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Style, innovation & equality

(1): Randy

Yesterday marked the opening of our exhibition NEW, running October 25—November 7 at Scandinavian MAN HQ in Stockholm. Starting today, we are publishing our list of 25 most exciting new menswear brands and designers in Scandinavia. First out: Randy, inspired by alternative culture, rebellious youth and night life.

Edited by Robin Douglas Westling Written by Jimmy Guo

Copenhagen, Denmark — While he lacked a formal design school training, Adrian Soelberg honed his fashion claws by working as a stylist’s assistant in Copenhagen. In 2016, as a tribute to his late friend, Soelberg founded Randy with the goal of creating the perfect T-shirt, something which he had always found hard to find. This then developed into a full range of polo shirts, tailoring and a leather jacket that would form his very first collection. Two collections later, the independent designer continues to catch the attention of critics with collections inspired by alternative subcultures, rebellious youth, and nightlife.

Where are you from and what was your upbringing like?

— I grew up in central Copenhagen and have lived both centrally and in the outskirts. It was a contrast but in a good way. I feel gifted to have lived in different social environments, it provides a lot of perspective. Growing up, skateboarding had a huge impact on me. It was how I spent my entire youth and it’s one of the few things I never will regret. The alternative lifestyle and rebellious attitude will forever be a great source of inspiration.

How did you get into fashion?

— When I was much younger, I would help my mum with her pattern making and, about 10 years ago, I started assisting fashion editors which taught me a lot. I combined what I’ve learned through these two things and decided to start my own label.

What was your first fashion memory?

— I’ve always been an admirer of the stylists Olivier Rizzo and Joe McKenna. When I first got interested in high fashion, these were the stylists’ whose work I could relate to. Aside from this, fashion was a thing I would dig into via music; Lou Reed, David Bowie and Iggy Pop will forever be an inspiration.

You started Randy when you couldn’t find the perfect T-shirt you were looking for. What is the perfect tee like?

— At first, my only references were thrift store women’s mock neck tops that I wore for years. I tried to make a similar, heavyweight and slim-fitted top, but with a modern approach. Around this fit, I built a small line of tees and polos. Together with velvet suits and reptile-embossed leather jackets, that was my first collection. The name Randy is a men’s and women’s name which, for me, makes perfect sense as I want Randy to be for every-one. Randy also happens to mean horny. Which is ok with me too.

How would you describe your design aesthetic?

— My collections will always have major influences from alternative culture, rebellious youth and night life. The collections are like an extension of my own social life and environment. They also reflect my current taste in movies and music.

Randy is a completely independent brand. What does that mean to you?

— Working on my own is what makes the most sense right now and it’s the only way that I can be fully free and do what I want. In all sorts of creative fields, I see people compromising due to two factors: the bureaucracy of big brands and the opposite; the economic pressure on small brands which eventually makes people sell out. I wouldn’t do Randy if I couldn’t do it in my own way.

How do you push yourself as a designer?

— I think you should stick to your initial idea and try not to look back. You can always keep refining and adding to it. I try to get a good 360-degree view of the mood I like and then design an entire collection. I can never force an idea, when it comes to me it becomes clear what I’m going to do with it. I also like collaborating with like-minded artists from different art fields. Recently I’ve curated exhibitions and worked with various bands in both their music videos and the music in my fashion shows. I think this is a very interesting thing — to open up fashion. Fashion should be worn by real people and not exclusively be seen on a runway by industry people.

Lastly, what are your opinions on the Scandinavian menswear scene right now?

— I think we have a lot to offer. The Scandinavian aesthetic has for many years been known for it’s minimalism, but I think there’s a lot of new talent. It proves that there’s room for diversity and a more playful approach to fashion. Right now we’re seeing a lot of col-our. For many years, people have been scared of wearing colour, but now I think it’s a really big and interesting thing. It opens up a lot of opportunities in how you can dress.