team addition Mathilde Maalouf created not only a runway show but a community event to showcase Soullands SS20 “Power Pedestrian” collection.
Its not often fashion brands get to close down main streets in capital cities, especially not independently owned labels who’s core understanding of its community and culture is as innate and visceral as Soullands.
And as you observed the varying faces of a diverse cast of locals stroll across the cobbles of Skant Thomas Plads, you couldn’t help but feel an overriding sense that this is exactly how a label should be expressing itself. Through its family and friends, the very people who have grown up with and around the brand. A notion made even more poignant in todays overloaded age of brands with hype over substance as an agenda.
We joined another CPH local, photographer Adam Katz Sinding to catch up with Founder and Creative Director Silas Adler backstage to learn about what this meant to him and the team after a 5 year absence from CPH fashion week /
Firstly congrats on a great event... I say event because it felt unlike a normal “show” but more about a community event. Where it felt like you were really bringing your hood into your work. How did this idea come about?
Being away from the show scene in Copenhagen for such a long and all of a sudden feeling that we had really honed and developed our visual language enough to come back and also spotlight our womenswear, it just felt right to do this in our own environment and neighbourhood. I mean we have our office here, we live here, and our kids go to school and kindergarten here. So it was very natural for us to also do a show here.
“We live and work here, so it felt natural to do a show here”
You stopped showing in cph 6 years ago... why did it feel right to come back now?
We have really developed a lot over those 6 years, and we have gone through different fazes as most organisms do in life. And right now we are at a place where we feel it makes sense to show what we do, to show the creativity around us and to share the feelings we have and try to put those feelings into people. Also a big part of it was to really show the womenswear properly for the first time. As it really needed its own platform and to be shown how we see it, not just styles hanging in a showroom.
The casting was great with a few familiar faces. it really felt like you wanted to show the patchwork of people around the brand and within cph as a modern fashion capital. Would that be a correct assumption?
I mean yeah, that's exactly what it is. Just showing where we are from and showing the people that we admire. Outside of the actual models in the show, the cast was also made up of friends and people who have inspired us a lot over the years and have shown us a way to use or live in Copenhagen, so it was really nice to have that diversity.
“Starting womenswear is terrifying and extremely inspiring at the same time. But I feel thank full to have Mathilde in my team as our visions for the brand are so aligned”
You showcased the third instalment of your FRIday project with Nike SB, those Blazers made an impact for sure... and while I know their is a linage with soulland footwear and snakeskin, what is your relationship to that sneaker in particular? And what other elements were new on this FRIday collection?
Well I don’t want to get to into that right now, I mean obviously its out there but I am still gona keep some of the info a little bit tight for now. But as you say, the snakeskin is something we have used in the past and I like the fact that it can be kitsch and luxury and irony at the same time. So it was fun to finally show it to people and yeah lets see what happens.
How does it feel to really push that womenswear side now after being a menswear brand for so long?
It’s terrifying and extremely inspiring at the same time. We have been wanting to do it for a long time, but not understanding how to do it.
So getting Mathilde to join the team and seeing how her vision is so aligned with my vision for the brand, I feel very thankful to have her in my team. And in a way it feels like starting the brand all over. Because now we can really create our own rules. We can redefine the brand through a different type of product and sell it to a new consumer. And with silhouettes its inspiring to work with womenswear because you can shape and detail in a different way. There is less conformity but at the same time you cant ignore the body as you can in menswear to an extent, but with design and creativity you can actually push it further.
Can you talk through some of your favourite pieces in this collection?
That's actually a funny one as haven’t yet digested the collection enough to have a personal favorite yet. Of course there are pieces I know will work well, such as the printed silk shirts and I like the boxy mac coats with the big pockets and check lining. But yeah for me it takes a while to digest it properly. However on the women’s it's the finale dress, I mean I am really proud that dress is made by Soulland.
With Stockholm losing its fashion week and some other key cities fashion weeks under continued scrutiny. What do you think the future is for how fashion weeks can develop?
An interesting question, and I think that if you look around, you have certain events around the world where people from fashion or creativity in general meet. And that can be art basel; it can be at Coachella or Paris or Copenhagen fashion week. And if you as a city don't have that pull that can inspire and get the kids in who are not there to work but to more be inspired. I think you will have a hard time.
That being said, there is also something within the retail system where fewer retailers have the power, and Indies are having a tougher time. So that shakes the foundation of what a fashion week is. Personally I don't care so much about the concept of fashion week. For me what I enjoy the most is the opportunity to see the people I like the most from all over the world. And that's what I enjoy the most.
It seems to me that brand who can harvest not only a fashion community but also a wider cultural community around their events and activations, will be the ones who can truly develop the idea of fashion weeks... discuss?
I mean i cant say it better… I totally agree.