Teresa Köster

Interview: Soulland 2


„I love the minimalism from the cold north but without irony and humour it’s fucking boring!“

Soulland gehört nicht nur zu den derzeit vielversprechendsten dänischen Menswear-Labels, sondern auch zu den experimentellsten, das sich auch noch in die außer-modischsten Bereiche vorwagt: Bunte Farben und verspielte Prints zieren die Kollektionen des 2002 von Silas Adler (*1985) gegründeten Labels und sind dabei angefüllt mit immer wieder überraschenden Inspirationen – von den Vorstellungen eines unlängst mehrfach vergangenen Russlands vor dem “Eisernen Vorhang” für die aktuelle Herbst/Winter-Kollektion “Imperial” oder einer “Studie der französischen, akademischen Oberklasse” für „Bourgeoisie“, die Kollektion für Frühjahr und Sommer 2013.

Einerseits auf diese Weise wechselnde Kulturgeschichten in den eigenen Fasern verarbeitend, andererseits tief in der Gegenwart der Sportswear verwurzelt, kreiert Soulland immer wieder neue spannende Ideen von maßgeschneiderter Lässigkeit.


Interview: Soulland 3

Doch hier findet die Kreativität von Silas Adler – auch zehn Jahre nach Labelgründung noch Creative Director und Designer von Soulland – nicht etwa Ende, denn auch in den Präsentationsformen werden neue Wege beschritten. So präsentierte das dänische Label bei der letzten Copenhagen Fashion Week etwa einen Catwalk für das Smartphone.

Genreferne Kooperationen wiederum brachten schon eine eigene Briefmarke für die dänische Post (2011) hervor, die wiederum die Designs für die Spring/Summer-Kollektion 2012 maßgeblich beeinflusste. Auch bei der Entwicklung eines Levels für das Spiel „Little Big Planet“ halfen die kreativen Köpfe um Silas Adler in Zusammenarbeit mit Sony Playstation bereits mit.

Wir haben einen Ausflug in die Welt von Soulland gemacht und den Gründer Silas Adler zu der Entstehung und den Besonderheiten des Labels, zu seiner Ästhetik und seinen Zukunftsvorstellungen befragt. Wenn wir nicht schon zuvor überzeugte Soulland-Fans waren, dann sind wir es spätestens nach diesem spannenden Gespräch.

ArtSchoolVets: You started Soulland as a t-shirt brand catering to Copenhagen’s skate community in 2002, when you were only 17. How did you come up with the idea to start your own fashion brand?

Silas Adler: Well, the idea came sneaking in on me. I had a friend that proposed it as a joke during a skate session once, I thought it sounded like a stupid idea. Then it kept growing and one day I was like: Fuck school! Let’s give this a try. I mean to call it a fashion brand back then is a bit over the top. It was t-shirts with simple prints. I hardly remember how they looked. I didn’t keep an archive so I don’t have any of the old stuff. Once it’s out I am over it. No point in looking back! Life goes on in the present and future…

ASV: Are you a self-taught designer?

Silas Adler: Yes and no! I did not go to a school or anything like that. But I had many mentors and people that inspired me and taught me a lot about the business and creativity, party and bullshit! I guess what has been my strength was that I was able to do things my way and do what I liked. But it has also been my weakness all this time.

Auf der nächste Seite geht es weiter…


Interview: Soulland 4

ASV: In 2007 Jacob Kampp Berliner invested in Soulland and from this point onward Soulland has been making two full menswear collections per year. Can you tell me a bit more about the process of change and progression?

Silas Adler: When Jacob joined Soulland it was a bit of a blessing along with a bag full of conferment. Jacob did not have more knowledge about this business than I had at the moment, so we where both a bit „???“. But the good thing was that we were able to grow together and build a very strong foundation. We really know our strengths and weaknesses and tried to work in a healthy way regarding both aspects. And with a handful of other people it’s Jacob and me who made Soulland into what it is today.

ASV: Today you are the creative director as well as the designer. Is Soulland still your personal vision?

Silas Adler: It’s me and my vision and will always be. We are a team of about 10 people in the office and 10-20 externally placed around the globe. But on a creative level they are all pushing my vision of menswear.

ASV: Do you think starting as a t-shirts designer exerts influence on your work and the label’s appearance nowadays?

