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When Andreas Eklöf graduated from The Swedish School of Textiles at the University of Borås he had two options: Either fly to New York to start working for Marc Jacobs. Or stay in Sweden to work for Peak Performance. He chose the latter.
— I’ve never regretted it. I love material, and for me, to be able to work with these materials at Peak Performance was too good of an opportunity. There is so much history here. I can just take a look into the archives and I have all the inspiration I need. Also, Peak had just decided to do this transformation, which really appealed to me.
Andreas, a former finalist in the H&M Design Award, started as an intern at Peak Performance four years ago and quickly ascended in the ranks. Today he is the menswear designer, responsible for ”everything you wear when you’re not skiing”. This special focus is part of Peak Performance’s overall strategy to become a ”sports fashion brand”. Something that the Creative and Marketing Director Jeanette Francke defines as bringing ”high-performance functionality, technical solutions, high-end materials and detailing into our casual pieces.”
For Andreas, this direction has informed everything he does as a designer.
— Our role is to empower an active lifestyle, but when I joined, Peak Performance was still making beige chinos and striped button-down shirts. Today, we do puffer scarfs and puffer bucket hats. Everything we do has a modern twist with functional details. It’s more about taped seams and bolder expressions. We might do a flannel shirt, but it’s got brighter colors. We allow ourselves to paint with much broader strokes.
How much functionality do you really need, when dressing for the city?
— Of course, you’re not climbing a mountain when you are in the city. But you can achieve a lot by adding textiles that are light, durable, and water-repellent.
For the Spring/Summer 2019 season, he is especially proud of the new collaboration with Gore-Tex, consisting of a parka, an anorak, a pair of track pants, and a cap.
— It’s a complete look of these hardcore products that we have adapted for the city life. Instead of a chino, we do this Gore-Tex pant that you can wear not matter if its super hot or pouring rain outside.
What else is going on this spring?
— We are expanding our premium line of X-jackets. It’s a concept that will continue in all seasons. For spring we are introducing a parka and an M65 that is just uncompromisable. I’ve found this Japanese supplier that does these super light qualities. We’ve become much more tactile than before. The material is not just there to protect, it needs to feel interesting and evoke an emotion.
Where are we headed next, do you think?
— My sense is that this merge between sports and fashion is not a trend, it’s here to stay. People who are interested will stay interested. Especially guys, I think. I’ve been thinking a lot about how guys will dress in 5-6 years. It’s about pushing the limits and questioning the norm. I’m convinced that we, in the future, will walk around in clothes that are more technical, more sustainable, and more comfortable. I’m sure of it.Andreas Eklöf