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A new beginning

With 250 stores on the retailer list after ten years, Danish Libertine-Libertine attracts new investors to take the next step, which also includes organic and certified materials and important steps in a sustainable direction.

Words: Johan Magnusson

The duo Christian Stadil (Hummel) and Niels Mikkelsen (IC Group) have previously experienced a great success after investing in Stine Goya. They aim to see the same development with Libertine-Libertine after joining the Danish fashion brand as partners right before the summer.

Rasmus Bak founded the brand with Pernille Schwarz and Peter Ovesen in 2019 following a longer stay in Paris.

— My thoughts had been circulating around how I could establish a brand of high-quality products with an intuitive and spirited approach to business, he says.

The brand foundation was created in the vortex of the recession at a time with a lot of turmoil in the industry.

— I figured it was a great time, albeit risky, to realize this dream. My main inspiration was the American ”Beat” movement and their enormous appetite on the journey, process and pure life which also reflects in the name.

Traditionally the concept of a Libertine was connected with being a freethinker and in recent years the qualities of a ”vivant” has been added which suits their mindset perfectly.

— Our perspective refers to freedom and individuality and it is our ambition to challenge the definition of archetypes, emphasizing the vibrant and contrastful. The name also refers to a work ethos and we try to approach every day with enthusiasm, presence, and intensity.

Libertine-Libertine produce their entire collections in Europe, set a high focus on the quality aspect and proudly source fabrics from some of the finest mills available. The aesthetics, though, are based on pieces with a classic origin.

— As a matter of fact, our two first styles were classic shirts named ”Hunter” after the amazing writer Hunter S. Thompson, and ”Lynch” after renowned film maker David Lynch, says Bak. He adds:

— I find it refreshing to place timeless pieces in different contexts and experiment with the preferences and energy surrounding them in a collection.

Why is it important for you to welcome your new partners? And how’s the business?

— At the end of 2018, we experienced a kind of catharsis atmosphere in the company feeling an urge to move forward with a new adventure for the brand. Having been completely independent for almost ten years with natural ups and downs it was time to open the core for new allies. I got in touch with Christian Stadil and Niels Mikkelsen, who both have a vast background in the industry among other things, and there was immediate chemistry between the five of us. They knew the brand quite well and developed a great feeling for our DNA and company which made it quite easy to get aligned on a common strategy. It all went smooth and they entered LL with 20% of the shares this spring. We have a great and inspiring process going which enables us to stay in eagle-perspective and focus long term even when the seasons are extremely hectic. A great common feature between us is that we have an existential approach to doing business and it is essential for all of us that what we do is substantial and spirited.

— Business is stable and we can’t complain, we have a lot of plans for the future but every season is a new adventure for us. We work with some fantastic retailers, including VOO store, Tenue de Times, Hurra and have recently started to collaborate with United Arrows in Japan. We plan and aim to grow organically on certain markets like Scandinavia, central Europe, and Asia with the ambition to fulfill our full business potential with time.

Tell us about FW19. And give us a teaser about SS20, premiering this week.

— FW19 has a huge emphasis on materials and quality, says Bak. Overall it is a very tactile collection with some more vibe driven styles in between. The silhouettes are rather loose with an emphasis on tailored pants, great knitwear, and shirting. We have also introduced a small sub-theme within the line called Waiting For The Sun that works as a symbol of positivity and the new dawn ahead.

— The SS20 collection which we will exhibit is called ”The Unified Field” and is a nod to libertine and filmmaker David Lynch. I wanted to do an imaginary interpretation of his process, dreams, and impressions around the time his film Mulholland Drive was made. It comes to life through some abstract prints circulating around art deco and Asian clouds, tailored tracksuits ideal for set-work and an overall mood of quality leisure. We have also taken an important step in the right direction having worked with a lot of organic and certified materials making approximately 50% of the collection sustainable.

Libertine-Libertine SS20 is on display at Revolver in Copenhagen this week.