Silas Adler: Not designwise! I design with a much bigger vision than I used to do with the t-shirts. A printed t-shirt is a rather flat medium. And to be 100% honest I’m not very interested in it.


Interview: Soulland 5

I want to do bigger things with my collections. And all collections are born on a intellectual stage. It always starts with a study in some subject I find interesting. From there I start to create.

Getting ideas for jackets and knitwear is always the first place I begin. It has a volume and whatever ideas you get can be scaled down to the rest of the collection. But the mind-set we developed when we used to sell t-shirts from a bag, going from city to city in a small rental car. That mind-set is still there.

ASV: What’s the meaning behind your brand’s name „Soulland“?

Silas Adler: Soulland is just an incorrect translation of the island that Copenhagen is located on. „Sjælland“ is the Danish word for the island. „Sjæl“ means Soul and „land“ means land. But the proper translation is Sealand. I have no idea why. So I guess it is a pride thing with a hint of irony…

Auf der nächste Seite geht es weiter…


Interview: Soulland 6


Interview: Soulland 7


Interview: Soulland 8

ASV: In interviews you use to emphasize the importance of Denmark as your home country. Is there something particular Danish in the characteristic Soulland style?

Silas Adler: I don’t know. Actually the Scandinavian aesthetic is in our DNA but we are not bound by it at all. I love the minimalism from the cold north but without irony and humour it’s fucking boring! Look at Acne since they started to allow themselves to be funny – the collections have just been so much more interesting. And I’m not going to give names but look at some of the Scandinavian brands that are so fucking boring because there are no balls and funny times.

ASV: What’s so fascinating about mixing classical style with modern ideas?

Silas Adler: It just works. But if you don’t add anything new it doesn’t make any difference to talk about classic. The past is only relevant as a spice together with present and future.


Interview: Soulland 9


Interview: Soulland 10

ASV: Before you can start designing there has to be an idea. Where do you draw your inspiration from?

Silas Adler: Mostly things that are not rooted in fashion. I can be inspired by designs but very rarely by Fashion as a concept. I like to gather information about stuff and design from the information I get. I been working with Moscow, The Civil War in America and am currently working with Japanese Baseball.

ASV: Once you said „We are not avantgarde. We are not in the border between art and fashion. It’s menswear and it a classical approach but with a modern, a fashion orientated vision“. You also said that you want to make something that is useable for a big group without compromising on the design – it’s quite uncommon, but a very honest statement.

Silas Adler: Yeah, both statements are something that is still very relevant and something I often think about. You, me and your friends is not enough for Soulland. We want to sell to your uncle and stepfather, even to your little brother, and your girlfriend can borrow it as long as she doesn’t use the word „unisex“.

I was raised in an environment where being „true“ and „real“ meant only selling to some shops that only took stuff on commission and sold 20% of what you delivered to them. I got fed up by it and realized that the power of creating a strong brand is not with the shops that we sell to but with the clothing we design.

Auf der nächste Seite geht es weiter…


Interview: Soulland 11


Interview: Soulland 12

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Interview: Soulland 13

ASV: Soulland’s modern claim goes further than other brands: It’s not only about the style but about presentation and collaborations. What makes these excursions so exciting?

Silas Adler: The feeling of doing something that has „never“ been done before is very interesting and something I chase a bit sometimes. You don’t know if you are going to fail or succeed. The last thing we did with the interactive fashion show was a big risk. We had no idea if it would work and there were so many things that could fuck everything up. But the feeling of pulling it off was amazing!

Interview: Soulland 14


Interview: Soulland 15

ASV: What projects are you working on at the moment?

Silas Adler: A couple of collaborations are coming up next year and some retail set ups are also in the mix.

ASV: You focus on men’s fashion. Why? Do you make plans to add a women’s collection?

Silas Adler: I get that question a lot. I’m not sure. The only thing worse than bad menswear is bad womenswear. And I have been struggling for 10 years to do decent menswear. I’m not sure if I have what it takes to make clothing for girls. But girls are very welcome to jump the Soulland train. But it’s menswear and not unisex. I hate that word so much. It’s related to “no sex” which is a nightmare I share with a lot of other people.

ASV: Where do you see Soulland in 10 years? And where do you see yourself in the future?

Silas Adler: 10 years is a long time but it goes by very fast. I have no idea to be honest. If I still enjoy doing this I guess I will keep doing it…

Thanks Silas!!

Interview & Text: Teresa Köster.