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20 years of going their own way

Streetwear pioneer WeSC’s CEO Joseph Janus about two decades of rebellious creative spirit — and writing new chapters in the days to come.

18022020
Words: Johan Magnusson

Janus has been in the fashion business for over 20 years. Early in his career he gained attention in Los Angeles by building JNCO Jean company where the company’s sales soared from $20 million to $300 million. The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and Brand Week Magazine have all recognized his work in the field. He spent 10 years at Calvin Klein, recruited by the design legend himself, as the Senior Vice President of Marketing and Advertising.

— I was a key player in their reinvention working on its iconic and occasionally controversial ad campaigns as well as launching brand extensions in fragrance, clothing and accessories, which included Calvin Klein jeans, underwear, handbags and the widely popular CK One fragrance, he says.

End of 2016, he was recruited as CEO for WeSC from a previous position as head of WeSC Americas.

— WeSC stands for We Are the Superlative Conspiracy. We value those who have that ”go your own way” rebellious creative spirit that continues to evolve the culture around us. When the brand started out in 1999 in Stockholm, there were not a lot of counterculture or streetwear brands coming from Scandinavia. However, there was subversive subculture that existed. WeSC targeted the rebellious youth that street wear has attracted for over the last 40 years. This included skate and surf culture, underground music and art. Over the past few years the once humble aesthetic has successfully moved into the higher echelons of fashion, establishing itself as a retail force to be reckoned with the high-street to the luxury market, therefore there is a wider demographic for us which allows us to be more expansive within the collection, says Janus, continuing,

— WeSC as a brand has stayed current by evolving with the culture around us while still supporting the subculture that we have always been rooted in. Since inception, we’ve always maintained a connection to collaboration, artistry, and youth culture. In the evolution of streetwear’s core audience, it has expanded from a niche following to a much wider demographic. Which in turn has allowed us to expand as well.

The brand celebrated their 20th anniversary with a FW19 collection focusing on their core and novelty denim, bold neon accents, utility details, and elevated fabrications. They also launched a limited-edition Golden Bear Varsity Jacket.

The SS20 collection, launched last weekend, is called Guilty Pleasures.

— It focuses on our roots, including a ton of playful bold graphics, a retro athleisure vibe and, of course, our exciting collaboration with Galantis, says Janus.

Over the past 20 years WeSC has collaborated with many talented people and world-renowned brands, including adidas, Andy Warhol Foundation, RetroSuperFuture, Happy Socks, RZA, and Jason Lee. Next out is Swedish music duo Galantis. The announcement of the partnership coincided with a recent #1 spot on Dance Radio in the United States for their latest single ”Faith”, with country music icon Dolly Parton.

— It was really great to be working with Christian and Linus (Galantis), the three of us worked closely together on the designs of this collaboration, from color palettes to fabrics and designs, says Janus.

The collection consists of 14 items, including t-shirts, windbreakers, joggers and bomber jackets. These items will be featuring design incorporations from the previous Galantis album and single artwork, as well as visual assets from their live shows.

— The collaboration is an idea we’ve been developing for years, and being able to design this collection with a brand from our hometown of Stockholm has been an incredible experience. We wanted all of the pieces to reflect our energy while leaning into the unique streetwear style that we’ve always loved from WeSC, Christian Karlsson and Linus Eklöw comment on the collection.