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An Interview with Johan Lindeberg of BLK DNM

New to Concept for Spring/Summer 2014, contemporary menswear brand BLK DNM which was founded in 2010 by industry vet Johan Lindeberg. The collection transcends the realm of life, art and film with an air of the downtown New York scene. Take a look at the latest collection here and make sure to check out the interview with the iconic designer below.

CNCPT – Hi Johan, pleasure to meet you. You’ve got an impressive CV in the fashion industry with most of us are familiar with your iconic J. Lindeberg line, but for those of us just discovering BLK DNM can you tell us a little bit about the label and how it all come about

Johan – BLK DNM is a manifest of my entire career, there are pieces from my time at Diesel in the early 90’s, in jeans, leather jackets and also the way I packaged Diesel. J. Lindeberg was a lot of tailoring, which is now something that is very important at BLK DNM for women as well as men.

After leaving J. Lindeberg I worked on other things like with Justin Timberlake for a while on his brand and as his personal stylist, then I went through a separation after a long marriage in March 2010 and it was the hardest period of my life so far. I decided to used the energy of that change to create a new project and I wanted to make it something very personal. In this stage of my life, I felt a need to express myself in a deeper way, so while the name BLK DNM is more generic, I am more pure in my taste than ever. Somehow there’s just a constant flow of ideas inspired by things I feel deep inside myself.

What was your earliest experience of fashion and how did this shape/influence the way you design

I grew up in the south of Sweden in a university town that was politically engaged. I remember the student protestors wearing denim and leather as a symbol of freedom, it is something that always stayed in my mind. I also like sharp shapes as it shows confidence and strength.

I always went to Copenhagen for vintage shopping, that is where I found my first leather jacket that I adjusted the length of. My first girlfriend and my sister were also both designers.

Every label strives to develop and progress, to capture and hold our interest. What is your vision for the future of BLK DNM

I want to build a brand with a voice, to build the BLK DNM culture through images and to work contrarian to certain industry standards, using streets as the runway.

The creative process is well documented for being both cathartic and difficult. Which is it for you Or is it a healthy mix of the two

The creative process for me is freeing, it’s getting the pain out of my body. I go deep into my self to find what I really think, strip away the outside influences and try to go deep to really feel what I like and I don’t like.

The brand reflects the life I live. Our stores are as I like to live, BLK DNM is the most personal project I’ve done. I am using it as a vehicle to explore new levels of creativity. It is through BLK DNM that I found photography and I am also now working with film.

If you hadn’t found your way into the fashion industry, what else would you want to be doing Was there any other profession that appealed to you

I just do what I like and follow what I feel intensely. In creating BLK DNM as such a personal stone island quarter zip expression I got really interested in film so maybe a director. But in the end, BLK DNM is who I am, I don’t see any borders of what to do. I can experiment and cross over in many different fields, I just want to create energy and inspire people.

What are your daily essentials that you wear/carry with you

BLK DNM Jeans 25, leather jacket or blazer, silk scarf and I sleep with my Fuji X Pro 1 under my pillow.

Which city do you think expresses fashion in the best way

I think it’s more personal but I like how you are free to be yourself in New York City as well as the energy downtown. And I’m always inspired by a chic Parisian twist.

What’s your personal soundtrack at the moment and does it affect the design process

Thom Yorke, Thom Yorke, Thom Yorke. I just feel connected to his music like (the songs) True Love Waits, Exit Music For a Film and Street Spirit. I also listen a lot to Pearl Jam and I just think Black is such a beautiful song. Every morning to wake up my daughter, Blue, I play her Agnes Obel.

You can find the full BLK DNM range online now at Concept.