This piece appears as part of “Not In Paris,” an online exhibition hosted and curated by Highsnobiety. Head here to see the full series.
Paris Fashion Week might be canceled, but OUR LEGACY never needed it anyway. As others succumb to the maelstrom, putting the final touches on their increasingly complex shows at the last minute, the Swedes have always taken a more considered approach by eschewing the runway in favor of a cozy presentation. It’s an M.O. befitting a label that, in the eyes of many young consumers, has become a kind of Nordic panacea for hype culture writ large.
When asked to be involved in Highsnobiety’s “Not In Paris” exhibition, OUR LEGACY didn’t hesitate. The team dug into their archive for key pieces from the last 15 years and superimposed them on images shot in the late ’80s and mid-’90s by FRUiTS founder Shoichi Aoki. Back then there were no street style peacocks or bullshit influencers caught up in the trend cycle; just cool people looking to find cool clothes.
“Besides the style and mood in the shots that are very OUR LEGACY, we wanted to accentuate early ’90s versus 2020 style and symbolism,” founder Jockum Hallin tells us over e-mail. “Style back then was not very different from the current: biker jackets, mohair cardigans, wide denim, loafers, and AJ1s. What’s different is that people really wore their stuff. Denim ripped authentically, leather jackets broke in properly, and sneakers are all scuffed up. It’s like they were living their regular lives and all of a sudden they needed to be in Paris for a few days so they threw some of their fave pieces in a bag and went. That’s pretty different from today’s outfit prepping, months in advance.”
Hallin has always been a proponent of the “less but better” maxim, and he fully supports the fashion calendar reset mooted by Dries Van Noten and co. Between himself and co-founder Christopher Nying, there’s a real desire to affect the wider status quo, or at least show people that there’s more than one way to skin a cow — the shows being a case in point.
“We chose a different path from the very beginning, doing hardcover lookbooks instead with our favorite photographers, like Takashi Homma and Viviane Sassen,” points out Hallin. “Putting effort into making something that would last us longer than those 10 vibrant minutes. In Paris, we usually do installations, set design, and one-on-one presentations. The meeting and physical feel of the garments will always be vital, especially if you are working with unique fabrics, textures, and color hues. We’ll see where everything leads, but challenging the format and people’s creativity can never be a bad thing.”
Sweden, unlike a lot of other countries, remained mostly open during the pandemic, but OUR LEGACY made an early call for the majority of their employees to work from home. Things have slowly been getting back to normal, with the design and production teams returning to the studio and the bricks and mortar locations resuming business under social distancing measures (FYI, if you buy a coffee from an independent spot while queuing for the Berlin store, the cost will be deducted from your purchase). In the meantime, the team has continued to maintain a tight relationship with loyal fans over social media, whether that’s through retail manager Daniel Källmén‘s inexhaustible pool of memes, or image director Fredrik Pettersson’s banging COURTESY playlists.
“Our SS21 will be presented as a whole a bit later than usual, but everyone involved has done amazing work,” adds Hallin. “Our own stores adapt; buyers and wholesale partners adapt. Let’s turn down the BPM a little bit, find your own groove instead of running the industry’s programmed standard.”
Are you also “Not In Paris?” Not to worry, you too can join in on the non-gathering with our exclusive set of merch. Shop the collection here.